No data, no policy: New project promotes gender equality action in seven European research institutions

2021-02-01

A new European research project prepares the ground for structural changes to promote gender equality in public and private research organisations. Led by the University of Turin, the four-year MINDtheGEPs project will identify good practice and help shape measures to reduce gender imbalances in seven research institutions and generate data to support the development of national and European policy for gender equality in research performing organisations. Uppsala University’s Centre for Research Ethics & Bioethics (CRB) contributes communications expertise, working together with Elsevier to support impact through communications and dissemination strategies for the project.

MINDtheGEPs project logoThe MINDtheGEPs team is a mix of EU institutions coordinated by the University of Turin. The project has partners from Italy, Spain, Ireland, Poland, Serbia, Sweden and The Netherlands. Seven partners: University of Gdańsk, the School of Electrical Engineering-University of Belgrade, Jagiellonian University, Institute of Technology Tralee, Automotive Technology Centre of Galicia (CTAG), National Research Council (CNR) and the University of Turin will set up and implement gender action plans. They receive support from the Italian National Research Council (CNR), Knowledge and Innovation (K&I), Uppsala University and Elsevier. 

The gender equality plans developed in the project will include both cultural and structural aspects. This includes removing barriers to hiring and the career development for women in research, and to contrast gender inequalities within governing bodies and evaluation committees. This ensures actions are aligned with the European Commission’s objectives for gender equality in European research.

Swedish universities have already gone through a process of gender mainstreaming through equal opportunities action plans initiated by the Government. This recent experience puts Uppsala University in a position to support impact of the project’s findings and the necessary tools and vocabulary needed to communicate about gender action. According to Josepine Fernow, coordinator at the Centre for Research Ethics & Bioethics (CRB), her team will be able to support engagement, outreach and communication of both actions and outcomes, providing strategies for both the national and EU level. This work is also strengthened by having a publisher on board (Elsevier), providing the tools needed to communicate about data, and sound advice on how to pursue academic publishing of the outcomes of this project.

MINDtheGEPS will both map existing data and generate new datasets on sex and gender differences to support the development of policy on gender action. This qualitative and quantitative data collection will drive the implementation of effective gender equality plans that can be monitored and evaluated. Furthermore, having a scientific publisher on board allows us to develop structures to collaborate with scientific journals and publishers on gender differences. We are also able to use existing data to analyze differences in relation to publication and authorship. Based on this data, MINDtheGEPs will be able to develop and share guidance on approaches to all aspects of research that takes sex and gender into account.

MINDtheGEPs will also organise a number of workshops on empowerment and gender education for both male and female researchers in the early to middle stages of their career. The project will also focus on measures to balance work and family life, also aimed at both men and women. The project will also design a set of key professional profiles that can act as experts on gender equality. These roles are meant to complement existing roles, for example Gender Equality Managers, and Gender Database Manager.

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About MINDtheGEPs

MINDtheGEPs (Modifying Institutions by Developing Gender Equality Plans G.A. 101006543) is coordinated by The Research Center for Women's and Gender Studies (CISRDe) at the University of Turin, Italy (CISRDe). The project is led by Prof Cristina Solera (sociologist at the Department of Culture, Politics and Society, and member of CIRSDe). The project is funded by the EU research and innovation framework program Horizon 2020’s Science with and for Society funding scheme. The project has been awarded almost 3 million Euro and will run for a total of 48 months. In addition to the multidisciplinary team, an Advisory Board composed of relevant political authorities and internationally recognized experts will contribute to creating significant change in the institutions that are of the project, and catalyse change in society around them.

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