10 Recommended Resources on Gender in Research Policies

The integration of sex and gender analysis in research content, as well as gender balance among researchers are integral aspects of gender equality in research and innovation. In the following post we are highlighting a number of useful resources on gender in research policies and on the gender dimension in research content. These include resources that represent an overview of the landscape of research policies in Europe, and examples of practical measures, guidelines and advice papers for the integration of the gender dimension in research.

The presented resources are far from being exhaustive – they should rather be understood as an invitation to join GenPORT and contribute to the growing body of resources on gender in research policies.

The Landscape of Research Policies in Europe

1. REPORT: Gender Equality Policies in Public Research

This report on “Gender Equality Policies in Public Research” is based on a survey among the members of the Helsinki Group, the Commission’s advisory group on gender, research and innovation. It gives a detailed analysis of the current state-of-play of EU Member States’ and associated countries’ initiatives for promoting gender equality in research and innovation. It comes at a critical review point along the path towards a fully operational European Research Area (ERA).

2. RESEARCH SYNTHESIS: Policy Setting and Implemetation - GenPORT Research Synthesis 5

This research synthesis highlights the key steering strategies used by Member States for institutional change and those in place in three main areas: recruitment, promotion and re-entry; the gender dimension in research content; and gender balance in decision-making. It will attempt to identify the types of steering mechanisms used in each of these areas and the presence of these policies throughout different Member States.

3. REPORT: GenPORT Analysis of Policy Environments Report

The purpose of this report by the GenPORT consortium is to summarise the key ‘gender and science’ policy making infrastructures in Europe by reviewing the role of policy actors within the national science policy contexts, the issues that policies at different levels are addressing, and the key mechanisms by which they are doing so. The overall aim of the report is to communicate the issues of ‘gender and science’ and their policy contexts to future users of genderportal.eu, including policy makers. Thus, the focus of this report is on the gender and science domains and only tangentially broaches the issue of other policy domains that flank the gender and science domains (e.g. the domain of general gender equality or gender equality in national labour markets).

4. VIDEO: Prof. Dr. Mieke Verloo on Gender Equality Policies in Europe

In this video, which is part of the GenPORT Video Interviews Series on gender and science, Prof. Dr. Mieke Verloo, Professor of Comparative Politics and Inequality Issues of Radboud University in the Netherlands, talks about how gender equality policies affect people's lives, and the main impact of gender equality policies in science.

Examples of the Implementation of Research Policies and Practical Measures

5. ADVICE PAPER: For a Better integration of the gender dimension in Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2016-2017

This paper was prepared by the Advisory Group on Gender (AG Gender) for use during the preparation of the Horizon 2020 work programmes. The mandate of the AG Gender is to provide advice to other AGs and to the Commission on the integration of the gender dimension in research content pertaining to all activities where it is relevant, as well as its possible interactions with other crosscutting issues.

6. RESEARCH GUIDELINES: Consideration of Sex as a Biological Variable in NIH-funded Research

Women now account for roughly half of all participants in National Institutes of Health (NIH)-supported clinical research, which is subject to NIH's Policy on the Inclusion of Women in Clinical Research. However, more often than not, basic and preclinical biomedical research has focused on male animals and cells. An over-reliance on male animals and cells may obscure understanding of key sex influences on health processes and outcomes. 

These research guidelines provide relevant information on how to develop gender-sensitive research questions and study designs. Adequate consideration of both sexes in experiments and disaggregation of data by sex allows for sex-based comparisons and may inform clinical interventions. Appropriate analysis and transparent reporting of data by sex may therefore enhance the rigor and applicability of preclinical biomedical research.

7. STRATEGY PLAN: Gender balance and gender perspectives in research and innovation: Policy for the Research Council of Norway 2013 – 2017

This strategy plan highlights how the the Research Council of Norway is responsible for research-policy-related activites to analyse and develop women's and gender research as well as gender equality in research. Good welfare schemes, a stated public gender equality policy and a high degree of gender equality in many areas of society all indicate that there should be satisfactory gender balance in Norwegian research. Norway is ranked at the top in Europe with regard to the proportion of female board members and leaders of institutions. Yet Norway lies slightly below the European average with regard to the overall proportion of women in research and is in tenth place in terms of the proportion of women in senior-level positions.

8. RESEARCH GUIDELINES: Sex, Gender and Health Research Guide: A Tool for CIHR Applicants

One helpful tool for applicants and peer reviewers is the Sex, Gender and Health Research Guide: A Tool for CIHR Applicants. This document includes CIHR's definitions for gender and sex-based analysis and more information on applying gender and sex-based analysis to research proposals.

As indicated in the Grants and Awards Guide, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) expects that all research applicants will integrate sex and gender into their research designs when appropriate. CIHR has implemented a requirement that all grant applicants respond to mandatory questions about whether their research designs include sex and gender. These questions are part of CIHR's wider strategy for meeting the requirements of a 2009 federal government (Health Portfolio) policy on sex and gender based analysis.

9. PROJECT: GENDER-NET (Promoting gender equality in research institutions and the integration of the gender dimension in research contents)

GENDER-NET is a pilot transnational research policy initiative funded by the European Commission under the Science in Society work programme of the seventh Framework Programme (FP7), designed to address the common challenges still facing European research institutions in achieving gender equality in research and innovation. These challenges concern the persistent barriers and constraints to the recruitment, advancement and mobility of women in the European scientific system, the lack of women in decision-making, and the limited integration of the gender dimension in research programmes and content. GENDER-NET is the first European Research Area Network (ERA-NET) to be dedicated to the promotion of gender equality through structural change in research institutions, as well as to the integration of sex and gender analysis in research.

10. ACTION PLAN: Irish Research Council Gender Strategy & Action Plan 2013 - 2020

While there are research projects in which sex and/or gender may not be relevant in terms of the research content, it is well established that, where relevant, not integrating sex and gender analysis into the design, implementation, evaluation and dissemination of the research can lead to poor results and missed opportunities. The Irish Research Council Gender Strategy and Action Plan address these two main issues in regard to gender in research. The strategy and action plan include both sexes, and aims to provide equal outcomes to both men and women so that Ireland can attract and retain the most talented, creative and innovative researchers thereby maximising its collective research intelligence.


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