Gender Equality Policies in research and academia
3 September 2020, 9:00-11:00
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Convenors: Marta Warat1, Ewa Krzaklewska2, Paulina Sekuła3
1,2,3ACT project; Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Institute of Sociology, ul.Grodzka 52, 31-044 Kraków
Marta Warat, Ewa Krzaklewska, Paulina Sekuła, Lagging behind or refusing for a good reason? Gender equality measures in Central and Eastern European higher education and research institutions
Gender inequality in Research Performing Organizations (RPOs) and Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) persists despite the European Commission’s initiatives to bring gender equality measures into their governance system. Close scrutiny of research and higher education sector shows that the decision-making processes remain male-dominated, barriers to the recruitment and career progression of female scientists persist, gender imbalance among researchers remains and women are more often offered “precarious employment” (She Figures 2018, Huyer 2016). Simultaneously, gender dimension is not sufficiently incorporated into research and teaching programmes (e.g. Verge et al. 2018). To overcome gender gaps in the abovementioned areas and accelerate the progress towards gender equality, the implementation of Gender Equality Plans (GEPs) have been promoted (She Figures 2018; Reidl et al 2019). This development remains uneven across Europe: while the gender inequality has been identified in both Western and Central and Eastern European institutions, the uptake of institutional change that could potentially tackle this problem is significantly lower in the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and only recently has started increasing (EIGE 2016). This presentation will contribute to the ongoing debates on gender equality policies in RPOs and HEIs. Based on the the results of online survey conducted within the H2020 ACT project, we will examine the current status of gender equality policies, focusing particularly on Gender Equality Plans, in higher education institutions in CEE. We will address the following questions: Which measures have been implemented to advance gender equality? Are GEPs a common tool in HEIs and RPOs in CEE region? Which areas of gender inequality do they address? Furthermore, we will analyze the opportunities, chances but also challenges for GEPs development. To understand why particular measures work or fail to bring success in advancing gender equality, we will identify both: internal and external factors. Next, we will map the existing collaboration between institutions located in CEE and other higher education and research institutions all over Europe.
Lidia Zakowska, Anton Pashkevich, Zofia Bryniarska, Gender equity needs in transportation education, research and engineering policies
The concept of equity in transportation is still underestimated both in social and in engineering research. However, understanding the current challenges of mobility and transport policy, gender equity becomes increasingly important in practice. While issues of equity are poorly represented in analyses and evaluation of mobility, land-use planning and development plans of transport systems, it is a growing need for academic research and education toward sustainable transportation in Poland and in EU.
Gender Equality Plans (GEP) may offer sustainable and fair policies and solutions, when adapted to the mobility needs of diverse societies living and working in the dense urban structures today.
The implementation of GEP in research and teaching activities could be divided into three main phases. The first step leads to understanding needs and making analysis of study plans, research topics and available methodology. The second stage is a process which requires direct and close cooperation of mobility and social research with teaching stuff, aiming at consensus on accepted desired declared problems and ideas. The final third stage is dedicated to elaboration of GEP general implementation strategy, with respect to all parties needs, university specifics, supporting materials as well as promotion actions.
Claudia Schredl, Essentialist Gender Beliefs and Their Role as Barrier towards Institutional Change in Research Performing Organizations in STEM
Despite the increasing use of institutional gender equality plans in European higher education institutions, the underrepresentation of women continues to characterize the STEM field (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). One crucial hindering factor influencing the impact of gender equality plans are prevailing gender stereotypes.
Without acknowledging the role of gender stereotypes in women’s chronic underrepresentation in STEM, gender inequalities are interpreted as the result of essential differences between women and men rather than of structural discrimination. Essentialist gender beliefs, claiming women and men as being ‘naturally’ different in preferences and traits, are repeatedly brought forward to justify gender inequalities (Brescoll, Uhlmann, & Newman, 2013). Humbert, Kelan, and van den Brink (2019) also point out that essentialist gender beliefs can lead to a decrease in the support of gender equality measures. Organizational cultures that promote meritocratic values seem to be especially vulnerable in this regard. However, there is little research on the link between essentialist gender beliefs and support of gender equality measures in higher education institutions.
With the ambition to contribute to a more nuanced understanding of the slow pace of institutional change towards gender equality in the STEM field, this paper analyses the mechanisms through which essentialist gender beliefs limit the transformative effect of gender equality plans in research performing organizations (RPOs). Specifically, this study seeks to answer the question whether essentialist gender beliefs lower the acceptance and thereby the impact of gender equality measures in RPOs in the STEM field. In addition, the paper examines the relationship between essentialist gender beliefs and gender equality approaches focusing on positive discrimination.
This study draws upon the results from a series of interviews with university management, gender activists, and researchers carried out in four tech universities in the context of the Horizon 2020-funded project "Gender Equality in Engineering through Communication and Commitment" (GEECCO). The paper contributes to a better understanding of resistances against gender equality measures in research performing organizations by showing how factors like essentialist gender beliefs curb the impacts of work against gender inequalities in STEM.
Brescoll, V. L., Uhlmann, E. L., & Newman, G. E. (2013). The effects of system-justifying motives on endorsement of essentialist explanations for gender differences. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 105(6), 891–908. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0034701
Humbert, A. L., Kelan, E. K., & van den Brink, M. (2019). The Perils of Gender Beliefs for Men Leaders as Change Agents for Gender Equality. European Management Review, 16(4), 1143–1157. https://doi.org/10.1111/emre.12325
Mackay, F., Kenny, M., & Chappell, L. (2011). New Institutionalism Through a Gender Lens: Towards a Feminist Institutionalism? International Political Science Review, 31(5), 573–588. https://doi.org/10.1177/0192512110388788
Magdalena Żadkowska, Natasza Kosakowska-Berezecka, The role of awards in STEMM, do we need the special prize for women?
Women hold less than 25% of the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degrees (Beede et al., 2011) and what is more, signiﬁcantly less women than men complete STEM degrees, with the discrepancies increasing through advanced degrees (Hill, Corbett, & St. Rose, 2010; National Science Foundation, 2009; Settles, Cortina, Buchanan, & Miner, 2013). This discrepancy is harmful to both the development of the given ﬁeld, as it is lacking the contributions of half of the population, but also for women, who are lacking ﬁnancial as well as many other opportunities for their scientific development. As STEMM fields seem to be mainly male-oriented, it is thus evident that the diversity among scholars is not present enough. It is important to note that diversity has shown to be robustly beneﬁcial for many settings, leading to better performance and, in turn, financial outcomes (Herring, 2009; Kochan et al., 2003). The goal of the presentation is to share outcomes of the study done among 60 Polish women (out of 100) who were awarded the Fondation L’Oreal Women in Science scholarship. We have conducted anonymized questionnaire study and focus group interviews. The main research questions based on triggers that make the scientific career smoother and more planned and barriers that are related not only to gender issues. We will provide data on the sense of success, career barriers, belonging to the world of science and the importance of diversity. We will try to introduce the strategies of women in STEMM sciences, which are a guarantee of success, but do not always support other women. The report of the study is to be published in September 2020.