On the lack of women researchers in the Middle East and North Africa

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Recent gender policies in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region have improved legal equality for women with noticeable effects in some countries. The implications of these policies on science, however, are not well-understood. This study applies a bibliometric lens to describe the landscape of gender disparities in scientific research in MENA. Specifically, we examine 1.7 million papers indexed in the Web of Science published by 1.1 million authors from MENA between 2008 and 2020. We used bibliometric indicators to analyze potential disparities between men and women in the share of authors, research productivity, and seniority in authorship. The results show that gender parity is far from being achieved in MENA. Overall, men authors obtain higher representation, research productivity, and seniority. But some countries stand out: Tunisia, Lebanon, Turkey, Algeria and Egypt have higher shares of women researchers compared to the rest of MENA countries. The UAE, Qatar, and Jordan have shown progress in terms of women participation in science, but Saudi Arabia lags behind. We find that women are more likely to stop publishing than men and that men publish on average between 11 and 51% more than women, with this gap increasing over time. Finally, men, on average, achieved senior positions in authorship faster than women. Our longitudinal study contributes to a better understanding of gender disparities in science in MENA which is catching up in terms of policy engagement and women representation. However, the results suggest that the effects of the policy changes have yet to materialize into distinct improvements in women’s participation and performance in science.

Ce contenu a été mis à jour le 13 febrero 2024 à 10 h 40 min.