This lack of interest in science often manifests itself at school level at the age where curricular choices are made.
In many countries, there is a noticeable decrease in the numbers of students choosing (some of) the sciences.
It is a paradox that the break is most marked in some of the Nordic countries, where gender equity has been a prime educational aim for decades.
For example, while the Nordic countries come out on top of all the countries in the world on the Gender Empowerment Measure, an indicator developed by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP 2001), the same countries have very low female participation rates in science- and technology-related occupations and studies.
Universities and research institutions are anxious about the recruitment of new researchers, and education authorities are worried about the already visible lack of qualified teachers of the scientific and technological subjects.
In some countries, the difficulty of recruiting sufficient numbers of new entrants to the teaching profession has become a matter of national concern, especially when the level of recruitment does not even allow for the replacement of those who are retiring.
The trend is consolidated in admissions to tertiary education.
A similar trend occurs in some areas of engineering and technology studies.
In many countries, there is also a growing gender gap in the choice of scientific and technological subjects at both school and tertiary level.
Many countries have had a long period of steady growth in female participation in traditionally male fields of study, but this positive trend seems now to have been broken in some countries.