Promoting gender equality in research institutions and integration of the gender dimension in research content

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MESS (Slovenia)

by Federico Zemborain - published on , updated on

MESS (Slovenia)

The Science Division at the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport (MESS) is responsible for implementing science policies, for preparing acts and instruments in the area of research activities, for analysing and monitoring research activities, and for cooperating with the European Union in the field of its responsibilities. Most of the funding for research activities is implemented through the Slovenian Research Agency (SRA). Until today MESS, programme owner, participated in many European projects and initiatives like ERA-ETS and JPIs.

MESS, through its representative Andreja Umek Venturini, is an active member of the Helsinki Group on women and science from its beginnings. Encouraged by the Helsinki group, the Ministry has established in 2001 a National Committee on women in science as an advisory body to the Ministry. Committee is active in public awareness-raising, promotion of active participation of women in decision-making, monitoring the strategic documents, monitoring and analysing the position of women in science, and dealing with language issues regarding the use of expressions for both genders. Committee is closely cooperating with the Slovenian Research Agency (SRA) as the main funding organisation and with the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia which provides gender sensitive statistical data (input to She Figures).

In the first half of 2008, Slovenian Presidency to EU included family-friendly scientific careers among research priorities. The Ministry responsible for science organised a workshop on the topic which resulted in the Competitivity Council’s conclusions on 30 May 2008. Good example of gender mainstreaming is the Young Researchers programme for post-graduate students. Funds are directly allocated from SRA to the research institutions, where the post-graduate students are regularly employed on a fix-term basis. It is therefore more than a fellowship since the social/health security is associated with this status. The number of women particularly increased after the introduction of the paid and excluded paternity leave of absence according to general legislation. Another good example is the SRA’s Regulation on operation of permanent and temporary expert bodies for research disciplines stating that each body should be composed of at least one third of each gender, an exception being made for the field of technical sciences one fifth.

The National research and innovation strategy of Slovenia 2011-2020 was adopted. In the section on strengthening human resources, Measure 34 is planned, which foresees adoption of an action plan for improving career opportunities for researchers in all career periods and for ensuring the gender equality principle. Participation of MESS in the GENDER-NET is a most appropriate way to implement gender equality through structural change via Measure 34 in Slovenia.

Gender dimension is not specifically encouraged in research projects and programmes. Nevertheless in the field of social sciences and humanities MESS has currently 4 research programmes dealing with gender.

Tasks in GENDER-NET:
- Participant to all WPs

Team member:

Doroteja Zlobec
Senior Advisor Directorate for Science

See online : Ministry of Education, Science and Sport (MESS) – Slovenia


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