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

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Structural and organisational barriers in research and academic institutions

by Federico Zemborain - published on , updated on

In most research organisations and universities, pervasive cultural and organisational factors continue to affect the participation and advancement of women, which can only be addressed through systemic, structural change. The 2011 European Commission report, “Structural change in research institutions: Enhancing excellence, gender equality and efficiency in research and innovation” [1], identified five main sets of problems faced by research institutions:

  1. Opaqueness in decision-making despite significant progress in Europe, as lack of transparency continues to affect structures and processes;
  2. Institutional practices which can appear to be neutral but actually inhibit career progression for women, often despite good intentions and a commitment to fairness;
  3. Unconscious gender bias, which affects the assessment of excellence;
  4. Wasted opportunities and cognitive errors in knowledge, technology and innovation when gender is not taken into account;
  5. Persistent gender pay gap and gendered organisation of research activities and workplace, which make it difficult for women to prosper and balance work and personal/family life.

[1] European Commission (2011).”Structural change in research institutions: Enhancing excellence, gender equality and efficiency in research and innovation” :link: http://ec.europa.eu/research/science-society/document_library/pdf_06/structural-changes-final-report_en.pdf