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Addressing Gender Inequalities in Academia: challenges and strategies to overcome resistances

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Addressing Gender Inequalities in Academia: challenges and strategies to overcome resistances

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Presentation held by Mónica Lopes (University of Coimbra) during the First Annual Conference On Recruitment, Retention And Career Progression Of Women In Academia, Gearing roles project, University of Lisbon, 27 November 2019.

Presentation held by Mónica Lopes (University of Coimbra) during the First Annual Conference On Recruitment, Retention And Career Progression Of Women In Academia, Gearing roles project, University of Lisbon, 27 November 2019.

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Addressing Gender Inequalities in Academia: challenges and strategies to overcome resistances

  1. 1. Mónica Lopes (monica@ces.uc.pt) SUPERA Project, CES, University of Coimbra First GEARING Roles Annual Conference On Recruitment, Retention and Career Progression of Women in Academia Round table I Addressing Gender Inequalities in Academia: challenges and strategies overcome resistances Lisbon, november 27th 2019
  2. 2. The SUPERA project
  3. 3. Main goal To address gender inequalities in research and academia through the implementation of 6 Gender Equality Plans (GEPs) in two types of organisations from Southern and Central Europe: 4 RPO and 2 RFO
  4. 4. Consortium Implementi ng partners (RPOs) • Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM) • Università Degly Studi di Cagliari (UNICA) (Itália) • Central European University (CEU) (Hungria) • Universidade de Coimbra (UC)/Centro de Estudos Sociais (CES) Implementi ng partners (RFOs) • Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades (ES) (MICIU) • Regione Autonoma della Sardegna (RAS) Supporting partners • YW Yellow Window (Bélgica) • SCIENCES PO Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques (França)
  5. 5. UC TEAM Core team: ·Mónica Lopes (Coord.) (CES) ·Clara Almeida Santos (FLUC) · João Paulo Dias (CES) · Francisco Rodrigues (CES) · Fernando Fontes (CES) · Lina Coelho (CES-FEUC) · Virgínia Ferreira (CES-FEUC) Rectoral team in charge of SUPERA: ·Vice-reitor António Figueiredo ·Vice-reitora Cristina Albuquerque
  6. 6. FLUC – Adriana Bebiano FDUC – Ana Margarida Gaudêncio FMUC – Teresa Almeida Santos FCTUC – Bruno Trindade; Paula Veríssimo FFUC – Maria Manuel Cruz Silva FEUC – Luís Dias FPCE – Cristina Vieira FCDEF – Beatriz Gomes CA – Alice Geirinhas IIIUC – Jorge Noro ICNAS – Sónia Pires UC TEAM Gender focal points (Organic Units)
  7. 7. Overall approach SUPERA has created a holistic methodology following transformation design procedures and based on a co‐creation approach
  8. 8. Overall approach • Gender equality Hub, involving all relevant stakeholders (on a voluntary basis) in day‐to‐day implementation of GEPs • Fab labs - ad‐hoc, short‐lived thematic structures bringing together internal and external gender experts and stakeholders Partici- patory and collabo- rative co‐crea- tion metho- dologies Create engagement Develop smart solutions adapted to different contexts Gathering and securing full commitment
  9. 9. Overall approach 3 main phases: Start june 2018 End may 2022 Planning (until may 2019) • In‐depth organisational gender analysis • Gender mainstreaming strategy and working plan Implementation (june 2019 - 2022) GEP design and implementation targeting key action areas. Evaluation (until may 2022) Process and progress followed upon and assessed through qualitative indicators and quantitative targets
  10. 10. GEP Implementation status Draft framework plan (with catalogue of actions) presented and discussed with the rectoral team • GE Hub involved in providing inputs for GEP design • The current proposal features a total of 45 measures, distributed along 4 thematic areas • GEP actions with balance presence of all type of actions: • (1) awareness raising/capacity building/communication measures; • (2) Gender specific and structural measures • (3) Research and other analytical work
  11. 11. Challenges/Materialized Resistances “Mirage of Equality”: extended perception of equality as something already achieved (not to be priorised anymore); general perception that the state of play of the institution in terms of gender equality is broadly balanced MAIN MANIFESTATIONS: Indifference; Denial of the problem (inequalities)/ minimization of facts: questioning the methodology and/or validity of diagnosis results GENDERAWARENESS Experimented/ Envisaged solutions  Gender analysis: Presenting research-based facts and figures (thorough/sound organisational assessment)  Robust rationale for the relevance of GE work: identifying the problem - showing research on costs and harmful effects of gender stereotypes and discrimination  Present ethical arguments (fairness and democracy)
  12. 12. Challenges/Materialized Resistances Strong belief in "meritocracy" and "excellence" as a guarantee of "Equal opportunities for all" = >> Attribution of inequalities to cultural/social factors and/or personal choices beyond the realm of the institutional action Lack of awareness on how institutional mechanisms can be discriminatory. They are assumed to be neutral and objective. MAIN MANIFESTATIONS: Indifference; Denial of the need/relevance of institutional action; Low interest in project events; lack of commitment to gender equality work GENDERAWARENESS Experimented/ Envisaged solutions  Framing merit and excellence as an ambiguous social construct that is gender biased  Highlighting structural and institutional barriers to gender equality: (e.g., presenting research evidence on unconscious bias)  Early individual coaching sessions with key stakeholders to raise gender awareness
  13. 13. Challenges/Materialized Resistances Limited resources: Lack of time and staff (delays in accessing administrative data and holding meetings / interviews); Financial constrains  Low priority/ lack of benefits and rewards for making the change (top managers do not consider gender as one of their priorities) Perception of projects as an extra- burden MAIN MANIFESTATIONS: Low engagement in GE work; Slow Improvement; tiredness; less access to institutional resources RESOURCES Experimented/ Envisaged solutions  Ensuring leadership endorsement and engagement  Pushing the inclusion of gender dimension in already existent processes and practices  Promoting the use of gender lens in the day-to- day work  Identifying widows of opportunity (e.g. strategic framing process)
  14. 14. Challenges/Materialized Resistances Cultures, structures, and power plays inhibiting the affirmation of the GE agenda Reluctance to accept responsibility: lack of mandate / power to impose change (faculties autonomy, academic freedom in course and research design) Formal/hierarchical setting; Centralised/burocratic decision- making MAIN MANIFESTATIONS: tendency to formulate vague objectives and non- binding "orientations”; delayed decision- making/work; feeling hopeless; inertia, making procedures more difficult ORGANIZATIONALCULTURE/STRUCTURES Experimented/ Envisaged solutions  Framing GE actions to address widely recognized organizational challenges  Connecting GE to institutional strategies and agenda  Supporting internal initiatives (acting as centre of expertise on GE)  Decentralization of the change process (nomination of GE focal points)  Presenting good practice cases and brainstorm on other innovative action (Fab labs).
  15. 15. Challenges/Materialized Resistances Changes in governing bodies: Interruption in decision making during the transition period; Changing priorities and management agenda; Doubling efforts to engage and support new leadership MAIN MANIFESTATIONS: delayed decision-making/work; less access to institutional resources. POLITICALTURMOIL Experimented/ Envisaged solutions  Extra efforts to secure endorsement and support of new leadership: (e.g., individual meetings with all the candidates requesting their commitment to the GE agenda)  Involvement of all organiz. layers of staff to secure long term commitment (GE Hub)  Using legal, political and contextual arguments  Push for the integration of the GP in candidates' programmes
  16. 16. KEY TO SUCCESS Never give up and carry on! Don’t forget that change needs time
  17. 17. www.superaproject.eu monica@ces.uc.pt Tel: +351 239 855 570 @superaproject #SuperaH2020 This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 787829.

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