Is the gender gap worse among mathematicians than in other scientific communities? And what about Africa compared to other continents?

Information and discussions about the ‘Gender Gap in Science project’ have appeared several times in DIANOIA. This project was mainly funded by ICSU (later to become the ISC (International Science Council)), and some international scientific bodies participating in the project also contributed with some funds, among them, ICIAM.

One of the main achievements of that project was conducting a Global Survey of Scientists to assess various aspects of the gender gap among scientists. Maybe some of you remember having answered the many questions contained in it, since the proportion of applied mathematicians having answered them online was important. An analysis of the main information gathered from the Global Survey was presented in the book ‘Gender Gap in Science: a Global Approach to the Gender Gap’. 

After the project was finalized, it was decided that the important database gathered through the Global Survey will remain usable for studies of interest to the topic of gender gap among scientists. A group of four French mathematicians, using funds from ICIAM and from the IMU, decided to run two additional studies using statistical analysis. 

The first one would allow to compare the answers of global scientists with those of mathematicians and also of applied mathematicians. In summary, the idea was to see whether the gender gap and its many aspects were different among mathematicians than among scientists in general. The results of this analysis can be read in a recent article to be published in the EMS Magazine, a publication of the European Mathematical Society. The article’s title is ‘Aspects of the gender gap in Mathematics’, and it has been written by Sophie Dabo-Niang, Maria J. Esteban, Colette Guillopé and Marie-Françoise Roy. If interested, you can have access to it following the link under the article’s title.

The second project aimed to compare the results of the Global Survey concerning Africa with respect to the rest of the world. In this case the comparison was not concerned with different scientific fields, it was only concerned with possible geographical discrepancies. The same group of authors have written the results of this comparative study in the article entitled ‘An analysis of the gender gap among African scientists

The two articles are in English and are posted in an open French equivalent of arxiv called HAL.

Since all the results obtained in these two statistical analysis could not be integrated in the articles, the authors decided to also create a website showing all the results.

The part of it directly concerned with the comparison of Mathematics, Applied Mathematics with other sciences at:

and the one containing the analysis and figures about the comparison between Africa and the rest of the World, at:


Maria J. Esteban

Maria J. Esteban is a senior researcher at CNRS and works at the University Paris-Dauphine. Her research area includes nonlinear partial differential equations, especially variational methods. Her term as President of ICIAM ended October 1, 2019.