Mapping the maze. Getting more women to the top in research

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Since the 1990s, an analysis of senior university staff reveals that women are underrepresented on scientific decision–making boards in almost all European countries. For this reason, the European Commission has invited an independent expert group, namely, the expert group on Women In Research Decision Making (WIRDEM) to identify and review positive actions and gender equality measures at institutional and national level to promote women into senior positions in public research. In the course of one year of fruitful research, the WIRDEM expert group produced the homonymous report which examines and describes in detail nomination procedures, obstacles, facts and funding limitations that women need to overcome in their academic careers. It reviews the procedures for evaluating and promoting research personnel to senior positions and identifies examples of good practice at national and institutional levels. Based on this analysis, the report proposes recommendations to facilitate the design of a framework for better targeted actions at European level, and highlights the problem of poor awareness and visibility. It clearly shows that transparent and fair evaluation and promotion procedures alone are not sufficient to improve gender balance in research decision-making; a change of culture is required. The experts therefore also make suggestions as to how the prevailing scientific culture could change to become more inclusive

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