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Gender diversity on the right track at CERN

Recent statistics on new arrivals at CERN are very encouraging: the proportion of women hired over the last five years has increased by 7.5%


In spring 2021, the Diversity & Inclusion programme launched the “25 by ’25” strategy, an aspirational target-based initiative to boost the gender and nationality diversity of CERN’s staff and fellows population (MPEs) by 2025. The overall percentage of women among MPEs has hovered around 20% for the past decade, but the “25 by ’25” strategy has got things moving, bringing CERN closer to its target: 25% of women among MPEs by the end of 2025.

The professional categories 1, 2 and 3 are: physicists, engineers and technicians. (Image: CERN)

The figures tell a very encouraging story when it comes to new recruits: in 2018, the proportion of women among new arrivals was 20.2%; in 2022 it was 27.7%. And the progression is even greater for roles in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), going from 15.5% of women in 2018 to 23.3% in 2022.

“The numbers couldn’t be clearer: there is a high level of engagement and a concerted effort from the hiring management, in particular within the STEM categories. We are really thankful for the continued engagement of CERN’s Management since the endorsement of the strategy in 2021,” says Louise Carvalho, CERN’s Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) programme leader.

The increased awareness and collaboration regarding diversity and inclusion is visible at all grades and levels of the personnel, in particular since the department heads’ appointment last year of 19 Diversity & Inclusion Officers (DIOs). Through the DIO community, specific actions and communications are transmitted effectively to the personnel, serving as a highly useful and enriching “D&I multiplier” resource for the D&I programme.

For nationality diversity, the overall aim is to improve the ratio of Member States’ budget contribution to hiring rate as well as to address nationality clusters. To this end, the D&I programme is currently undertaking a deeper analysis of each department. Progress in this domain will be reported toward the end of this year, so stay tuned!