A gender perspective on the global migration of scholars

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 120:10, e2214664120 (2023)
Open Access


Although considerable progress toward gender equality in science has been made in recent decades, female researchers continue to face significant barriers in the academic labor market. International mobility has been increasingly recognized as a strategy for scientists to expand their professional networks, and that could help narrow the gender gap in academic careers. Using bibliometric data on over 33 million Scopus publications, we provide a global and dynamic view of gendered patterns of transnational scholarly mobility, as measured by volume, distance, diversity, and distribution, from 1998 to 2017. We find that, while female researchers continued to be underrepresented among internationally mobile researchers and migrate over shorter distances, this gender gap was narrowing at a faster rate than the gender gap in the population of general active researchers. Globally, the origin and destination countries of both female and male mobile researchers became increasingly diversified, which suggests that scholarly migration has become less skewed and more globalized. However, the range of origin and destination countries continued to be narrower for women than for men. While the United States remained the leading academic destination worldwide, the shares of both female and male scholarly inflows to that country declined from around 25% to 20% over the study period, partially due to the growing relevance of China. This study offers a cross-national measurement of gender inequality in global scholarly migration that is essential for promoting gender-equitable science policies and for monitoring the impact of such interventions.

Das Max-Planck-Institut für demografische Forschung (MPIDR) in Rostock ist eines der international führenden Zentren für Bevölkerungswissenschaft. Es gehört zur Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, einer der weltweit renommiertesten Forschungsgemeinschaften.