The University of Coimbra has approved the Plan for Equality, Equity and Diversity 2019-2023

In April 2021, the University of Coimbra approved its Plan for Equality, Equity and Diversity 2019-2023. It was first drafted by the SUPERA team, based on the results of the participatory gender diagnosis, and further harmonized and framed within the wider institutional strategy for Equality, Equity and Diversity, whose principles were recently endorsed by the UC.

The Plan, chronologically aligned with the 2019-2023 UC Strategic Plan, is both a means and a mechanism for its full implementation. It embraces the vision defined in the Strategic Plan’s Citizenship, Equality and Inclusiveness pillar: “promoting active, enlightened, socially responsible and inclusive citizenship, by preserving the right to have rights, respecting dignity, equality and the right to difference, so that all people can reach their full potential, based on a collective formulation of common goals and challenges”.

The UC’s Plan for Equality, Equity and Diversity 2019-2023 is a comprehensive plan, structured around nine strategic objectives, defined to tackle the challenges identified in the baseline assessment:

  1. Mitigate horizontal segregation, by promoting the integration of women and men in scientific/study areas in which they are underrepresented;
  2. Combat vertical segregation, by removing institutional barriers to career progression and support professional development;
  3. Improve the conciliation and balance between work/study and personal/family life;
  4. Ensure inclusivity in the governing bodies;
  5. Integrate equality, equity and diversity into the University´s structures and policies, ensuring the sustainability of proposed actions;
  6. Integrate a gender perspective and the principles of equality, equity and diversity into all scientific areas, educational and research contents, as a component of academic excellence;
  7. Raise awareness of equality, equity and diversity in the academic community;
  8. Promote inclusion and minorities’ protection policies, prevent discrimination and combat harassment and violence at all levels (sexual, sexist and moral);
  9. Deepen citizenship and equality, by continuously implementing improvement measures.

Each strategic objective is broken down into specific objectives operationalised into 56 measures and initiatives in the action plan, which incorporates different types of activities – data collection and analysis, awareness-raising, capacity-building, and transforming structures and processes. Each strategic objective is associated with a set of measurable goals, representing the expected impacts. Regular monitoring of the Plan’s actions and objectives will be aligned with the monitoring of the UC´s Strategic Plan, and materialised by the assessment of the degree of implementation of activities and the analysis of the outcomes achieved in the corresponding key performance indicators.

Recognising the quality of the UC’s Plan for Equality, Equity and Diversity, the Portuguese Secretary of State for Citizenship and Equality, Rosa Monteiro, publicly highlighted it as an example to be followed by other Higher Education Institutions: “The first Plan for Equality at the University of Coimbra. This is how an equality plan should be designed. (…)  Well-defined areas and objectives, goals to be met based on clearly stated indicators. A model to be adopted by other plans.” Source: Rosa Monteiro’s Facebook profile

The first Equality Plan of the University of Coimbra is an important milestone in the pathway and commitment to promoting equality in the institution, standing in line with its values, and proactively acting to include its principles in the University´s policies, processes and practices. This commitment results from a perspective of social responsibility, and a commitment to make the most of the privileged role of the University, as an entity which produces and conveys knowledge, in the promotion of a social environment characterized by substantive equality between men and women.

“Don’t assume. Just ask”: a CEU’s awareness raising campaign on pronouns

Don’t assume. Just ask”. It’s not possible to guess someone’s gender identity from the way they appear; the way people communicate is crucial to ensure that nobody feels alienated or discriminated against. This is particularly important in the academic environment, where students, researchers and administrative staff contribute daily to the advancement of knowledge and claim the right to work and study in an inclusive and non-discriminating environment.

For this reason, our partner CEU (Central European University) has recently launched an awareness raising campaign to sensitise the community on the importance of the use of pronouns in daily communication. Indeed, everyone uses pronouns based on their gender identity: the use of the correct ones is the most respectful way to communicate and refer to people.

CEU has promoted 9 best practices following the “Ideas for Getting Pronouns Right” published at the University of Warwick.

The advice to use the pronouns “they/them” until someone’s pronouns are known opens the list, followed by other recommendations based on the principles of a respectful and inclusive communication:

2) When you introduce someone use their pronouns in order to help others to learn them;

3) Listen to how people speak about themselves;

4) If someone uses the wrong pronouns for another person who is not present, gently correcting the mistake;

5) Consider wearing a badge with your pronouns;

6) Include your pronouns in your email signature;

7) If you don’t know, just ask “What pronouns do you use?”;

8) If you get wrong with someone’s pronouns, simply apologise and correct yourself;

9) People’s names and pronouns are not to be questioned but respected: make no personal or invasive questions.

Download the best practices and the poster of the initiative and share them with your friends and colleagues: help us to spread the word and sensitise people on the right way to use pronouns in order to ensure inclusion and respect of diversity in daily communication.

CEU’s awareness campaign is fully in line with the SUPERA’s principles of gender equality beyond the male-female binary, and with the advice illustrated in the “Gender-sensitive communication guidelines in research and academia” developed as a project deliverable (soon available for download).

COVID-19 impact on gender equality in academia: on 9/06 an online event to present the surveys’ results

Photo by Standsome Worklifestyle, Unsplash

On June 9, 2021 from 4.00 to 5.30 pm CET, the SUPERA core teams from the University of Coimbra, the University of Cagliari and the Complutense University of Madrid will present the results of the study on the gendered impact of COVID-19 carried out in the three respective European universities.

The presentation will be introduced by Jörg Muller, expert in concepts and methods for researching the impact of gender diversity on research performance (Open University of Catalonia), and Nicole Huyghe, an expert in data analytics from a gender perspective (Boobook) will comment on the results; a final session will be devoted to the Q&A by the participants.

The participation to the event is open to everyone but registration is required through the link available here: a Zoom link to join the meeting will be sent a few hours before the start of the event.

For any question or information, please contact us at superaprojectoffice@ucm.es.

Agenda 

  • Welcome by Lut Mergaert, Yellow Window
  • Introduction by Jörg Muller, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya
  • Presentations of Results 
    • CES-UC: Mónica Lopes, researcher at the Center for Social Studies of the University of Coimbra 
    • UniCA: Barbara Barbieri, Associate Professor at the Department of Political and Social Sciences of the University of Cagliari
    • UCM: María Bustelo, Associate Professor of Political Science and Public Administration at the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM)
  • Comments on the results by Nicole Huyghe, CEO and founder of Boobook
  • Questions & Answers session by participants
  • Closing