What comes next? Sustainability of structural change for gender equality after SUPERA

By María Bustelo, Universidad Complutense de Madrid and SUPERA Coordinator

SUPERA is finally coming to an end after four years of being working together. It seems quite far away now those days in early June of 2018 of the kick-off meeting. As I said in the opening of our Final Conference in Madrid last March 25th, looking back now, what four years! We can definitively say that it has been a long and winding road. Throughout this four-year period, quite intensively during the first 18 months of the project life, we faced important institutional and political changes in all our implementing partners. And the pandemic precisely caught us about to hit the midst of the project when we were just finishing the take-off and reaching the cruising speed. All these circumstances made us be constantly adapting our strategies, interventions and change processes to the different contexts, and they also made us highly resilient.

But all in all, SUPERA has also been, beyond an enormous challenge, a fabulous adventure, full of efforts, achievements, and inspiring practices of which we are proud. It has also represented the best of working together, supporting each other, strengthening previous and establishing new professional bonds, which I am sure, will last well beyond the end of SUPERA.

The SUPERA consortium resulted a balanced formula of Research Performing Organizations (RPOs), in this case, four universities, and two very different Research Funding Organisations (RFOs), as we understood from the beginning that gender+ structural change should also be enhanced by how research money is distributed. Although with different logics and being respectful of our different idiosyncrasies, we have had excellent exchanges, used synergies, and learnt a lot from each other. The other wise choice of the SUPERA consortium was to count on two excellent supporting partners, one, Yellow Window, for training and guiding us through innovative methodologies and resources, and Science Po, as an embedded formative evaluator providing soundly continuous feedback to the implementing partners. For me, it has been a pleasure and an honour to coordinate this excellent consortium.

So, what comes next? How does SUPERA ensure sustainability? Sustainability has been one of the four core principles with which SUPERA was designed and developed. But the other three: cumulativeness, innovation and inclusiveness also contribute significantly to the sustainability of the project.

The first principle we wanted to observe from the design and inception of the project was cumulativeness. It was about taking advantage of what was already there, not trying to reinvent the wheel. Therefore, SUPERA was drawn upon tools & instruments already experimented and evaluated by other experiences and structural change projects. Moreover, throughout the project, we have continuously exchanged with other sister projects, encouraging, and participating in joint initiatives and campaigns, common seminars, and webinars. This has been facilitated by the fact that several partners in the SUPERA consortium participated in other past projects, and the others will continue to contribute to future ones. And SUPERA leaves several materials, methodologies developed, and documented inspiring practices that will contribute to this common European legacy.

The second principle, that one of innovation, made us develop innovative implementation structures using transformation design techniques, as Gender Equality Hubs and Gender Equality Fab Labs, which were thought for designing, prototyping, and testing affordable and innovative policy solutions to gender bias and imbalances identified through gender audits and diagnoses. Gender Equality Hubs, adapted to each institutional context, have been the most important key actors for launching and enhancing gender structural change processes at SUPERA implementing institutions. Gender Equality Fab Labs have also been an interesting and useful resource, which was used productively in different formats and for various topics by all partners. What we learnt from the SUPERA experience is that the initial diagnoses that were planned and successfully performed during the first year of the project, were also needed to be monitored in a continuous manner throughout the project. The reasons for that are the invisible and many times difficult-to-grasp character of gender+ inequalities, as well as all the confronted political, institutional, and global changes (pandemic included). This need of constant and updated information strongly incentivized us to prioritize, from the beginning, the promotion of sustainable and stable gender management information systems.

The third principle, inclusiveness, is at the core of our methodology and has strongly defined the SUPERA spirit. It means that we are absolutely convinced that the only way for reaching a real structural change is through the involvement of the entire research & university communities. Therefore, in SUPERA we have emphasised the importance of using participatory techniques and active stakeholders’ involvement, as this really increases their support to change processes and helps to reduce resistances. This conviction alludes also to the need of reaching everyone in the community, including men and all genders, without requiring the feminist or gender expert “card” to entry the club: the real sustainable change starts when non previously gender advocates become gender+ allies and change agents. And after four years we can say that we are very proud as, beyond the core teams, the SUPERA communities in partners’ institution are huge and diverse.

Coming back to the fourth SUPERA core principle, sustainability, from the beginning of the project we committed to design, implement, and evaluate interventions whose results have chances to endure over time producing gender structural change in our institutions. For securing this sustainable institutional change, we have done efforts towards project top management endorsement apart from the visibility of actions in our institutions, and the inclusive long-term involvement promotion explained above.

Another hard-won lesson learned from SUPERA is that the necessary top management commitment and endorsement should be always combined with bottom-up approaches from the communities. These last ones are so important that, if already started, they can remain being the change driving force when the first one disappears, or that well combined with adequate institutional political will, they can have amazing multiplying results. In all partners institutions, most of the participatory structures and networks created by SUPERA will remain in place and keep on being important change drivers. This is the case of the Gender Equality Nodes network at UCM, with representatives in all the 26 UCM Faculties, which has been increasingly active in gender promotion activities at the UCM towards the end of the project. For instance, as a result of a Conference on how to integrate a gender perspective in teaching organized by this Network with SUPERA support, an edited guide with recommendations for integrating gender in the areas of STEM, Social Sciences, Health Sciences and Art & Humanities will be released at the UCM very soon. But even going beyond SUPERA, this Network promotes a true interdisciplinary approach to gender by participating together in an innovative gender-sensitive pedagogical project and in another one for studying classroom student participation for the UCM Student Observatory. No project team at the UCM had ever covered so many faculties and areas before.

SUPERA also leaves concrete outputs, as for example, the already disseminated the Tailor-mage guides for gender-sensitive communication in research and academia, highlighted as a key good practice in the field in the newly updated version of the GEAR (Gender Equality in Academia and Research) online tool by EIGE. Other examples from SUPERA are also referenced in the GEAR tool, Gender Equality Fab Labs and the Gender Equality Nodes network at the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM). At the end of the project this month, SUPERA will also submit the last public deliverables, among others, Guidelines and best practices for RPOs and its version for RFOs. Also, several participatory and co-creation techniques have been developed and adapted by YW under SUPERA, like journey maps, lotus blossoms, stakeholder mapping, cause diagrams or personas, and guides and edited materials on those techniques will be uploaded and made available in the SUPERA web for further use by the structural change community.

As part of our resilient response to the COVID-19 crisis, as part of SUPERA, Central European University (CEU) provided the senior leadership team with a list of recommendations for a gender-sensitive implementation of telework in relation to COVID-19 pandemic, while the UCM performed a Survey on working conditions, academic time usage perception and academic performance during the COVID-19 crisis, which was also adapted by the University of Coimbra (CES-UC) and the University of Cagliari (UNICA). Their results have been already disseminated in reports, conferences, and future academic publications.

At the level of implementing partners, key initiatives have leveraged change beyond SUPERA organizations. This is the case of the network of regional research funding bodies committed to advancing gender equality and mainstreaming gender in research set up by the Spanish Research Agency (AEI- Partner MICINN), in a country where regional governments have significant agency regarding higher education and research. At the Autonomous Region of Sardinia (RAS), a regional research funding body granted with specific capacities under Italian Law, the SUPERA-driven Gender Equality Plan was taken up as an opportunity to mainstream gender not only in research funding calls, but also for structural funds, at a time when the insular region receives considerable funding through the EU recovery plan. This impact also leverages the leading role the two Sardinian partners (both RAS and UniCA, this last one being the largest university of the Island) are taking in building a gender sensitive research eco-system in the region. Also, in Portugal, SUPERA has been the driving force in establishing Coimbra as a pioneering university, actively sharing practices and knowledge also with national gender equality policy stakeholders, at a time when parity laws became applicable to higher education and research bodies. As an example, during the latest legislative campaigns, Coimbra University’s Vice Rector for Research publicly engaged Prime Minister Pedro Costa with the gender dimension in research as a topic for his next term.

Summing up, SUPERA leaves six Gender Equality Plans in our six implementing partners, but also important changes and structures in our institutions that go beyond those plans. We leave materials, reflections, and inspiring practices as well as active professional bonds and networks that feed and contribute to the European structural change and sister projects’ community. We also leave a good group of colleagues who became good friends while struggling together to make the best of the project during difficult times. I am sure all of these will continue to impact our institutions and our personal and professional lives beyond the end of SUPERA.

#COUNTERIT: join the new social media campaign about Resistances

SUPERA, GEARING Roles, GE Academy, CALIPER and GENDERACTION have joined forces to launch the social media campaign #COUNTERIT

Supporting gender equality and efforts towards improving equality are often met with resistances.

They can take many forms: they can consist of a complete denial of the problem, disinterest in the issue, inaction, or even complete ideological opposition. They could be cultural resistances, social resistances, individual, institutional, implicit and explicit.

Throughout the campaign, in order to raise awareness of the topic of resistances and to show how we can counter them, we will be sharing examples of tips and methods that our partners have developed to overcome resistances, both at the individual as well as institutional level.

Share your experience on these resistances between June 21 and 25 on your social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter): download the Powerpoint template here or create your graphics.

Tell us in any language about the resistances you have had to face and what did you do to counter them, or what you think we should do as a society to stop them.

Don’t forget to use the hashtag #COUNTERIT and join us!

2021-06-14T15:52:14+02:00May 17th, 2021|Tags: , , , , , |

Psychological dimensions of the impact of Covid-19 emergency

By Cristina Cabras, Silvia De Simone, Barbara Barbieri and Mirian Agus, University of Cagliari

How did the pandemic scenario affect the performance of the academic staff? In order to answer to this question, in the context of the SUPERA project the University of Cagliari developed a survey with the aim to explore the impact of psychological, sociological, economics and communicative dimensions on the productivity of the academic staff during the Covid-19 crisis. This report anticipates the preliminary results concerning the psychological dimensions.

The survey was administered to 968 participants between September and October 2020 with a response rate of about 25%; the participation was completely voluntary, and the questionnaire ensured anonymity. A total of 243 participants (researchers, associate and full professors), 50% men and 50% women, ranging from 30 to 70 years old, completed the questionnaire. Ot them, almost 56% of participants have children.

We investigated the relation among perceived stress, work-family interface, workload, perceveid organizational support, work engagement, workplace social isolation, scientific productivity and satisfaction. To measure these variables, we administered standardized scales.

Multivariate analysis

We performed the multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) to determine if there were significant differences between gender, academic position, presence/absence of children, scientific productivity and productivity satisfaction on the variables studied. The multivariate analysis of variance has age as a covariate.

While the results show a significant effect regarding gender, academic position, presence/absence children, productivity satisfaction, no significant effect was found on scientific productivity.

The results show that women feel more negative stress. A possible interpretation is that they feel to have less control over the most important aspects of their life and also to face too many difficulties in working environments.

Moreover, women perceive greater organizational support. In other words, they feel that their contributions and their efforts are appreciated, believing that the organization cares about their well-being and their job satisfaction. In addition to that, we found a significant effect regarding the academic position in relation to the negative interface of the family at work. In particular, the results show that full and associate professors have the highest levels of negative interface from family to work. This could mean that they have more problems with family interference in carrying out work assignments. In contrast, researchers hired on temporary contracts have the lowest levels of interference from family to work. The results show the highest levels of workload for associate and full professors: they are frequently asked to work hard and fast. On the other hand, researchers hired on temporary contracts have fewer workloads: this could mean that, compared to the other roles, they perceive a greater usefulness of their job duties and perceive they have less workload in terms of quality and quantity.

The presence of children is associated with higher levels of negative interference from work to family. It’s likely that those who have children have more negative relationships between work and family. Moreover, the presence of children is associated with higher levels of negative interference from family to work: those who have children have more negative interactions between family and work.

Finally, the results show that high levels of productivity satisfaction are associated with positive interference from work to family. It could mean that those with high satisfaction have positive experiences of interference from work to family.

Regression model

In order to test the role of the different dimensions of the work-family interface, workload and perceived organizational support on positive and negative perceived stress, productivity and productivity satisfaction, four regressions were conducted.

The regression models considered as dependent variables respectively: positive stress, negative stress, scientific productivity and satisfaction productivity; while as independent variables we have two blocks: workload and perceived organizational support, the four work-family interface dimensions.

Three models were significant, while the regression model of the scientific productivity variable did not show significant results.

The first regression model (dependent variable: Positive Perceived Stress) explains 6.3% of the variance, the second regression model (dependent variable: Negative Perceived Stress) explains 20% of the variance, and the third regression model (dependent variable: productivity satisfaction) explains 18% of the variance; instead, the four regression model (dependent variable: scientific productivity) did not show significant results.

Specifically, the results of the first regression show that only the positive work-to-family spillover is predictive of the positive perceived stress; there is therefore a positive association between the positive perception of stress and the positive work-to-family direction.

The results of the second regression show three predictors with a significant influence on the negative perceived stress. In particular, the data show a negative relationship between age and the negative perceived stress, between the positive work-to-family spillover and the negative perceived stress, while there is a positive relationship between the negative work-to-family spillover and the negative perceived stress.

Finally, there are two predictors for the productivity satisfaction dimension. The data show a positive relationship between positive work-to-family spillover and productivity satisfaction, while there is a negative relationship between the negative family-to-work spillover and productivity satisfaction.

SUMMARY

  • Women feel more negative stress, even though at the same time they feel more supported by their own organization.
  • Full professors and associate professors are those who perceive the most workload and who perceive a conflict between the family and work domains with the family that negatively interfere with work.
  • Parents experience more negative stress than non-parents, but they feel more supported by the organization and experience more negative work-to-family and family-to-work spillover.
  • Positive stress is more associated with positive work-to-family spillover.
  • Negative stress is more associated with age (with increasing age, negative stress decreases) and with positive and negative work-to-family spillover.
  • Satisfaction with scientific productivity is mostly associated to a positive work-to-family spillover and to negative family-to-work spillover.
  • Scientific productivity is not explained by the dimensions analyzed in this study.
2021-07-20T10:34:29+02:00March 31st, 2021|Tags: , , , , , |

What has the covid crisis meant for the academic world?

By Paula de Dios Ruiz and Lorena Pajares Sánchez, Universidad Complutense de Madrid

On Friday 5th of February, the UCM organised the online presentation act “Gender Impact of COVID-19” in which the UCM – SUPERA Team presented the results of the study done on working conditions, use of time and academic performance during the Covid-19 crisis among the academic staff of the UCM (PDI). Study that was carried out in June 2020, just after the hardest months of confinement and the State of Alarm in our country.

The event counted with the participation of Eva Alcón, Rector of the Jaume I University and Delegate of the Presidency for Equality Policies of the CRUE (Spanish Universities Rectors’ Conference); Magdalena Suárez Ojeda, Director of the Equality Unit at the UCM; and María Bustelo, Coordinator of the SUPERA project. Moreover, around 120 participants attended the event and enriched the discussion with questions and comments about the results. The recording of the event can be found at the UCM – SUPERA website, here.

The UCM – SUPERA Team has also systematised and described all the results of the study in a report, divided in 5 chapters following the surveys’ structure:
1. Academic and sociodemographic variables;
2. Working conditions;
3. Scientific production;
4. Uses of time and perception of efficacy;
5. Institutional support. 

One of the main findings to be highlighted is that significant differences between men and women appear in the answers of all chapters of the questionnaire. They reflect the presence of structural gender inequalities that perpetuates the traditional gender roles and stereotypes in academia, which seem to have been aggravated during the confinement and lockdown, as shown in the examples hereafter.

Significant differences are found already when looking into the sociodemographic variables of the UCM’s faculty staff, especially regarding family units, where it is identified that more women than men live with children under 18 years old and that the units with a single adult living with children are mostly headed by women. 

As regards the working conditions, female faculty have worse material working conditions than their male colleagues, shown by the fact that fewer women than men have good computer equipment and a working room for their own. 

Related to the distribution of reproductive works, women from the PDI of the UCM express to have dedicated more time than men to care and domestic work during confinement, with differences as relevant as 3 more hours per week on average dedicated to housework and cleaning, or caring for minor children. Moreover, it has come to light that the female faculty of the UCM have had less time available for rest, leisure and personal development.

If we focus on the scientific production, male PDI have been working and sending to publish more than the female PDI, with a clear difference in the production of articles for peer-reviewed journals. Analysing the perception of time dedicated to the different tasks of academic work, it can be highlighted that men dedicate more hours per week to writing papers, articles and books, while women dedicate more hours to preparing and teaching classes and exams and attending students.

These are just a few examples of the inequalities yielded by the study, but the overall results clearly outline the underlying academic profile of a successful scientific person: someone who has an exclusive dedication to scientific production, many hours a week invested in research activities and with less dedication to reproductive and care work. Not only at home but also at the university, care works seem to be a female responsibility, where there are tasks which are not recognised and valued on the career’s development criteria, such as preparing lessons or attending students, and those are tasks mainly done by women. 

The results must motivate us to continue working on gender equality at the UCM. For this reason, the report ends with a section of recommendations, which is considered a starting point from which to continue designing and proposing measures for the UCM’s GEP, as well as to continue working on the training and capacity building for the promotion of the implementation at all levels and departments of the gender mainstreaming strategy. 

The report is available here.  

2021-05-04T10:06:25+02:00March 31st, 2021|Tags: , , , , , |

XI European Conference on Gender Equality in Higher Education: save the date!

The Women and Science Unit of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation and the Ministry of Universities, in cooperation with the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM), the Spanish Institute of Women, and the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT), are pleased to invite you to the 2021 Conference on Gender Equality in Higher Education: https://www.genderequalityconference2021.com/

The European Conference Gender Equality in Higher Education (GEHE) is an academic forum to communicate new research and analysis on gender and science. These conferences also welcome presentations on the development of gender equality policies as well as on the implementation of gender equality plans in research performing organizations (RPOs) and research funding organizations (RFOs). The topics of the Conference that include a new thematic area on gender, science and COVID-19.

The 11th edition of GEHE was planned to be hosted by the UPM, Madrid, in September 2020 but the pandemic led to postpone the event. The Conference will be online from the 15th to the 17th of September 2021. More than 200 abstracts were already received and evaluated by our international scientific committee last year.

The online edition will include different activities:

  • Plenary conferences by main speakers.
  • Oral communications in parallel sessions.
  • Symposia/workshops.
  • High-level panel as closing event at ETSI Industriales –UPM (live streaming).
  • Online networking activities.

Follow the news on #GEHE2021 in the webpage: https://www.genderequalityconference2021.com

Gender-sensitive communication on social media, in practice: a pilot experience at UNICA


By Manuela Aru and Alessandro Lovari, University of Cagliari

A challenging, but definitely inspiring and stimulating experience. Every step of the process was fundamental: from the study of the materials to the design of every single part of the communication campaign”.

With these words, a student of the course of Public Sector Communication at the University of Cagliari described the experience in which she has been involved with other 19 students in January-February 2021: a role-play activity in which the students had to act like a real communication agency, with the goal to design communication campaigns on Instagram, following the principles of gender-sensitive communication.

The initiative, designed and developed by Alessandro Lovari, Manuela Aru and Maria Antonietta Tolu (Department of Political and Social Sciences), has been promoted with the aim to foster the mainstreaming of a gender-equality culture within the students community and to put in practice the concepts highlighted by the gender-sensitive guidelines developed in SUPERA. In UNICA, the gender equality plan (GEP) can be conceived as an open laboratory, that may host pilot activities directly involving the different parts of the university community.

While the general goal of this pilot initiative was the engagement of the student’s community on the topics of equality and inclusion in academia, one of the specific objectives was to guide the students among the four steps of the design and implementation of an institutional social media communication campaign:
1) research and analysis of the context and the target groups;
2) remote brainstorming sessions to understand and analyse the proposed topics and key messages;
3) design and creation of gender-sensitive graphics and texts;
4) publication of the contents on Instagram, following an editorial calendar.

The final results can be described as effective, impactful and surprising, especially in terms of visual identity (the way you shape perception and create an impression through the values communicated by the graphics), tone of voice (the way students have decided to communicate the messages) and coherence between the general strategy and the objectives.

Effective – Although free of a previous knowledge or experience in the field of gender-sensitive communication, the students managed to adopt a perspective free of unconscious biases.

How shall we represent the impact of gender stereotypes on academic career? “No common metaphors: let’s pick the image of the domino effect”

What visual images can we use to describe the gender inequalities? “Not only ladders: what about depicting two funambulists linked each other by a rope, or two people together on a swing?”

A wide range of original representations have been chosen, from comic strips to statistics and graphs: an innovative and effective way to understand and describe gender-related issues to the wider public of the University community.

Campaigns by Adelaide Fois, Luca Scintu, Marta Rachele Pusceddu, Riccardo Ansaldi, Elisa Frongia, Dario Fonnesu, Simone Pucci and Davide Caboni

Impactful – One of the most relevant outcomes one could highlight is the care devoted by the students to inclusion and gender-sensitivity both on texts and visuals. The thing that mainly drew our attention and curiosity has been the great variety of the visuals used to depict the different moments of the academic life. Books as big as houses, people with blue skin, paths made of words, non-binary people with rainbow hair: an impactful representation of the concept of inclusion.

Campaigns by Michela Locci, Valentina Demurtas, Sara Mandis Pusceddu, Francesca Delepierre, Adelaide Fois, Luca Scintu, Marta Rachele Pusceddu, Riccardo Ansaldi, Laura Spissu, Silvia Uccheddu, Michela Vargiu and Giangabriele Tortora

Surprising – The use of Instagram could be considered an ordinary, daily and common task by 19-24 years old students; but it may still provide an effective way to get these students feel free to express their imagination and creativity. Indeed, Instagram includes text, video and pictures, with the possibility to create engagement with polls, question’s boxes, Stories and live streaming.

The most surprising detail concerns the capacity – and the courage – of the students to put themselves out there to create contents, express an opinion and talk about difficult topics such as gender-based violence, sexual harassment and mobbing with empathy and care. They created contents using the most powerful Instagram tools as the Stories (contents that disappear after 24 hours), the IGTV (longer videos used to create more compelling contents) and Reels (a new instrument to record and edit 15-seconds videos with music and effects). They always kept their language clear, as required by a public sector organisation, and respectful of all the differences and needs, in the effort to adopt an intersectional perspective.

Campaigns by Michela Locci, Valentina Demurtas, Sara Mandis Pusceddu, Francesca Delepierre, Lara Sciola, Marta Lilliu, Alessandro Useli and Alessandro Marras

It is important to highlight that the use of this uncommon approach by the students required an intense preliminary study: indeed, the first step of this project, according to the goals of the course, was the study of the key concepts of public sector communication and gender communication, and the analysis of different communication campaigns on gender topics released in Italy and Europe in the last few years. This preliminary work aimed at developing the ability to distinguish good and bad communication practices in the development of a campaign.

The study of the SUPERA communication plan provided a structure to the work projects: each group chose six of the SUPERA key messages – targeting the students communities – and developed six Instagram posts, with original graphics and captions. The analysis of the gender-sensitive communication guidelines produced by SUPERA has also been essential to guide the students through the values and the standards of gender-sensitive communication.

Campaigns by Laura Spissu, Silvia Uccheddu, Michela Vargiu, Giangabriele Tortora, Adelaide Fois, Luca Scintu, Marta Rachele Pusceddu, Riccardo Ansaldi, Lara Sciola, Marta Lilliu, Alessandro Useli and Alessandro Marras, Elisa Frongia, Dario Fonnesu, Simone Pucci and Davide Caboni

Each project was presented via Zoom to a committee of researchers and professionals in the fields of public and gender-sensitive communication who expressed its opinions and points of view on each work group, creating an inspiring moment of exchange and knowledge sharing. The committee was composed by a representation of the SUPERA team at UNICA and by a specialist in the public sector communication field, Franca Faccioli, Professor at the University of Rome – Sapienza.

We can definitely say it: the students of UNICA won this challenge! Great job!

Fighting gender-based violence in research and academia: the UniSAFE project

By the UniSAFE Consortium

Gender-based violence is a pervasive global problem, and the context of research and higher education is no exception. Despite the scale and the social, economic and health costs of gender-based violence, it remains largely under-reported and under-researched.

Funded under the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme, the UniSAFE project aims to produce better knowledge on gender-based violence (GBV) in research organisations and to translate this knowledge into operational tools for higher education, research organisations and policymakers. Launched in February 2021, UniSAFE will run for three years.

The project explores the mechanisms of GBV, its social determinants, antecedents and consequences, by developing an ambitious multi-level research design and a holistic 7P model, to collect, analyse, synthesise and compare qualitative and quantitative evidence at three levels:

  • Prevalence and impacts of GBV will be analysed via data gathered by a survey among 45 research performing organisations and by a Europe-wide survey of mobile researchers (micro level).
  • Organisational responses and infrastructure will be investigated via data gathered by in-depth case studies, interviews, and strategic mapping of research organisations in 15 member states (meso-level).
  • Legal and policy frameworks will be examined through extensive mapping by national experts in the 27 European member states and 3 associated countries (macro-level).

The 7P research model employed at UniSAFE covers Prevalence, Prevention, Protection, Prosecution, Provision of services, Partnerships and Policy. This holistic approach is better equipped to collect comprehensive data, analyse their relation, and translate findings into operational tools than the conventional 3P model (Prevention, Protection, Prosecution) or the Istanbul Convention 4P model (3P and Policy).

UniSAFE is designed to achieve its results through research, education and outreach activities involving researchers, stakeholders and policymakers across Europe. As a result of the multi-field design, the project will provide in-depth knowledge of existing problems on the one hand, and current and future priorities on the other. Its outcomes will include:

  • A better understanding of GBV in European universities and research organisations and its impact on people, organisations and society.
  • Effective policies and measures implemented at universities and research organisations.
  • Increased capacity of students and staff to address GBV.
  • A toolkit and recommendations to reduce GBV in academic environments and research workplaces in Europe.

UniSAFE relies on a highly qualified and multi-disciplinary consortium, with a strong record on research, the law and policies to combat gender-based violence in the EU field of academia and research. Two of SUPERA’s partners are part of the UniSAFE consortium: the Complutense University of Madrid and Yellow Window.

2021-03-31T18:18:49+02:00March 11th, 2021|Tags: , , |

XI European Conference on Gender Equality in Higher Education: call for abstracts

The Women and Science Unit of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation and the Ministry of Universities in cooperation with the Technical University of Madrid (UPM) and the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT) are pleased to announce a new call for abstracts for the 2021 Conference on Gender Equality in Higher Education:

https://www.genderequalityconference2021.com/call-for-abstracts/

More than 200 abstracts already received and evaluated in 2020
New deadline for abstracts submission: 24th of March, 2021
See the topics of the Conference that include a new thematic area on gender, science and COVID-19

The European Conference Gender Equality in Higher Education (GEHE) is an academic forum to communicate new research and analysis on gender and science. These conferences also welcome presentations on the development of gender equality policies as well as on the implementation of gender equality plans in research performing organizations (RPOs) and research funding organizations (RFOs).

The 11th edition of GEHE was planned to be hosted by the UPM, Madrid, in September 2020 but the pandemic led to postpone the event. The Conference will be online from the 15th to the 17th of September 2021. More than 200 abstracts were already received and evaluated by our international scientific committee last year. The aim of this new call for abstracts is to give the opportunity to present new research, analysis and experiences from the gender and science community across Europe.

The online edition will include different activities:

  • Plenary conferences by main speakers.
  • Oral communications in parallel sessions.
  • Symposia/workshops.
  • High-level panel as closing event at ETSI Industriales –UPM (live streaming).
  • Online networking activities.

Follow the news on #GEHE2021 in the webpage: https://www.genderequalityconference2021.com

Overcoming gender gaps in research funding organisations: RAS approves its Gender Equality Plan

By Autonomous Region of Sardinia core team

The Regional Programming Centre of the Autonomous Region of Sardinia directly supervises and manages the regional funds for research and innovation. These funds finance basic research projects, young researchers and the investments in support of the innovation system. These functions and responsibilities of the Sardinia Region are carried out on the basis of a specific law, the Regional Law n. 7/2007, in favor of research and innovation, which currently has no any reference to gender policies. Therefore, the objective of the RAS in the activities within SUPERA project has been focused on creating an operational tool aimed at intervening on gender issues in the research field in Sardinia: the Gender Equality Plan (or GEP).

With the goal of building a GEP that could have the most effective impact, RAS started its activities by verifying the possible existence of a gender gap in the provision of resources to support research. The aim was to give indications to the policy maker and to create a favorable environment for the access to resources.

Specifically, this first phase was carried out following three guidelines:

1) ANALYSIS. This step concerns: the reference regulatory framework; the scope of applicability of the gender discipline in the research field; gender differences in the provision of grants for the implementation of research projects.

2) LISTENING. A shared and participatory path has been started among regional stakeholders on gender issues. The goal was to bring together in a hub the internal and external stakeholders, capable of providing data, suggestions and ideas useful for the drafting of the GEP. So far, the following external stakeholders participated in the hub: the Department of General Affairs and Personnel of the Sardinia Region, the agency Sardegna Ricerche, the Regional Councilor for equality, the Regional Commission for equal opportunities, Giulia Giornaliste, Corecom Sardegna, the Equality Councilor of the Metropolitan City of Cagliari and the Formez PA. This phase is dynamic as the hub is always open to the adhesions of new members. The stakeholders will support the GEP throughout its implementation phase.

3) OBJECTIVES. The definition of the objectives of the GEP led to the drafting of the Plan.

The first objective identified by the GEP is to bring about a structural change in the approach to gender issues in the Sardinia Region. Within the actions carried out to achieve this goal, it is important to emphasise the inclusion of the SUPERA principles in the PRS – Piano Regionale di Sviluppo (RDP – Regional Development Plan) 2020-2024. The RDP is the five-year regional planning document that defines the strategies and policies that Sardinia intends to implement over the course of the legislature. Consequently, the inclusion of SUPERA in the Plan represents a clear political commitment on the part of the President of the Region and his Council towards gender policies.

The second objective of the GEP is focused on Regional Law 7/2007 and it is intended to introduce corrective actions aimed at guaranteeing gender equality within the calls for basic research.

The third objective recalls the results of the descriptive analysis and the suggestions of stakeholders within the project hub. In particular, it considers the criticalities of the system of evaluation of research projects, which is not very sensitive to gender issues.

In conclusion, it is emphasised again that the GEP is conceived as a dynamic and constantly evolving tool, which can always lead to positive updates. Its structure has been defined by using the Logical Framework Approach (LFA) and indicates objectives, actions and indicators providing for appropriate actions throughout the life span of SUPERA.

The RAS Gender equality plan is available at this link.

2021-03-25T12:18:44+02:00November 5th, 2020|Tags: , , , , |

Gender and Science to tackle the Coronavirus crisis

By Zulema Altamirano, Women and Science Unit, MICINN and Lydia González, FECYT

The world health crisis due to the Covid-19 and the consequent confinement in many countries revealed different structural deficiencies and imbalances of the Research & Innovation (R&I) systems. One of the most evident was gender inequality in the current research career model. Since the first weeks of the confinement, different voices from the research community stressed the fact that people with children and dependents at home could not keep pace with pre-pandemic scientific productivity. The situation within this group is not gender neutral, since there is a gender care gap at home, which had been identified by the literature as one of the most important obstacles for women’s careers in the R&I field. This has led to a great concern among the gender community about the consequences, in terms of scientific evaluation and women’s leadership in science and innovation in the coming years.

Less attention has been paid, however, to the different effects of the pandemic in men’s and women’s health as well as to the necessary sex/gender analysis for new medical treatments and potential vaccines. Lessons learned from natural disasters also indicate that sex-disaggregated data are crucial to manage the different impacts of these crises at the short, medium and long term, especially in social and economic areas.

The Women and Science Unit have echoed both the need to have interdisciplinary research on the sex/gender effects of the pandemic and the gender impact on scientific productivity to produce a position paper supported by the Cabinet of the Minister on Science and Innovation.

Why position papers are important?
Through the publication of policy briefs, public organisations highlight a social problem and define strategic lines of action that aim at influencing other institutions and governments. Position papers from very influential organisations have the capacity to legitimate demands, ideas and policy actions. Several international organisations related to gender equality published “policy statements” to remark the negative gender impact of the pandemic in different social domains. The best example for gender equality in the R&I field is the position paper issued by the Standing Working Group on Gender in Research and Innovation (SWG GRI), which inspires the Spanish one “Gender and science to tackle the coronavirus crisis”.

The Women and Science Unit aims to play an active role in the debates on gender equality policies in the R&I field in Spain and also to listen carefully the problems and obstacles that women researchers and technologists bring up. With this position paper, the Women and Science Unit sends a clear message to the scientific community and research organisations in Spain: we are concerned with the issue, we are willing to read scientific analysis on it, moreover we want to anticipate to the negative gender impact of the confinement in the research career. This is one of the raisons d’être of gender equality structures: being there, ready to interact with the research community in order to learn from their experiences and try to address problems by proposing the best solutions according to the experience in gender equality policies and the literature on gender and science.

What are the recommendations?
The Women and Science Unit, after conducting a literature review on the topic, has made recommendations to different agents of the Spanish system of science, technology and innovation:

  • Research funding organisations should conduct gender impact evaluations of all the research calls and their evaluation criteria. The aim is to identify gender gaps in research productivity due to the confinement and to design mitigation measures. This would require sex-disaggregated data on the different indicators of research productivity.
  • Research performing organisations have a unique opportunity to make changes in the organisational cultures, hierarchical structures and informal power networks in order to eradicate structural inequalities in the science and innovation work. Human resources policies will need to consider the positive and negative impacts of the confinement in the working conditions of women and men and take into account their experiences in order to promote new labour agreements towards co-responsibility, horizontality, collaborative leadership and workers’ autonomy.
  • Both coordinated policies from research performing and funding organisations will be directed to achieve the following objectives in the Spanish R&I system:
    • Balanced representation of women and men as principal investigators of research projects
    • Fair distribution of tasks, roles and benefits within research teams – especially considering the most precarious researchers such as young women – as a criterion of quality in the management of research projects
    • Eradication of the “maternal wall” in the research career through temporary special measures in research calls and human resources calls
    • Promotion of a reasonable and sustainable mobility that can be compatible with care work
    • Tailored gender equality plans, sexual harassment protocols and teleworking agreements in research institutions
  • All research projects funded with public resources must consider sex/gender analysis in their proposals and research funding organisations must develop systematic procedures to evaluate and monitor the gender dimension in research projects granted. To improve the gender performance of research proposals, gender and science needs to be part of the methodological training of PhD students in every field.
  • Research funding organisations should dedicate funds for interdisciplinary research projects on the covid-19 crisis and its diverse and complex consequences from a gender perspective.
  • The gender perspective and gender knowledge need to be mainstreamed in every analysis and policy-design to tackle the coronavirus crisis in order not to produce bias and to have a better knowledge of the phenomenon as well as to guarantee that women’s views and needs are considered in the decision-making process in the R&I field. This is particularly relevant in the health sector where a traditional feminisation of health professions have coexisted with an underrepresentation of women in decision-making positions.
  • Investment in R&I must guarantee that research and innovation serve the needs of a democratic society – that is, integrate the gender dimension – and that research career is stable and attractive for researchers, especially for women young researchers.
  • Gender equality policies in the R&I field should promote participation and coordination with different public institutions, stakeholders and civil society in order to promote the best policies and facilitate accountability.

Finally, one of the most important contributions of all the articles, papers, policy briefs and social media comments on doing research during the confinement has been to place care work at the centre of the debate regarding research career and scientific evaluation. The gender community, along with gender and science structures, must take advantage of this momentum to achieve career models compatible with care work and women’s own time.