Gender equality in research aims to boost EU competitiveness

An EU-funded project is developing tools to improve gender balance in research institutions and higher education, helping to sustain female talent in research-based careers over the long term.

Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Bosnia and Herzegovina
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czechia
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Faroe Islands
  Finland
  France
  French Polynesia
  Georgia

Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Bosnia and Herzegovina
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czechia
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Faroe Islands
  Finland
  France
  French Polynesia
  Georgia


  Infocentre

Published: 23 July 2019  
Related theme(s) and subtheme(s)
Human resources & mobilityCareers & mobility  |  Training
Information society
International cooperation
Research policyHorizon 2020
Science in societyPeople in science  |  Women & science
Countries involved in the project described in the article
Bosnia and Herzegovina  |  France  |  Ireland  |  Italy  |  Portugal  |  Turkey  |  United Kingdom
Add to PDF "basket"

Gender equality in research aims to boost EU competitiveness

Image

© strichfiguren.de #186967035, source: stock.adobe.com 2019

Women represent just under half of all PhD graduates in Europe. However, according to EU figures, they gradually disappear from academic and research-based careers in much greater numbers than men. This phenomenon is so well established that it has even acquired its own name – ‘the leaky pipeline’.

‘In the face of global competition and the imperative to prioritise excellence and innovation in research, Europe cannot afford to ignore or lose the talent and human capital of the female research-orientated workforce,’ says Professor Eileen Drew, Director, Trinity Centre for Gender Equality and Leadership, in Dublin, Ireland and coordinator of the EU-funded SAGE project.

SAGE is working to tackle gender imbalances in research by creating mechanisms that can be applied across research institutions and higher education establishments in Europe to help achieve gender equality.

‘Universities have a fundamental role in addressing gender imbalances and growing equality by ensuring that the recruitment of talent and achievement of research excellence coexists with social awareness and responsibility,’ Drew explains.

Barriers to balance

Women in academia and research face the same gender barriers that are common to many professions. These include unequal pay, lack of a work-life balance, gender-based harassment and discrimination, and the under-representation of women in decision-making.

Men are three times more likely to reach top-level positions in research organisations than women, while the latter occupy only 20 % of the positions among heads of institutions. Moreover, women represent 40 % of the researchers in higher education but only account for 31 % of corresponding authors in scientific publications.

‘Gender equality, and its incorporation into research design, contributes to excellence in innovation and stimulates new knowledge and technologies. We must make sure that these barriers are addressed and removed,’ says Drew.

SAGE is working with seven universities across Europe in Ireland, Italy, Turkey, Portugal, France and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The project team has drawn up gender equality plans, and has developed, tested and refined a replicable model for gender equality which can now be extended across the European Research Area in higher education and research institutions.

The project developed a ‘Charter of Principles for Gender Equality’ and a gender balance toolkit. By using the kit, administrative staff in higher education can assess the current gender balance – or imbalance – in their institution, including undertaking actions such as gender pay audits. They can also analyse their institution’s policies on equality, work-to-life balance, and factors like paternity leave for fathers, core hours for meetings, rooms for new mothers to feed their babies on campus, and professional development support for postdoctoral students.

SAGE encourages universities to create courses dedicated to gender balance and gender equality issues, gender balance committees, appointing a vice rector for gender equality, and to consider the gender dimension in research proposals.

The project has also developed ‘unconscious bias awareness workshops’ for senior management and staff involved in recruitment.

SAGE tools are freely available and have been widely disseminated. During the summer of 2019, the project plans to hold a capacity-building workshop in Brussels to work on disseminating the project’s results and tools as widely as possibly. Meanwhile, it also plans to launch a SAGE Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) comprising three modules: unconscious bias; change management for gender equality; and gender in the research process.

Project details

  • Project acronym: SAGE
  • Participants: Ireland (Coordinator), Italy, Turkey, Portugal, France, Bosnia and Herzegovina, UK
  • Project N°: 710534
  • Total costs: € 2 276 853
  • EU contribution: € 2 276 853
  • Duration: September 2016 to August 2019

See also

 

Convert article(s) to PDF

No article selected


loading


Search articles

Notes:
To restrict search results to articles in the Information Centre, i.e. this site, use this search box rather than the one at the top of the page.

After searching, you can expand the results to include the whole Research and Innovation web site, or another section of it, or all Europa, afterwards without searching again.

Please note that new content may take a few days to be indexed by the search engine and therefore to appear in the results.

Print Version
Share this article
See also
Project details