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In all countries of the European Union (EU), more women than men are enrolled in higher education, according to a recent report compiled by the European Commission based on the work the Eurydice network, which collects and analyses data on education systems.

The study covered 29 countries (all EU member states except Bulgaria, but including Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). Dutch women meanwhile trailed hopelessly behind in the percentages that pursue science and technology degrees.The report provided complied figures for men and women in EU higher education. The trend was clear: women more frequently enroll in higher education and they also are more likely to graduate. And this discrepancy between men and women continues grows.

Women account for 59 percent of all graduates in the European Union. In the Netherlands, that figure stands at 57 percent. In Estonia and Latvia, women account for seventy percent of all graduates. Women represent the majority of students and graduates in almost all countries and dominate in education, health and welfare, humanities and arts. Men dominate in engineering, manufacturing and construction. Around two thirds of countries have gender equality policies in higher education. However, almost all these policies and projects target only females. While there is much good news for women in the report, the proportion of women among teaching staff in higher education institutions declines with every step on the academic career ladder. Yet only about a third of the countries have implemented concrete policies to address this problem.

Technical studiesThe report also highlighted the fact that in no other country in the EU do so few women graduate with degrees in science, mathematics or computer science as in the Netherlands, where women account for only one in five graduates in these disciplines. Throughout the rest of the EU, the average is forty percent, or twice that of in the Netherlands. Romania, at 62 percent, has a particularly high percentage of women enrolled in technical studies. Meanwhile, Belgium and Hungary also perform poorly in this area, although they are still eight and nine percent higher than the Netherlands, respectively. Regarding technical studies, inequality between men and women exists everywhere. In all EU countries, women account for only approximately 25 percent of all graduates of technical degree programmes. And in the Netherlands that percentage is even lower: only 18 percent. Germany is at same level as Netherlands, and Ireland is the worst performer, with just 16 percent of its women pursuing technical degrees.

In summing up the report’s findings, the EU commissioner responsible for education, Androulla Vassiliou, said: “The relationship between gender and educational attainment has changed significantly over the past fifty years and differences now take more complex forms. Schools are overwhelmingly staffed by women, but education systems are managed by men. Most graduates are female and most school drop-outs are boys. We need to base gender equality policies on these realities.”With a few exceptions, all European countries have, or plan to have, gender equality policies in education, with their primary aim being to challenge traditional gender roles and stereotypes.

In het Europese luchtruim passen tegen 2020 drie maal meer vliegtuigen dan nu zonder dat de veiligheid er op achteruit gaat. Sterker nog, het wordt tien maal veiliger om boven Europa te vliegen. Dit stelt de internationale luchtvaartdenktank Sesar. Prof.dr. Ricky Curran, hoofd van de afdeling aerospace management and operations (L&R), is deze maand lid geworden van de club wetenschappers die helpt om dit nieuwe Europese luchtruim vorm te geven. “Elk land wil controle over zijn eigen luchtruim en er zijn tal van afgesloten militaire zones”, zegt hij. “Het gevolg is dat we in Europa zigzaggend vliegen. In Amerika doen ze dat tweemaal zo efficiënt.” Naast geleerden bestaat de denktank uit gedelegeerden uit de luchtvaartindustrie en Europese beleidsmakers. De komende vijf jaar beschikt de denktank over 2,1 miljard euro. Curran ziet volop mogelijkheden voor de TU om aan te haken bij onderzoeken.

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