World Ranking of female Scientists

4 Italians in Top 100 World Ranking of Female Scientists

News released the 2nd edition of their annual online Ranking of Best Female Scientists in the
World. Italy has 4 scientists recognised in the top 100, and a further 22 in the top 1,000 in the world.

The objective of’s ranking is to “provide inspiration to female researchers, women contemplating a career in academia, and global decision-makers by showcasing successful women in the scientific community”.

There are four Italians among the world’s best women scientists according to the ranking by which uses the number of publications and citations as its methodology.

Oncological epidemiology expert Silvia Franceschi is 20th. Next is national nuclear physics institute research chief Speranza Falciano in 62nd place. She is followed by epidemiologist and Bologna University lecturer Eva Negri 70th. Pavia University cardiology lecturer Silvia Priori is in 85th place.

The focus of Italy’s top female scientists

Left to right: Falciano, Franceschi, Negri and Priori

Italy’s top female scientist, Silvia Franceschi, is best known for her work in cancer, diabetes mellitus and cohort study. In total she has over 150,000 citations, and 1,416 publications. Franceschi is based at the Centro di Riferimento Ocologico.

Speranza Falciano is best known for her work on particle physics, electron and Quark physics. She is based at Sapienza University of Rome and has 115,568 citations and 1,100 publications to her name.

From the University of Bologna, Eva Negri shares similarities with Franceschi in her field of work. Negri is best known for her work on cancer, diabetes mellitus and statistics. She has 88,614 citations and 1,035 publications to her name.

Silvia Priori of the University of Pavia is known for her work in cardiology. She has 154,344 and 620 publications to her name.

Italy has a long history of women in STEM, although times have seen women’s contributions ignored or belittled. ItalyNews.Online’s article for International Women’s Day this year highlighted just a few of them. They were: Elena Cornaro Piscopia (mathematics); Laura Bassi (physics); Maria Gaetana Agnesi (calculus); Rita Levi Montalcini (neurologist) and Samantha Cristoforetti (astronaut and engineer).

Key findings from 2023 World Ranking of Female Scientists

  • The United States dominated the rankings with 609 scholars in the top 1,000 (60.9%)
  • Seven of the top 10 female scientists in the top 1% are from the US
  • Other countries leading the way in the rankings are the United Kingdom (96 scientists = 9.6%) and Germany (37 scientists = 3.7%)
  • The best female scientist in the world is Professor JoAnn E. Manson from Harvard Medical School, known for her pioneering research in the fields of epidemiology, endocrinology, and women’s health.

Bias against women in research

Investigating gender imbalances in prestigious international research awards, Meho (2021) discovered a noteworthy shift. The percentage of female researchers receiving these awards rose from an average of 6% annually during 2002-2005 to 19% in 2016-2020. Despite this considerable progress, the research highlighted that between 2001 and 2020, these awards were granted 3,445 times, with 2,011 going to men and only 262 to women. Notably, 49 out of the 141 awards during 2016–2020 were not received by any women.

Women awardees in Science and Engineering. Source:

Furthermore, even with this improvement, the gender disparity remains stark when considering the number of female full professors, particularly in biological and life sciences, computer science, and mathematics. In summary, the study concludes that women would need to increase their share of awards by almost 50% to achieve parity with their male counterparts.

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