EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Gender and career-stage distribution at EGU General Assemblies

Elena Toth1, Claudia Jesus-Rydin2, and Alberto Montanari1
Elena Toth et al.
  • 1University of Bologna, DICAM, Bologna, Italy (
  • 2European Research Council Executive Agency, Brussels, Belgium

The European Geosciences Union (EGU) is the leading organisation for Earth, planetary and space science research in Europe. The annual EGU General Assembly is the largest and most prominent European geosciences event, attracting over 16,000 scientists from all over the world in the year 2019. 
This presentation aims to present the results from gender and career stage distribution at the last (2015 to 2019) EGU General Assemblies (GA).  Data and statistics will be presented not only on the attendance, but also to the role in the general assembly, i.e. author, convener, presenter.
As expected, given the academic history of the geosciences as a male - dominated field, a gender gap is observed, with an overall gender breakdown of EGU GA’s attendance of about one third of women and two thirds of men; on the other hand, the fraction of female attendees is very slightly but constantly increasing in the years (and not only among early-career scientists). The percentage of female attendees in fact passed from 32.6% in 2015 to 33.8% in 2018 (the percentage in 2019 was even greater, but in that year the number of those who provided gender information dropped from 17% to 30%, so we consider the last year the less informative for the gender analysis).
In addition, when looking at organisational roles, much steeper is the increase in the fraction of female conveners: in fact the percentage of female conveners was 30.1% in 2018, that is much closer to that of the overall female attendees, whereas it was about 25.9% only 3 years earlier.
Looking at career stages, the percentage of early-career scientists among the overall attendees is substantially increased in the last years (from 43% in 2015 to 52% in 2019), and also in this case, the fraction of early-career conveners steeply raised too (from 30% in 2015 to 43% in 2019).
The analysis on the number of conveners, even if there is still a skew towards male and mid-career or senior scientists, shows that there has been a noticeable improvement in the balance of gender and career-stage over the last years in terms of key-roles in the organisation of the main EGU event.
Despite such improvement in term of convenorship, more can certainly be done inside the Union, and an attempt to provide constructive indications to further steps to the target of giving equal opportunities to researchers across gender and career-stage will also be given.

How to cite: Toth, E., Jesus-Rydin, C., and Montanari, A.: Gender and career-stage distribution at EGU General Assemblies, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-21785,, 2020

Comments on the presentation

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Presentation version 1 – uploaded on 03 May 2020
  • CC1: returning, Maria Bostenaru Dan, 04 May 2020


    I've been in the past 20 years at EGU, but missed some years, such as 2008, 2013 for example. For me it is however easy, as I intend in my session overview to do an overview of how the session was hold over years.

    But I was first affiliated with a German institution, then Italian, and only then back to Romania.

    Yes, in the years I did not go there was no funding, also if some people do not believe that it is difficult to find funding in E13. Also this year there would have been no funding. Also, in 2 years my funding was for the other contribution, and not for the one in the session I was convening.

  • CC3: Comment on EGU2020-21785, Kaiu Piipponen, 05 May 2020

    Thanks for the presentation, great work!

    I'm wondering how much of the fact that the number of those who provided gender information dropped is related to the fact that there's an increasing amout of participants identifying as "other". I checked that you can either state your gender as "other" or "prefer not to answer" besides the binary. For how long has this option of "other" been there separately and how has it been assessed in your analysis?

    • AC1: Reply to CC3, Elena Toth, 20 May 2020

      dear kaiu, indeed this would help better to understand the reason in the change in the percentages: we will ask copernicus, but if in the previous years the gender info was based on salute, probably there was not, as you suggest, the 'Other' option: Copernicus should be able to distinguish the 'Other' from missing replies in the last year data. many thanks, elena

  • CC4: What small steps should we start from?, Francesco Marra, 05 May 2020

    Thank you very much for collecting and sharing this. I was attending the session today to learn more about diversity and inclusion in general, and in the sciences in particular. I found it inspiring. As a white european men, I often unconsciously overlook situations, and the session was a good way for me to better open my eyes. 

    I see the EGU is doing a lot to foster these topics, but I feel we should make additional efforts to bring them to the attention of everyone, not only of the excluded communities. For example, I found it sad to see too few men in the audience today. Also, I felt something was missing, or maybe not clear enough for me to be completely capture from the session: what advice would you give to people that, like me, is not used to be on the excluded side but wants to fight for inclusion? What practical tips to improve the everyday scientific life? What the small steps to start from? 

    I write this as a comment to this contribution, but it is actually an open question to the session and the community

    • AC2: Reply to CC4, Elena Toth, 20 May 2020

      Dear Francesco, I totally agree with you that in many European countries, diversity and inclusion issues are not part of our cultural background, yet, and there is a dangerous tendency to relegate such discussions to the minorities, that are so asked to “defend” themselves (and with a conflict of interest!). It would be much more effective if the steps forward came from the ‘other’, larger and more settled, part of the community, so we are very happy to have you involved! I think that the first thing to do is collecting information and data in order to have the local picture, and then trying to propose some small steps (to start with), based on what other institutions have done/are doing (thus triggering a beneficial competitive emulation effect…). Elena