Main Discussion Thread: Recruitment & Promotion of Women Researchers

This is the main discussion thread. If you haven't done so already, you need to logon with your GenPORT account (or register if you do not have an account) and join the discussion group.

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3. Main discussion is scheduled for Tuesday 13th of December 2016 from 14:00 to 16:30 Central European Time. However, posts are welcome after that date as well.

4. Please introduce yourself shortly in your first post.

 

Comments

elpark's picture

Hi everyone, here is my contribution and initial post:

Austria continuously scores low on international gender equality indices. For example, the latest PwC Women in Work Index 2015 – in line with Eurostat figures – showed a gender pay gap of 23% and only 65% of women working full time, placing Austria at rank 21 of 33 OECD countries. Also, the 2016 WEF Gender Gap Report placed Austria at rank 52 of 144, also stressing the large gender pay gap and the relatively low participation of women in the labour market (working women: 54%).

At Austrian universities 40% of all academic employees were women in 2015, however, there is a hierarchical decline in female participation with 33% of the newly established tenure-track positions and still only 23% of ordinary professorships belonging to women. On the other hand, women represent around 47% of predoctoral employees and around 42% of doctoral degrees. Apparently, it is the postdoctoral phase and onwards where women slowly disappear. These numbers show what we have also established in various interviews with academics and university management (ESF project Euroac): The most important and difficult career-building years in academe, i.e. the strenuous postdoctoral phase is a bottle-neck which seems to filter out women as it mostly occurs in the thirties to mid thirties and coincides with the childbearing years and the creation of families.

I am – and it is important for me to share this more personal information in this forum – a PhD candidate who one and a half years ago welcomed twins. I have previously also had an interest in the gender perspective; looking back, I must admit, however, that at times I did not fully comprehend the problems associated with childcare-duties, even covertly belittling the constant „excuses“ of colleagues with small children when not handing in a paper on time etc. My understanding of the immense pressures (mostly) women face has changed, to say the least: It is - in my personal view - next to impossible to raise small children at home and at the same time pursue an academic career or advanced degree. In Austria, in the province of Lower Austria where I reside in a suburb of Vienna, childcare for children under the age of three is not free, on the contrary, it amounts to 800 Euro a month for two children three days per week,thus ultimately forcing many, if not most mothers (or fathers) to stay at home or – in the best case - to work part-time. An academic career, however, is hard to pull off part-time. Iresume that while adequate, affordable access to childcare is fundamental in any career and a cornerstone for establishing gender equality, it is even more so important for academic careers, where concentration and deep thought are pivotal. It – or rather the lack of it- is also the primary reason for the current malaise regarding gender equality in Austria. I believe other measures – specific support programmes, trainings or mentoring programmes targeted at women – are valuable, but do not touch upon or solve this most fundamental social problem.

joerg's picture

Hi Elke, welcome and thanks for opening post! For me, your description of the situation in Austria raises the important question regarding awareness raising in general, not just in relation to the different care responsibilities between women and men but also to the impact this has on "excellence" and "merit". Especially when seen from the perspective of recruitment and hiring of researchers based on their track record (meaning publications, raised funding, patents, etc.) these aspects are often not considered. I think there has been some progress on this, as when the tenure clock is halted for a certain amoung of time, but in general, the discussion of scientific excellence is rarely aware of the impact of care responsibilities on scientific careers! An important question for me is: how do we have to communicate the impact of care responsibilities to researchers in general, and specifically to evaluation and selection committees in their definition of excellence! Maybe there are good examples and initiatives not only from Austria but also from other countries how this could be addressed?

Lieketseng's picture

Hi Joerg, I think the only way to address this issue is for countries to legislate for Gender Mainstreaming so that it can be enforced adequately. That will then enable different structures that fail to mainstream gender to be held accountable and be sanctioned. another way is to put in place mechanisms that attract women research, by making incentives more attractive to attract them and retain them. For example, allowing flexibility around women's schedule so that they can balance their time between work and their care work, also to improve the gender sensitive environment in a work place. Mentoring is another important aspect especially for the women who are re-entering the work space after maternity responsibilities. This mentor-ship programme can assist to elevate women's position in terms of expertise to that of their male counterparts.

elpark's picture

Hi Joerg, as a positive example, I can quote the Austrian Science Fund's programmes targeted at female researchers. (Elise Richter and Herta Firnberg, see my post in reply to a question by Lidia Arroyo below). Both - highly esteemed, "excellent" - programmes do no longer include an age limit for application, which was often difficult to reach when accounting for childcare-duties.
However, as a practical illustration of said difficulties, I will now have to leave the discussion to pick up my kids. Best wishes, Elke

joerg's picture

Welcome to the start of our e-Discussion. I'm really happy to welcome all invited experts and participants to this event on GenPORT.

My name is Jörg Müller and I'm working at the Open University of Catalonia as a gender researcher. I'm coordinating the work for GenPORT, which is a FP7 joint effort between six European partners (see footer of this page) to build a gateway to gender and science resources.

During this 2,5 hours, we'll have the opportunity to discuss issues related to the recruitment and promotion of women researchers.

It would be great if you could introduce yourself shortly to the discussion. Please note that you can delete and edit your own posts. Your contributions will be visible to anybody on the Internet, but only registered users can comment. Feel free to post any question or comment either as a new post or in reply to an existing post. The main discussion is supposed to happen now, between 14:00 and 16:30 Central European Time. However, this thread will stay open beyond that, so you can continue the exchange, today, tomorrow and beyond.

Looking forward to all your contributions,

joerg

 

 

Tatiana Fumasoli's picture

Short bio
I am an organizational theorist who studies higher education, research policy, academic profession and careers. 2007-2011 I was a member of the Gender Group at University of Lugano, Switzerland. The main goal of it was the improvement of academic career paths so that more women could be recruited, promoted, and become academic leaders. In the last years I have worked with my colleagues Bojana Culum (University of Rijeka, Croatia) and Terhi Nokkala (University of Jyväskylä) on early career women in academia. Our main focus has been how female academics understand and construct their social capital to progress in their careers.

Insight on design of efficient measures
The Flagship project (funded by Research Council of Norway) and the EuroAC project (European Science Foundation) have shown that recruitment and promotion are complex processes that need to be thoroughly understood in order to be improved: on the one hand, there are several (and increasing) stages (definition of position, call, selection rounds, interviews and trial lectures, research seminars), on the other hand, multiple actors besides academics are contributing to the final decision (the department, research group, faculty, boards, scientific committee, equality office….). This of course depends from country, university, discipline. If a gender component is not taken into account in every aspect, the risk for women to fall out at some specific phase in the process are higher than for men. This also means that not necessarily all actors involved need to be convinced to share the same ideals on gender equality, but rather that gender-friendly mechanisms can inform and control the whole process.

Effectiveness and sustainability
European policies, national legal frameworks, institutional strategies and quality control are central measures to enhance equal opportunities in science. However, in order to make such measures sustainable, support and development of individual female academics is necessary. Our research on professional networking among early career female academics has shown that junior women tend to consider inappropriate to engage with professional networking, even if it might be useful for the research they are conducting. Our findings seem to indicate that women need (more) time to be socialized into academic practices (like networking for research projects), and even then, they don’t feel completely comfortable. All in all many female academics could be “trained” into these social competences and become more effective and happier in their work. Targeted mentoring programs for PhD students and postdocs can contribute to this, as well as presentation of role models and specific academic development courses.

Lieketseng's picture

Thank you for this inside because this seem to be the trend in my own country (South Africa) as most women in academia fail to break the glass ceiling in terms of producing adequate publications for them to earn Professorship. Research indicate that this is because the academia space is not taking into consideration the care work that most women do outside of their academic work, hence most women decide to withdraw from academia. Again there are stereotypes that are attached to women who are achieving academically, especially in the field of Science, Engineering and Technology, as they are labeled not feminine and them not conforming to their ascribed femininity role as expected by the society.

Research further indicate that the field of SET is gendered and that in such field, women are mostly targeted to do administrative work. Women also are found to be more concentrated in Health Sciences, Physiotherapy, Chemical Engineering, Energy Regulation,Occupational Therapies etc. Fields such as Mining Sector, Technological Side of Nuclear Science and Construction are labeled as "dirty" and not fields for women. This few comments are indicative of the barriers that prevent the advancement of women in academia and in the field of SET.

Rachel Palmén's picture

Hi Lieketseng,   

Do you know of any research looking at stereotypes and the glass ceiling in academia in South Africa? Iwas just thinking that it would be great to upload some resources looking at this specifically in South Africa....

thanks! 

Lieketseng's picture

Hi Rachel, a lot of work on glass ceiling has been done on Media by an organisation called Gender Links, you can google them and get to their website. You can also google a chapter that I co-author which is on the study that we conducted on Attracting and Retaining of Women in Science, Engineering and Technology, the name of the Article is "Carrots or Sticks? A Study on Incentives to Attract and Retain Women in Science Engineering and Technology in South Africa" google this tittle it will take you to the article. I focuses on Universities and Science based Organisations, it might give you what you are looking for.

Rachel Palmén's picture

Thanks! That's great! We'll upload it onto GenPORT! 

arroyo_lidia's picture

Dear Tatiana, 

Thank you very much for sharing the main findings of your research in this area. If you have any publication or report on-line about tour work it would be excellent to upload these on GenPORT.

I find very groundbreaking your results with regard to the networking in the case of young women in academia. I wonder how we can encourge women to be involved in this kind of academic practice and develope this social competence? 

Here we can find this guide, Women's Networks in Academia: Practical Advice for Positive Impact, that have the goal to provide practical tips and recommendations on how to set up and maintain a vibrant, strategically relevant women’s network in academia. Do you know more ideas and suggestion to strengthen networks to promote gender equality in academia?

 

Lidia

Rachel Palmén's picture

I form part of the GenPORT consortium.  I coordinated the user needs assessment for the portal in order to make sure that the portal was co-designed with relevant stakeholders. I was also responsible for coordinating the production of six research syntheses and twenty-five policy briefs.  

We have to submit the final version of these policy briefs to the European Commission in April and we would really like to use the opportunity of this online discussion to enrich the policy briefs   focusing on the recruitment and promotion of women researchers. 

Lieketseng's picture

Good Afternoon colleagues, my name is Lieketseng Mohlakoana-Motopi, I am a South African and Work for the Commission for Gender Equality which is an independent Constitutional Body mandated to ensure promotion for gender equality in the country. I work as a Researcher and our work is mostly centred on monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of gender related frameworks by government and private sector organisation, to ensure compliance to the international standards as a state party to several international and regional instruments that are geared towards promotion of gender equality in the country.

PeggyLayne's picture

Good morning from the United States. I provide support for faculty recruitment, development, and retention programs at Virginia Tech, a research intensive university with one of the largest engineering colleges in the country. In 2003, Virginia Tech received a grant from the US National Science Foundation ADVANCE program to increase the participation and success of women in academic science and engineering careers. With support from the university leadership, we reviewed policies and procedures regarding faculty hiring, family accommodations, and leadership development. As part of the initiative, we collected data on the numbers of women in various roles at the university and surveyed male and female faculty about their perceptions of equity in the workplace.

Following completion of the grant, the university continues to support many of the programs developed, and I continue to monitor and report on progress to university leadership. While we have had some success with hiring and retaining more women faculty and promoting more women into leadership roles, progress is still slow.

Prior to joining Virginia Tech as the administrator responsible for implementing the ADVANCE program, I worked as an environmental engineer in the private sector and served as a volunteer leader of the Society of Women Engineers.

Rachel Palmén's picture

Hi Peggy. It's great that you could join us here! ADVANCE is often the reference that we use as providing succcessful strategies for institutional change for gender equality here in Europe. I was wondering, when you reviewed policies and procedures regarding faculty hiring, family accommodations, and leadership development - where there any particular strategies that stand out to you as having a proven impact on improving the recruitment and promotion of women researchers? 

Tatiana Fumasoli's picture

Hello Peggy, I was wondering about the findings of your survey on women's and men's perceptions of equity in academia. As I said, our research on social capital and networking activities has started with early career female academics. We are now trying to explore the hypothesis the an equally important divide in academia is between junior and senior. Hence I am wondering how gender and generation are related. Do you have any information on this?

PeggyLayne's picture

Hello Tatiana, in our 2008 survey of faculty at Virginia Tech, we found that 79% of male respondents felt that faculty are treated fairly regardless of gender, but only 53% of female respondents agreed. Regarding sexist behavior, 77% of men believed that there is accountability for sexist behavior at the university, but only 33% of women agreed with that statement.

You may be interested in the studies of the COACHE project at Harvard. COACHE stands for Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education. They have developed a survey that is used at many universities in the United States, so their data set is quite large and they have analyzed the results in many different ways, including comparisons of junior and senior researchers. Their work is available here: http://coache.gse.harvard.edu/research/publications/special-reports.

barbararead35's picture

Hi Tatiana,

I agree the issue of 'generation'/age is also really important. Just in practical terms I know in the UK at least that women are disproportionately represented in more 'precarious' temporary/part-time positions associated with 'early career' positions (although of course these posts are also often held by more mature women and men who have conducted PhDs etc after pursuing other career/life paths).

Lieketseng's picture

Hi Peggy, this is an interesting initiative that your organisation is doing especially on the retaining of women in the leadership roles. I was wondering if you could share on the strategy/ies that you employ for sustainability as the issue of lack of enabling environment always crops up as a hindrance for sustaining women in such fields?

PeggyLayne's picture

I think what we are all trying to do is fundamentally to change the culture of our institutions to make them more supportive of all researchers, particularly women. In order to support women in leadership roles and to retain women in academic careers, we work with current leaders, mostly men, to create a model of leadership that supports work/life balance for women and men and that attempts to overcome our cultural bias about how women and men should behave. This is hard work! It takes a long time and has to be repeated over and over again. The Association for Women in Science and the University of California Hastings College of Law have developed a website called Tools for Change with resources on gender bias, family friendly policies, and the economic value of retaining women: http://www.toolsforchangeinstem.org/about/

njane's picture

Dear colleagues,
My name is Nuria Jane and I am in HR unit at IBEC. My expertise in Gender is already begin and I will oversee the next Equality and Diversity plan in our organization. I’ve been in several seminars and events where the ratio of scientific role women is still low. This is a fact, and we need to resolve it or try to minimize the effects of the diversity in science. In my opinion we do not have keys to resolve the bias but we can try to begin with a few and little consciences in the recruitment process. In our institution, we began to review the recruitment process if doesn’t candidate is a female. We review and discuss the process… This could be a step such other organitzation that are aware with the bias in the formal recruitment process ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g978T58gELo) I strongly encourage that you can hear it and follow this kind of bias. If we stop a little the unconscious bias we could manage in the future not evidence the difference.
On the other hand, why can we support the flexibility hours for researchers? We already have some technological tools to help the communication, and some articles shows that flexibility hours could be managed with more excellence at work and of course more efficiently?

arroyo_lidia's picture

Dear Nuria, 

Thank you very much for sharing your experience form IBEC and this excellent video on bias in the formal recruitment processes. The main challenge to design non gendered biased recruitment processes is how to formalise this in protocols. I am thinking in some resources from GenPORT that perhaps could help you in this process. One is Constructing excellence: the gap between formal and actual selection criteria for early career academics    elaborated by the GARCIA project that ofers analysis of the selection criteria from a gender perspective in different European countries. The second one is the Gender Issues in Recruitment, Appointment and Promotion Processes from the FESTA project elaborated for a group of experts. And the third one, is the article Evidence That Gendered Wording in Job Advertisements Exists and Sustains Gender Inequality more focused on the jobs ads. 

If you know more inspiring resources on how to design non gendered biased recruitment processes, you are welcome to share them. 

Lidia 

joerg's picture

welcome to the discussion!

One question that I had on my mind - also because we have several Gender Equality Units participating from Spain - is related to recruitment: Tatiana, you mentioned so many different aspects that impact on the recruitment and promotion of women researchers, but to just pick one at the start of the pipeline: how can institutions that hire researchers make sure that their candidate pool is sufficiently diverse and includes women? That is to say: before we even get to the potential bias inherent in the selection process or the eventual drop-out later on, how can we make sure that we attract more women to apply to certain openings in the first place? I think it would be really helpful to get some insighst on concrete measures and things that have been tried out "in the field". Anyone?

Tatiana Fumasoli's picture

Hi Jörg, I don't have a solution for this, besides the usual list: part-time possibilities, double-career package, kindergarten placement and financial support. Nowadays calls usually indicate equal opportunity objectives, so maybe universities and departments should try to become more specific, instead of repeating what everybody else say. To get back to your question, the issue of self-selection is definitely very important and women tend to be less self-confident, hence they do not even try if they feel they don't fit the position or if they see family-work balance too difficult.

Rachel Palmén's picture

In the inclusive hiring brief in the Strategic Toolkit for the ADVANCE programme they mention '

"To improve data collection on diversity in hiring, the University of Michigan required departments to collect and submit demographic information about their search process (interviews, offers, and hires) if they wished to be eligible for special funding opportunities from the provost’s office."

"At the University of Maryland-Baltimore County (UMBC), the provost required all departments to submit a written plan detailing how each search process will create a diverse and inclusive pool of candidates for a new faculty search. Chairs of departments and search committees attended a workshop on conducting an inclusive search."

Tatiana Fumasoli's picture

thank you Rachel, very interesting. I tried to gather similar information on recruitment in some European universities for my research, but found out that there is no overview at institutional level of such processes!

joerg's picture

Tatiana, did you see the deliverable by the FESTA project on recruitment? Lidia also mentions this in one of her post. Here is the link. They detail recruitment processes of 5 different universities.

Tatiana Fumasoli's picture

thank you Jörg. I wonder about the methodology for this report..? while the design of equal, transparent and fair recruitment processes is important for gender (and for science!), I believe that how actors make sense of and enact their role in recruitment practices is very important. Equally, change can initiate also from the bottom up. By this I mean 1) training female researchers at an early stage about what they can and are allowed to do to get the job they want. This is very subtle, but we still need to be sure that (younger) women are aware of this themselves too. 2) smaller modifications in organizational routines can become innovations and diffuse, in this sense I said earlier that a thorough overview of recruitment process is necessary for carrying out impactful change. To go back to methodology: besides document analysis, interviews or surveys, I believe ethnography, diary studies, can give researchers important insight on what is going on. Finally: I am afraid disciplinary settings (more than university general frameworks) matter a lot in recruitment.

hulyacaglayan's picture

Hi,
Here is another report by FESTA project, titled "Perceptions of Excellence
in Hiring Processes", you may want to check this one, as well.
http://www.festa-europa.eu/sites/festa-europa.eu/files/FESTA_5%201_final...

PeggyLayne's picture

Thanks for posting this, Rachel! The Strategic Toolkit (http://www.colorado.edu/eer/research/strategic.html) is a great resource compiling information developed by many of the ADVANCE funded universities. One university that has done great work on faculty recruitment and hiring is the University of Wisconsin. Their website (http://wiseli.engr.wisc.edu/) has many resources for search committees available here: http://wiseli.engr.wisc.edu/recruitingresources.php.

Rachel Palmén's picture

That's great! Thanks Peggy - we'll look at how we can include this example into the briefs! 

joerg's picture

Thanks, Peggy! Looks like a very complete and rich resource, which will take a while to digest.

Lieketseng's picture

Joerg in answering your question, as I indicated on my comment, i think it is important to make the incentives lucrative and attractive for women, as well as to advocate for an enabling environment for women to balance their care work and their academic work. another issue is to adopt a concept 'build our own timber' as a long term strategy meaning training and mentoring women especially those who are re-entering the sector after their maternity period. The most important aspect is to lobby for political will.

arroyo_lidia's picture

Dear all, 

I am Lidia Arroyo from the GenPORT team (Gender & ICT Research Group- UOC). I hope that all of you enjoy the e-dicussion and after this you continue working with stimulating ideas and connections to further developing gender equality in academia and research. 

Elke Park, thank you for this overview of Austria in terms of the situation of women scientists. In the GenPORT Policy Briefs is detected a good practice in your country for promotion of female researchers: the Elise Richter Programme. This is implemented by the government agency FWF and consist of providing funds for female scientist for post-dcos. Do you know more about this programme?

Perhaps here we can detect similar iniatiatives in other regions such as the US National Science Foundation ADVANCE program that Pegyy Layne presents. Do you know more public or private iniatives destinated to promote female researchers in your countries? 

Lidia

 

 

 

elpark's picture

Dear Lidia,
there are both the Herta Firnberg stipend programme (for earlier stage postdocs) as well as the Elise Richter programme for senior postdocs targeted especially toward career development of female researchers. Interestingly and positively, both programmes dropped their age limit for applicants, focusing on “academic age” rather than actual age which alleviates some of the pressures women with childcare duties face in the qualification process.

arroyo_lidia's picture

Dear Elke, 

Thank you very much for introducing us also the Herta Firnberg programme for earlier stage postdocs and to highlight the question of the age, a good practice for others programmes.

You have also raised the issue of work-life balance in academia, one of the main reason of abandonment of scientic careers for women. I would like to share these two resources from GenPORT with you that could be helpful to design strategies for more work-life balanced research institutions: Mapping organisational work-life policies and practices elaborated by GARCIA project and Academic duets: On the professional and private life in science that could be very inspiring. 

Do you know more resources or iniatives that works towards a more flexible research organisations with regards personal and familiar needs? Nuria Jane 's (njane) also introduced the role that can play technologies to faciliate this, do you know an interesting iniatives using ICT? 

Lidia

Naiara_Arri_Garcia's picture

Hi,
My name is Naiara Arri and I am a gender expert in Elhuyar (Basque Country, spain). We are a social sciences consulting entity. At the moment we are involved in the gender and science topic in various ways but mainly because we are part of the PLOTINA consortium. In PLOTINA, Promoting gender balance and inlcusion in research, innovation and training, our role together with Progetto Donna (Italy) is to asses 6 RPOs in their process of designing and implementing a Gender Equality Plan. One of the issues we are looking at in the RPOs is the Recruitment & Promotion of Women Researchers. We have not yet designed the GEPS but would be eager to get to know succesful stories of different initiatives you might know.

Thanks a lot!

joerg's picture

Naiara, what type of institutions you are looking for? Those that haven't got any Gender Equality Plan yet or those that already have one and are currently going through second, third, ... cycles? At what stage is the PLOTINA project? I think there are actually synergies with the EFFORTi project on the development of an evaluation framework for gender equality measures.

njane's picture

With regards to the Lidia’s question Do you know more public or private indicatives destined to promote female researchers in your countries? there is one institution in Spain who incorporated to their political recruitment process the condition to include a woman in the final selection processes for postdoctoral roles. If the recruitment stop without any women positive candidate, the process begins again in totally.

arroyo_lidia's picture

Very nice initiative!! Do you know if this appears in any document? It could be great to have evidence of this. 

Lidia

njane's picture

Unfortunately I didn't find any document at all, but they mentioned in October, in the Recruitment bias in Research Institutes.

arroyo_lidia's picture

Thank you very much, Nuria, I think this is a great iniatitive to be replicated in other institutions. If you find the document, you are very welcome to upload this on GenPORT. 

Rachel Palmén's picture

  • In Germany the Female Professors Programme funded by BMBF - the German Ministry for Education and Research promotes outstanding women researchers and is in operation until 2017. Since 2008, 270 additional women professors have been appointed to higher education institutions. See Policy Brief 3 
  • In Austria the Excellentia programme increased the percentage of female full professors at Austrian universities from 13% (in 2005) to 18% in 2010 - by offering financial incentives to universities that appoint women to the professoriate. See Policy Brief 2
barbararead35's picture

My name is Barbara Read and I am Reader in Gender and Social Inequalities at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, UK. I am a sociologist of education, specialising in qualitative methods and take a feminist poststructuralist approach. I have pre-prepared a short initial contribution which I'll post and then I look forward to reading through the posts and joining in the discussion!

One point that struck me when reading the excellent GenPort policy briefs is that much of what is recommended applies across disciplinary areas in HE, not just in science, although the issue is particularly acute in this area. In the UK men still outnumber women in more senior positions - for example at professorial level in the UK there were only 16% women in 2009 (Women in Science Database, cited in White et al., 2012). Having institutional targets is valuable, but I'd argue we need to continue to encourage a debate on the ‘culture’ of the academy itself. Today, despite sizeable numerical changes in the student body and amongst more junior staff, the cultures of HE institutions in many places can still be seen to reflect the historically dominant construction of the academic as male, middle- or upper-class, and in many cases white. Explicit, transparent appointment and promotion criteria can help to counteract the influence of ‘old boy’s networks’, and provide at least a starting point to examine and work to challenge the forms of experience and practices, behaviours and styles of ‘doing’ the academic role that are preferred by appointing and promotion committees.

However to a certain extent we are dealing with dominant gendered discourses around status and prestige that have been socially dominant for a long time and need concerted multi-sector and multi-disciplinary activities and interventions in order to hope to challenge them – including working with children from the early years sector onwards to try and challenge gender essentialising and stereotyping, and try and counter a differential valuing of professions and disciplinary areas that are seen to have more cultural value and prestige if they are associated with the ‘masculine’ . This can be very complex and hard to do, and I am keen to learn more about ways in which this has been successful.

Rachel Palmén's picture

GenPORT takes an inclusive view of science - including social sciences and humantities, i.e. research which seems to be more common in Europe. In the U.K. when we speak about 'science' - we tend to refer to the natural/ hard sciences only...

I agree about you point - i.e. that a major part of the problem is the cutlural level..  this perhaps goes some way to explaining why despite so many policy efforts change is remarkably slow....

 

 

barbararead35's picture

Thanks Rachel! Ah yes I was wondering if it was a terminology issue! Thanks for the clarification. What a wonderfully rich discussion is being generated here!

joerg's picture

Hi Barbara, I totally agree with your point regarding culture. I think the "unconscious bias" training that some institutions start to use (and impose) have managed to make some inroads into that cultural change. In fact, it takes out the pressure to be "political correct". When discussing gender issues directly, often there is very little room to admit that there is bias and very quickly the discussion gets defensive, personalized. However, if we take the unconscious bias approach, then its "ok" to recognize the problem and really start working on it, without getting sidetracked by blaming anybody. It'a easy where training to overcome unconscious bias is relatively targeted such as in selection committes; however when it comes to general perceptions and cultural change, it gets much harder. And then, the selection committee is just one element of a very complex overall recruitment process. Bias is one element, maybe not even the most important when it comes to recruitment of women researchers.

barbararead35's picture

Hi Joerg,

Yes I agree that it's really good to find ways in which to have these discussions that don't assume there are some people who are 'unbiased' as it were and others full of biases that are the 'baddies' - I agree that some of the work around 'unconscious bias' is fantastically useful in this respect - as is taking a look at the issue intersectionally and also looking at ways in which issues like socio-economic class, ethnicity etc intersect with gender and that privilege can work in very complex and nuanced ways - so that you/your actions can be multiply interpreted in both 'positive' and 'negative' ways (say in a job interview or a work meeting) by different people at different times - and that we all need to continue to try and be as reflexive as possible. I think any work from a young age with people that helps deconstruct our assumptions about 'natural' or ingrained differences of any of these categories would be helpful, not in a way that construes a group to be blamed and a group that's blameless but starts with the conception that we all make sense of the world through a 'social' lens and this is inevitably a subjective one that will contain all sorts of assumptions about groups/categories of people. So although I'm coming at this from a sociological/poststructuralist angle there's much in common with a more psychological perspective. I'm going to try that implicit bias test link that's been posted now :-)

PeggyLayne's picture

Here is another resource to raise awareness of gender bias and provide strategies for women to address different manifestations of bias: http://www.genderbiasbingo.com/. This website was developed by Joan Williams and her colleagues at the Center for WorkLife Law at the UC Hastings College of Law.

Gloria Bonder's picture

Hi my name is Gloria Bonder , director of the Gender Society and Public Policies Area at FLACSO, Argentina and coordinator of the UNESCO Regional Chair on Women, Science and Technology in Latin America. Very pleased to have been invited to this conversation
Most of our work is based in Latin America where the kind of policies you are discussing are rare or unexistent. When I think in the possibility of promoting such measures in academies or research councils my concerns has to do with the institutional culture of such institutions and if it is possible and how to change it so that we can move beyond pormoting inclusiveness of women in male or patriarchal cultures. Of course I agree on the need to overcome barriers that impede or refrain women researcher´s careear but I believe we need to rethink and try to find to change the accepted way in which research is done and evaluated both by the research institutions and by society, , the social representations of science and scientists, among other issues that in a more subtle way affect the life and work of women and also men,

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2016-Dec-12

3 years 3 days ago
Posted by: joerg
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