Gender Equality in Academia and Research
GEP development – Vilnius University (LT)
At Vilnius University, gender equality is one constituent of the general Equal Opportunities Policy. The University’s GEP is one of the measures in the “Implementation Plan for the period 2020–2022” for its “Diversity and Equal Opportunities Strategy 2020–2025” . The GEP is also part of the University’s commitments under the EU-funded SPEAR project. The GEP was developed at the end of 2019, following an analysis of the University’s gender (equality) status. That analysis formed part of the “Analysis of Diversity and Equal Opportunities in Vilnius University 2018–2019” and was strongly supported by the Rector’s Office and the heads of several organisational units. At the beginning of 2020, a working group was established, composed of representatives from nine academic departments (the Faculties of Economics and Business Administration, Philosophy, Communication, Physics and History, Kaunas Faculty, Institute of International Relations and Political Sciences, Business School and Life Sciences Centre) and the Vilnius Library . The working group was tasked with developing 10 pilot GEPs in those departments. Development began with an analysis of available data on the status of gender equality in each participating department, identifying issues to be tackled in the GEP. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic slowing all activities, by May 2021, five GEPs were approved by the Councils of the Faculties of Economics and Business Administration, Philosophy and Communication, the Institute of International Relations and Political Sciences and the Business School. Some positive effects are already visible. For example, even without the formal requirement for gender-equal representation in elections for faculty councils, members of the community began to consider the importance of equal representation of women and men among candidates. The GEP for Vilnius University reflects the experience gained during the development and initial steps of implementing GEPs in the departments. It covers gender equality issues such as gender balance in leadership, staff recruitment and career progression, including work life-balance issues, equal pay issues, research and studies, as well as institutional communication. The SPEAR project team develops the GEP and is actively involved in discussions of GEP measures with representatives of the main administrative departments. The Vilnius University GEP should be approved by the Senate at the end of 2021.