In January 1995, a group of leading female Swiss academics identified the need for an organization to promote the interests of women in the universities of Western Europe. They felt that women scientists and technologists needed an organization to support them in their careers and to enable them to have the confidence to reach senior management positions, where women are seriously underrepresented. In Western Europe, women are to some extent integrated into politics from the local level up to the governmental agencies. The same is true of medicine, law, and commerce, but the figures are astonishing when it comes to the university system.

Currently, the proportion of female university professors of science and technology in Western Europe is less than 1 percent, but the number of female undergraduates in these same disciplines approaches 48 percent. In Western Europe, most of these high-ranking female academics are in disciplines such as the...

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