​Defined by absence: women in research

Client: The Economist Intelligence Unit
Project: Branded Content and Writing & Editorial

The back story

There gender gap is closing in many parts of the world in terms of female access to education and enrolments at secondary and tertiary level. According to the World Economic Forum 105 countries had become more gender equal since 2005. Although female representation in the global workforce is still very poor. Indeed, in South Asia the numbers of women in the workforce are in decline. As a result, there are critical roles—such as research positions—in which women are disappearing altogether. It is widely acknowledged that the role women play as researchers is critical to the quality of the research outcome. The danger is that this gender imbalance is not being taken seriously enough at the highest levels or by the women themselves.

The brief

The report was commissioned by the British Council, the UK’s organisation representing cultural organisations and education opportunities. It involved extensive interviews with a range of researchers based in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan to get to the core of the problem and find out what could be done to address this gender gap.

The content

We conducted 12 interviews with leading researchers, professors and academics across South Asia. The industry report was produced with designers, using data and graphics to illustrate the challenges of female representation in research. It was launched at an event in London which featured policymakers, academics, scientists and journalists.

“In India the expectation is for young women to settle and have a family. And then, if time permits—everything else permits—you will continue research.”


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