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

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Integration of the gender dimension in research programmes and contents

by Federico Zemborain - published on , updated on

Gender research has shed light on the existing inequalities between men and women in science and in different areas of society and demonstrated the existence of a global and structural system that produces inequalities and a hierarchical organisation between men and women, including in higher education and research institutions.

Years of action and research have also showed that the quality of science, research and innovation depends on the research community’s ability to be responsive to the needs of society as a whole. A precondition to meet this challenge is not only that the science community recruits and retains among the best people – including women – but also that its research content and impact reflect the realities, needs and expectations of both the women and men.

Today, many research institutions in Europe have long been developing gender studies in various fields of the social sciences and humanities (SSH) and, as the EC-funded meta-analysis has recently shown, have developed specific research on gender in science. And yet, few national programmes, agencies or research institutions fund actual research projects promoting the integration of the gender perspective in non-SSH fields, although it is becoming a requirement for more and more Journals and a cross-cutting factor in Horizon 2020, the new EU funding scheme for research and innovation.

Not including the gender dimension into the methodology, content and impact assessment of research can lead to poor science and missed opportunities. Not only does gender in research ensure “that any assumptions made or issues addressed are based on the best available evidence and information” but it also – and this is a crucial argument for the development of an innovation European Research Area within a global context – ensures that “the concepts and theories adopted do not blind researchers to important aspects of sex and gender that could be a fertile source for innovation.”