Report: Defined by absence, women and research in South Asia


Defined by absence: Women and research in South Asia

Analysing the issue in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.


January 2015


An Economist Intelligence Unit report produced for the British Council


Although there is a closing of the gender gap in many parts of the world in terms of female access to education, female representation within the global workforce remains very poor, particularly within South Asia.  As a result, there are critical roles - such as research positions - in which women are disappearing altogether. 

This new research examines the barriers that women researchers face in South Asia and recommends actions to address them. Based on a series of interviews conducted with global experts in 2014, it shows that in South Asia, cultural restrictions and a lack of career opportunities play a major role in contributing to the gradual drop off of women researchers after PhD level. Our report suggests that this gender imbalance is not being taken seriously enough at the highest levels or by the women themselves and identifies potential solutions to tackle this issue and readdress the gender balance in the area of research.