In spite of national and EU-level strategies on gender equality, European research still suffers from a considerable loss and inefficient use of highly skilled women. The annual increase in female researchers is less than half the annual number of female PhD graduates and too few women are in leadership positions or involved in decision-making. In 2005 the Council set a goal for women to be in 25% of leading public sector research positions, but in 2009 only 13% of the heads of higher education institutions were women. The integration of a gender dimension into the design, evaluation and implementation of research is also still too limited. The challenge is to improve on all these points to increase the quality and relevance of research. The Commission is already committed to ensure 40% of the under-represented sex in all its expert groups, panels and committees and will apply this particularly under Horizon 2020.
Create a legal and policy environment and provide incentives to:
remove legal and other barriers to the recruitment, retention and career progression of female researchers while fully complying with EU law on gender equality
address gender imbalances in decision making processes
strengthen the gender dimension in research programmes
Engage in partnerships with funding agencies, research organisations and universities to foster cultural and institutional change on gender - charters, performance agreements, awards
Ensure that at least 40% of the under-represented sex participate in committees involved in recruitment/career progression and in establishing and evaluating research programmes
Implement institutional change relating to HR management, funding, decisionmaking and research programmes through Gender Equality Plans which aim to:
Conduct impact assessment / audits of procedures and practices to identify gender bias
Implement innovative strategies to correct any bias
Set targets and monitor progress via indicators
Foster gender equality and the integration of a gender dimension in Horizon 2020 programmes and projects from inception, through implementation to evaluation, including through the use of incentives
Propose in 2013 a Recommendation to Member States with common guidelines on institutional change to promote gender equality in universities and research institutions.