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

Share your thoughts 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, 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!

2021-05-17T14:38:08+02:00May 17th, 2021|Tags: , , , , , |

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: , , |

The unequal effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on Portuguese women academics


By Filipa Marques, Sofia Miguel (NOVA University Lisbon) Mónica Lopes (University of Coimbra)

The COVID-19 has caused substantial disruptions to academic activities:

  • Working parents have to balance their time between academic responsibilities, childcare and domestic tasks;
  • Professors have to ensure online lectures for their students, sometimes using pre-recorded lessons, in order to mitigate the distance;
  • Researchers have to adapt to a new reality, which constrains the lab work to a minimum.

The general impact of confinement measures in the academic performance of professors and researchers has been a subject of interest, mainly because most of working professors and researchers are also parents, some with young children in their care. It is a matter of public discussion that COVID-19 is having an uneven influence with those with child/adult care responsibilities – particularly women. Female professors and researchers have been facing more difficulties to publish their research due to the confinement caused by COVID-19, according to data that show that women’s publishing success dropped after schools closed [1, 2]. A recent study indicates a sharp decrease in original research-papers submissions by female researchers in several international journals, during confinement caused by COVID-19 [3]. As the novel virus reveals an endeavour to researchers in the medical and health sciences disciplines, the proportion of published papers in such fields dramatically increased to promptly allow results dissemination. In this regard, female publication success during this period should have increased, not decreased, since women have been increasing their representativeness in these fields [4, 5]. This fact illustrates the confinement effect on women’s publication records and at the preprint and journal submission stages.

In Portugal, COVID-19 has affected professors and researchers similarly, as in other countries, facing the same challenges. Aware of this, SPEAR partner, NOVA University Lisbon, has been laying foundations towards a more equal-opportunities-academic environment that aims to implement gender-sensitive policies and help reduce the institutional gender gap.

The data on the effects of COVID-19 in female academics are still scarce. However, there are two research projects ongoing, specifically devoted to exploring the effects of the pandemic at the national level. The only empirical research already documenting the impact of COVID-19 in the work conditions and academic performance of women in Portuguese research institutions has been carried out by the University of Coimbra, within the framework of the SUPERA project. Based on a survey questionnaire of teaching and research staff, the findings shed light on gender inequalities that are shaping COVID’s impact on working conditions, work-life balance, and academic time usage and efficacy. It has been particularly more difficult to academic women, especially younger mothers in non-tenure-track positions.

In Portugal, academic women seem to be more exposed to not only the severity of psychological/emotional effects of the COVID-19 crisis but also to the increased burden of domestic and care duties during confinement. Moreover, the pandemic appears to affect disproportionately the housework and care routines of women (especially younger academic mothers), as well as the personal routines of female academics, who reported more often a reduction of leisure time during the lockdown.

The increased household and emotional burdens arising from COVID restrictions also affect the work-family negotiations and conflicts, posing differentiated challenges to reconcile the competing time demands of paid work and family. Substantial differences are observed between men and women perceptions of how the pandemic has affected their work. Female academics and academics with young children in the household most frequently emphasise the influence of COVID-19 on the amount of time dedicated to professional work. Moreover, when analysing the changes on time allocation to the various domains of the academic activity, one can observe that the reinforcement of teaching and administrative tasks during the confinement is specially bound to female dedication. In the case of young mothers, the priority given to teaching occurs at the expense of research activities (e.g., manuscript and grant writing, peer review and serving on funding panels) which are critical to career progression.

The study also gives important insights on the extent to which the distinctive burdens imposed by the lockdown to female scientists and scientists with young children impacted academic productivity. Nevertheless, it is too early to get a complete picture of this impact, as the lockdown period has been relatively short compared to normative research timelines. The outputs considered to explore the effects of the pandemic in academic productivity were mainly of scientific character but also connected to pedagogical activities, knowledge transfer and dissemination. When solely considered, neither gender nor parental status significantly affected the changes in academic output observed during the “stay home order”. Nonetheless, when considered in combination, gender and parental status displayed a significant influence in the differences observed between the pre-pandemic and pandemic period, placing female scientists with children up to 12 in a particular disadvantage.

Moreover, women without children and men with and without children have increased their output submission during the confinement, whereas younger academic mothers faced an inverse trend. This difference may further aggravate the gap between men and women, as said institutions have an increasingly research-oriented strategy. This may translate into a significant disproportion of the performance management policies regarding tenure, recognition and promotion since most academic careers evolve directly from strong publication records and academic performance [6].

Although limited in scale and scope, this study provides sound quantitative evidence highlighting gender disparities in how the pandemic has affected the scientific workforce in Portugal. Academic institutions and funding organisations should consider the inequalities regarding not only academic productivity but also material and non-material working conditions to put in place some measures. The metrics to assess funding and academic position applications rely on bibliometric indicators that tend to be unidimensional. Therefore, a requirement for academic assessment and monitoring should include institutional measures to promote career development and talent retention, a more diverse and inclusive working environment, and family-friendly policies. These would be important to provide resources for early-career academics, particularly women with young children, to attenuate the negative effects of academic productivity resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

This article is the result of a joint initiative among the H2020 sister projects SPEAR and SUPERA and has been published also on the SPEAR website.

SUPERA and the Sister Projects: the value of being part of a community of practice

By Manuela Aru, University of Cagliari

From the very beginning of the project in 2018, our Consortium has established a fruitful collaboration with the community of practice of the Sister Projects, the network of EU-funded projects active in the field of design and implementation of gender equality plans in research and academia.

Working in the gender equality field is never easy or linear and it is a unique strenght to have a network to rely on to identify common problems and possible solutions. We are glad to be part of this inspiring network, that provides us constant opportunities to share knowledge, advice and mutual support.

This synergy allows us as well to enhance the dissemination of our positive messages, adding value to our communication activities, for example participating to joint social media campaigns such as the ones identified with the hashtags #genderRRIng, #COMMIT2GENDERRING  and #GearingLeaders.

Under the Horizon 2020 framework, 28 projects focusing to the development of Gender Equality Plans in research and academia  have been funded across Europe,  but the topic of gender equality in research and higher education has been tackled since 2007, with other 16 projects focused on gender management, implementation of gender actions and gender dimension in research.

Discover all the Sister Projects

2021-03-25T11:56:35+02:00May 23rd, 2020|Tags: , |

SUPERA Project solidarity statement for Ayse Gül Altinay

📷 @gidahatti

SUPERA Project stands in solidarity with Ayse Gül Altinay, Professor of Anthropology and Director of Sabancı University Gender and Women’s Studies Center of Excellence (SU Gender) and editorial board member of the European Journal of Women’s Studies.

The past May, Professor Ayse Gül Altinay, partner in our sister project Gearing Roles, was sentenced to 2 years and 1 month in prison for “willingly and knowingly supporting a terrorist organisation as a non-member“.

A growing number of scholars in Turkey face criminal charges and have been prosecuted in retaliation for having signed a petition in January 2016 (the so-called “Peace Petition”, organized by the group known as “Academics for Peace”): such actions run against freedom of speech and academic freedom.

More information can be found here:

Scholars at risk

Academics for Peace

European University Association

GEECCO

GE Academy

Ayse Gül Altinay Twitter profile

2021-03-25T12:31:45+02:00June 28th, 2019|Tags: , |