Modifying Institution by Developing Gender Equality Plans (MINDtheGEPs)
A new European research project, awarded with almost 3 million Euro and starting on 1st February 2021, 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.
The 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.
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 MINDtheGEPs consortium to develop structures to collaborate with scientific journals and publishers on gender differences.
A number of workshops on empowerment and gender education for both male and female researchers in the early to middle stages of their career will be organised. Measures to balance work and family life, aimed at both men and women, will be focused on. A set of key professional profiles, for example Gender Equality Managers, and Gender Database Manager, that can act as experts on gender equality will be designed and implemented, to complement existing roles.
MINDtheGEPs in the starting blocks
The kick-off meeting of MINDtheGEPs project was held online from 4 to 5 March 2021. During the first day, after a welcome address by the rector of Turin University (project leader and host of the meeting), a session on Gender Transformations in the Academy: Using Gender Structure Theory to Identify Challenges and Solutions was held. Barbara J. Risman from the University of Illinois gave a keynote talk. https://media.unito.it/?section=OnDemand&searchtext=Fulvio Esposito, Italian Representative in the European ResearchArea Committee and MINDtheGEPs Advisory Board, and Pauline Stoltz, Aalborg, University and At-Gender Board Member, were discussant in the session. On the following day, the project partners and two representatives of the EC, i.e. the project officer Christian Niehaus and the policy officer Athanasia Moungou, met again to speak about the project workpackages, dwelling upon the activities and achievements of the first year. On the following day, the project partners and two representatives of the EC, i.e. the project officer Chris Niehaus and the policy officer Athanasia Moungou, met again to speak about the project work packages, dwelling upon the activities and achievements of the first year. A wide activity of data collection and research in the partner institutions expected to implement a gender action plan (GEP) is planned to provide an initial assessment of the ongoing situation of gender equality in each of them. This will allow to design seven tailored GEPs to be implemented from the project second year onward. The K&I team, in charge of the monitoring and evaluation of the GEPs, will support in this phase the effort of data gathering and interpretation. Besides Giovanna Declich, team coordinator, Claudia Colonnello, Federico Marta and Giovanna Murari, team members, participated in the kick off meeting.