The Consensus Report: Recommendations for Action on the Gender Dimension in Science
Between March and June 2010, three genSET Consensus Seminars brought together 14 European science leaders to share knowledge and experience and arrive at a consensus view on the gender dimension in science and on the priorities for gender action in scientific institutions. The question How European Science Can Benefit from Integrated Action on Gender framed the deliberations on the gender dimension, with a specific focus on:
- bringing about greater equality of opportunity and treatment in recruitment and advancement of women and men scientists, and in assessment of their performance and work; and
- incorporating gender and sex in the research process, in science knowledge making, and in the science value system to improve quality and excellence of scientific endeavours.
The Science Leaders Consensus Panel represents extensive knowledge of different scientific fields and sectors, with over 500 years of scientific and leadership experience; involvement in appointing over 4000 researchers; direction of over 300 major research programmes and research funding of over €500 million; executive decision making through over 100 Executive Board positions; and research publication record exceeding 1000 peer reviewed research papers. They collaborated with a group of equally high‐ranking gender experts, who provided expertise through lectures and research evidence during the Consensus Seminars.
The genSET Consensus Seminars adapted the format of the traditional Consensus Conference model, putting the science leaders in the role of a 'lay panel,' meant to reach consensus with the help of gender researchers as 'experts,' and science stakeholder institutions as their 'public.'1 Creating first a list of loose priority themes related to the gender dimension on science, the Panel proceeded to specific recommendations designated for science policy makers and scientific institutions. This was done with the help of invited gender experts during the second Seminar at the Technical University in Berlin. In the final Paris Seminar, additional gender experts and leaders and decision makers from the target science institutions assisted the panel in clarifying details of the final consensus recommendations.
Within the genSET project, these recommendations, matched with extensive research evidence related to the gender dimension in science, will form the basis of increasing institutional capacity for action on gender in the European science system. This will happen through genSET’s Capacity Building Workshops, country‐specific valorisation symposia, final conference, and finally through the sustainability measures in place after genSET ends in February 2012. The membership and networks of genSET Patron and Stakeholder organisations will help to further disseminate the Report to every country, sector and institution making up the European science system. It will be a well informed resource for integrated action on gender that will benefit European science.
The consensus recommendations call for action in four priority areas of the gender dimension in science:
- science knowledge making,
- deployment of human capital,
- institutional practices and processes,
- and regulation and compliance with gender‐related processes and practices.
All of these recommendations are meant to be included within an overall institutional science strategy.