Awareness-raising and competence development
Awareness-raising efforts aim at generating and stimulating sensitivity to issues related to gender (in-)equality, while (gender) competence development aims at strengthening people’s knowledge and skills to engage with gender equality issues. In practice, the two types of efforts often overlap, as learning starts with awareness, but is a continuous process.
Awareness-raising and competence development can take many forms: from campaigns, over short introductory sessions for specific target groups, seminars, training, to lectures and dedicated courses or summer schools.
Useful to know
- Make sure you choose the most effective form of awareness-raising or competence development initiative taking into account the needs of the target audience(s). For example, while a 3,5 hours introductory lecture for undergraduate students might be an adequate choice, people in leadership positions are likely to benefit more from participatory and interactive workshops in smaller groups.
- Carefully consider who the target audience is and whether the focus of your effort is to be on awareness-raising or on competence development. Tailor your approach accordingly.
- Think about the effects that you want to trigger through these awareness-raising and competence development efforts. How can these effects be monitored? Try to find indicators and ways to track the impacts of the efforts. Evidence of impact will provide you with strong advocacy arguments.
Existing tools and resources
- Do you need to find a Gender Trainer to organise a training at your organisation? Search on Eurogender’s Gender Trainer Directory.
- EIGE’s online tool on Gender Training
- Toolkit – Gender in EU-funded research. This toolkit clearly explains and provides guidance on how to integrate gender in research. It addresses both the gender dimension of research content (with case examples from nine different scientific fields) and women’s participation in research activities. One-day training sessions, based on the toolkit, can be organised.
- EGERA leaflet: a concise presentation of this EU-structural change project, aiming at raising awareness for the project and its goals among a broad public. It includes an overview of the main thematic areas to be addressed (work packages) and events.
- Training materials on Improving Meeting Cultures can be consulted in a report published by the FESTA consortium. The aim is to facilitate open and constructive communication, and to raise awareness of the subtle ways of giving and taking away voice, power and visibility.
- Gendered Innovations: Harnessing the Creative Power of Gender Analysis for Discovery and Design: a short video course (4’:19’’) given by Londa Schiebinger from Stanford University about the potential of sex and gender analysis for bringing forward innovations.
- Short video case studies about gendered innovations in particular fields of research, along with other instructional and informative videos, can be found at the Gendered Innovations website
- “The Intervention Initiative toolkit” (2015), developed by UWE (University of the West of England) for the prevention of sexual coercion and domestic abuse in university settings.
- E-learning package on Gender Competent Leadership in Academia developed by the EU-funded structural change project GENOVATE. This tool, which contains 4 sections, encourages (prospective) leaders to reflect on possible solutions according to their institutional needs.
- “Are women a problem, do women have a problem or do women point out a problem?” This presentation was prepared the coordinator of the EU-funded structural change project FESTA. It aims at raising awareness about the role of women in science.
- “Women and technologies” towards EXPO 2015. Women and Technologies: a winning pair?. Gianna Martinengo (from the association “Women and Technology”, Milan, Italy) presented these slides at a public event organised by a partner organisation of the EU-funded structural change project FESTA in October 2012. The presentation was intended to give visibility and raise awareness of the great potential, creativity and participation of women in the world of technology.
Examples of measures
Compulsory awareness-raising session for B.A. students
The University Paris 7 Diderot (France) delivers a 3.5 hours compulsory awareness-raising session on gender equality for first grade students as they enter the university (2,700 students / year). It applies to all components and faculties but medicine (Law, Economics and Management, Social Sciences and Humanities, Literature and Arts, Sciences, Technology, Mathematics). The session is an integral part of the welcome programme of the university, which takes place in September and includes other events such as a forum of associations and a speech of the Dean. The session on gender equality is the only event having an academic content and for which attendance is compulsory. Between 70 % and 80 % of registered students have attended this session since it was put in place (approximately 2,000 students). The session is divided into three parts: 1) distribution of a questionnaire on gender inequalities; 2) a general introduction to gender and sexual identities; 3) broadcast of a conference by neurologist Catherine Vidal: “Does our brain have a sex?”. It is organised by the Gender Equality Service, established in 2010 as a central service of the university. While it does not primarily address gender in research and does not target researchers, this practice largely contributes to making gender equality culture an integral part of the institution’s identity, bringing insights from research on gender and initiating the fight against gender bias and stereotypes at an early stage of the curricula of future researchers.
A practice to award and ensure greater visibility for women researchers
The Women Researchers’ Day at the “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iasi (Romania) was created as an initiative inside the frame of the EU-funded project "Structural transformations to achieve gender equality in science" (STAGES), at the “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iasi (UAIC) by the Centre for Social Management and Community Development. It is an on-going practice initiated and shaped as part of the set of practices for increasing the women’s visibility, voice and recognition. It is a complex public event, consisting of several categories of actions. The main objectives are to provide women in research with role models and to create an international reach for the exchange of good practices, thus to contribute to the professional development of women researchers. The series is currently integrated in the EU level event ''European Women Researchers Day''.
School of project drafting and management for European projects for post-doctoral and early career researchers
The School of project drafting and management for European projects for post-doctoral and early career researchers was one of the actions within the EU-funded STAGES project at the University of Milan (UMIL) (Italy). The action was designed in order to enhance women’s participation to research and project funds. Indeed, at UMIL women had the same chance as men to obtain European funds but they tended to apply less than their male colleagues. These findings matched those highlighted in the She Figures report (2012), especially with regard to the specific field of Agricultural Sciences (She Figures, 2012, pp. 126-129). The School of drafting aimed at fostering their participations in calls. It started in September 2013 and ended in June 2014. Its programme was planned in cooperation with the Grant Office at the UMIL and it was divided into two parts. The first part, which started in October 2013 and ended in January 2014, aimed at providing participants with an overview of the aims and structure of Horizon 2020 and other European funding schemes (ERC, Marie Curie, etc.). This first part also provided information on the budgeting, management and financial reporting of European Projects and Grants, on the valorisation of the scientific results (evaluation and management of scientific outcomes, patents etc.) and on the gender perspective within European funding schemes. The second part of the programme aimed at supporting the participants in drafting of projects. At this stage, participants had to gather information about European calls and to possibly choose calls they can/would like to apply to in order to receive a more targeted support.
Gender Sensitive PhD Supervisor Toolkit
As part of the activities organised within the EU-funded structural change project FESTA at Uppsala University (Sweden), a Gender Sensitive PhD Supervisory Toolkit has been developed. These activities are part of an objective to minimise the negative effect of gendered interactional patterns in academic environments on the career opportunities for women researchers. More specifically, the activities target the supervisory relationships by addressing the socialisation of PhD students and by improving supervisory practices. This can be the case in male-dominated research environments, in which it may be relevant to help women at the beginning of their careers to find ways of surviving and competing. This will advance women’s academic careers in two ways: 1) they will become more fully integrated in the community and therefore more motivated for an academic career and 2) the visibility of their specific value to the research community will be improved. During the Fall/Winter of 2014/2015, study circles on gender awareness in PhD supervision were organised for PhD-supervisors. These were aimed at ensuring equal opportunities for women and men at the beginning of their academic career. These activities have now become part of the Equal Opportunities Plan 2015-2017 for the Faculty of Science and Technology, adopted by the Board of the Disciplinary Domain/Faculty of Science and Technology 2015-01-20.
Overcoming bias in personnel selection procedures
As part of the internal leadership training programme of the University of Graz, the gender equality office organises a bias sensitising workshop. This workshop aims at creating reflexivity about gender and other discrimination-related biases in personnel selection procedures, and at creating a general understanding that equality and quality are mutually reinforcing goals. The training takes place over two half-day sessions of five hours each, and is facilitated by external experts as well as gender equality experts from the university. In this workshop, participants gain knowledge about diversity issues, societal inequalities, and academic evaluation procedures. They also participate in a mock personnel selection procedure, as well as discussions on academic CVs, to initiate reflection about their own selection criteria, prejudice and biases.
- 1Back to entry page
- 2What is a Gender Equality Plan?
- 3EU objectives for gender equality in research
- 4Why change must be structural
- 5Who is this guide for?
- 6Ready to develop a GEP? Start the GEAR
- 7GEAR action toolbox
- 4Who is involved in a Gender Equality Plan?
- 5Rationale for gender equality in research
- 6Basic requirements and success factors
- 7Obstacles and solutions
- 8Legislative and policy backgrounds