Implicit gender biases during evaluations: How to raise awareness and change attitudes?

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Equality between women and men is a core value of the European Union (EU), enshrined in the fundamental treaties, and embraced in all EU policies, including research and innovation. Gender equality is a cross-cutting issue in Horizon 2020, and its importance was put forward by the Council of the European Union in its Conclusions of 1 December 2015 on Advancing Gender Equality in the European Research Area (ERA).

A significant body of research has contributed to identifying implicit gender biases and to bringing evidence of their impact on evaluation processes. These gender biases can lead to unfair assessment of women researchers and lower their likelihood of receiving a grant. Such biases, held by individuals but rooted in socio-cultural norms, furthermore accumulate with more structural/organisational gender biases, which still remain pervasive in research institutions. Several Member States and Associated Countries have started to take initiatives to counteract these effects. The ERC and MSCA are now raising the awareness of their evaluators on the risk of implicit, or unconscious, gender biases. Yet, few actions have been put in place at European level. 

On 30-31 May 2017, a Workshop on Implicit Gender Biases during Evaluations: How to Raise Awareness and Change Attitudes? was organised by the Gender Sector of the European Commission's Directorate-General Research and Innovation. It aimed at gaining a deeper understanding of what implicit/unconscious gender biases are, how they intervene in evaluative processes, and how they can be addressed within Horizon 2020.

The workshop gathered participants from the Horizon 2020 Advisory Group on Gender, Horizon 2020 funded Gender Equality Plans projects, the European Research Area Stakeholder Platform and national funding agencies, as well as from EC services engaged in Horizon 2020 evaluations.

The material and practices collected during the workshop will contribute to the adaptation of the Horizon 2020 evaluation processes aimed at mitigating the impact of implicit gender biases.


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