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Gender Dynamics in Science and Technology :From the "Leaky Pipeline" to the "Vanish Box"


  • Henry Etzkowitz
  • Marina Ranga


This paper discusses the “Vanish Box phenomenon” found among female scientists who migrate from academia to new occupations emerging at the intersection between science and business, like technology transfer. These occupations offer not only new career paths, but also more favourable work conditions in comparison to academic science and industrial research. The ‘Vanish Box’ refers to women scientists’ recoupment, rather than loss, through their reinsertion into an alternative context in which their value may be realized, and possibly capitalized upon, to an even greater extent than in the original context from which they were made redundant. By delineating a dynamic, rather than static relation between the science and business institutional spheres, the ‘Vanish Box’ model is a more accurate representation of the gender attrition in the upper reaches of the scientific professions than either the pessimistic “leaky pipeline” view of permanent loss of women in science, or the more optimistic, but disconfirmed, “pump priming” expectation that women’s rise to high positions proportionately to male scientists would naturally occur.

Suggested Citation

  • Henry Etzkowitz & Marina Ranga, 2011. "Gender Dynamics in Science and Technology :From the "Leaky Pipeline" to the "Vanish Box"," Brussels Economic Review, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles, vol. 54(2-3), pages 131-147.
  • Handle: RePEc:bxr:bxrceb:2013/108936
    Note: Special Issue "Beyond the leaky pipeline - Challenges for research on Gender on Science" Guest Editors :Maria Caprile, Danièle Meulders, Sile O'Dorchai and Nuria Vallès

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