Saturday, November 26, 2016

Promoting gender equality in academia and research institutions in the European Union I/VII

Over the last 15 years, continuous and cumulative steps have been made to advance gender equality in research and higher education institutions in the European Union (see Figure 1).
Despite these efforts, and although progress can be noticed (as shown by ‘She Figures’), there is still work to be done because literature and statistics provide evidence that: research and higher education institutions are gendered settings; unconscious or implicit biases impede an objective and fair judgement when recruiting or assessing people; there is a tendency to associate science with men; female researchers are generally underrepresented (with even lower percentages in typical male-dominated fields and in leadership and senior positions); and much research is gender-blind or genderbiased. 
In order to change the current state-of-play and ultimately contribute to the promotion of gender equality in research and higher education institutions, the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), in cooperation with the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, commissioned a project aimed at: 
• mapping and analysing the legal and policy frameworks and other stimulatory initiatives promoting gender equality in research;
• identifying good practices for integrating gender equality in research and higher education institutions;
• developing an online tool to assist these institutions in setting up, implementing, monitoring and evaluating gender equality plans.

This project ran from July 2015 until October 20161 . 
A participatory approach was followed throughout the project. A multiplicity of stakeholders and experts across the EU and beyond were involved to: 
• ensure that a comprehensive mapping was carried out;
• identify and select good practices promoting gender equality in research and higher education institutions;
• to co-design an online tool that meets the needs of those working in the field.  
The GEAR tool (Gender Equality in Research and Academia) is the result of multiple contributions, in different stages of the process, covering the 28 EU Member States and beyond. 
Considering the wealth of information and insights gathered, this publication summarises the main findings of the research and co-creation processes undertaken throughout the project.

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