SCNAT and its network are committed to a sustainable science and society. They support policy-making, administration and business with expert knowledge and actively participate in public discourse. They strengthen the exchange across scientific disciplines and promote early career academics.

Image: Sebastian,

The gender-equality paradox

Webinar No°4 within a series of nine webinars on gender equality and diversity


16:00 - 17:00

Underrepresentation of women in the STEM fields (Science-Technology-Engineering-Mathematics) is more pronounced in more gender-equal countries. This is part of the gender-equality paradox, a well-established phenomenon – yet counterintuitive –, where differences between men and women tend to grow as countries become more developed and gender-equal.

male and female scientists on bright green background
Image: pixelfarm

What is the gender-equality paradox and what approach should policy makers take?

Prof. Gijsbert Stoet: University of Essex, UK

This talk will start with an overview of the gender- equality aradox as reported by Stoet & Geary in 2018. It will be shown that the phenomenon is not unique to education, but has also shown in other psychological traits, such as personality. Next, Gijsbert Stoet will focus on the extent of the potential problems for societies and for individuals. In this part of the talk, different viewpoints will be discussed. There will be special attention for the knowledge and skills gap, what exactly it means, and possible approaches of how the Gender Equality Paradox can be dealt with most effectively.

Gender stereotypes could explain the gender-equality paradox

Prof. Thomas Breda, Associate professor at Paris School of Economics, France

The so-called gender-equality paradox is the fact that gender segregation across occupations is more pronounced in more egalitarian and more developed countries. Thomas Breda will discuss why this paradox could be explained by cross-country differences in essentialist gender norms regarding math aptitudes and appropriate occupational choices. The proposed explanation is consistent with the fact that economic development and gender equality in rights go hand-in-hand with a reshaping rather than a suppression of gender norms, with the emergence of new and more horizontal forms of social differentiation across genders.