Main Section Videos & Webinars Tools & Resources As you may have learnt in the step-by-step guide, gender equality measures should always consider the context of the organisation. This also includes the evolving impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on practices and operations. Most human organisations, research organisations and research funding bodies have been severely affected by the health, economic and policy impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and are constantly adapting to the current situation.
Main Section Videos & Webinars Tools & Resources Gender equality plans (GEPs) or any other gender equality ad hoc initiatives need to be grounded in evidence. Before you can plan any measures, you need to know how your organisation is doing regarding gender equality and which areas you need to focus on. This initial assessment of the status quo of gender equality in an organisation usually includes a statistical analysis of sex-disaggregated data, additional interviews or focus groups (qualitative methods) to gain a better understanding, a documentary analysis of national legal and policy documents, and a review of your organisation’s strategic and operational documents.
Main Section Videos & Webinars Tools & Resources In order to initiate a structural change process towards better gender equality in an organisation, awareness of gender inequality and knowledge about gender issues in management, but also in the workforce, is of central importance (see success factors). Awareness-raising efforts aim to generate and stimulate sensitivity to issues related to gender (in)equality, while (gender) capacity building aims to strengthen people’s knowledge and skills to engage with gender equality issues.
Main Section Videos & Webinars Tools & Resources In this section of the action toolbox, we highlight two fields of action that we consider crucial for the development and implementation of a gender equality plan (GEP), and which have the character of a cross-cutting issue: engaging stakeholders; developing structures to support gender equality work. Engaging stakeholders An effective GEP is a strategic document that engages the whole of the organisation.
Main Section Videos & Webinars Tools & Resources Gender equality plans (GEPs) of research funding bodies should, on the one hand, address internal stakeholders and processes, similar to research-performing organisations (internal career development, internal decision-making and leadership, internal sexual harassment policies). On the other hand, external stakeholders and the whole funding cycle need to be addressed from a gender perspective.
The Volkswagen Foundation, a private research funding organisation in Germany, has developed a comprehensive funding support scheme for parents. Although it is directed to parents of either sex, also including adopting parents, it has a clear gender sensitive approach, aiming at lowering the burden and career cost of parenting for early career female researchers. Funding is available for male or female researchers raising one or more children.
Since 2012, one of the ways in which the University of Southern Denmark (SDU) has implemented measures addressing gender equality is by supporting work-life balance. With the implementation of internal guidelines regarding parental leave, SDU initiated two specific measurers: 1) while away on parental leave, the researchers are offered continuously academic updates and 2) when returning from parental leave, the researchers are offered to get a teaching-free period (if they were on leave for six months or more).
Hanken School of Economics (Finland) automatically extends temporary contracts of teaching and research personnel if they have been absent due to maternity, paternity and parental leave. The policy was included in the Human Resources instructions of the School in 2010, and it is also inscribed in its gender equality and non-discrimination plan. The policy was adopted in order to support long-span research work and ensure that research projects will be finalised, as well as to promote career advancement of women researchers.
In Queens University Belfast (QUB) (UK), all Schools have return to work policies, which are funded by the Schools and, where feasible, allow for either a six month teaching free period on return from maternity leave, or a greatly reduced teaching load. This policy began in Science, Engineering and Technology Schools in QUB and has since expanded. It began following on from a recommendation in the Women’s Forum Report on Gender Imbalance at Queens (May 2000) and was implemented shortly thereafter.
The promotion of equality between women and men and non-discrimination is one of the spheres of activity of IST (part of the University of Lisbon). IST launched an innovative measure at national level in 2016 to facilitate the reconciliation of professional activity and personal/family life. The initiative exempts professors who have taken parental leave (at least 100 days) from teaching duties, with the possibility of hiring non-permanent staff in departments with a lack of teaching staff.
The University of Debrecen offers its employees training and programmes to promote work-life balance and better mental health. The measure focuses on workshops and trainings for parents. However, there is also a crèche and a kindergarten, as well as childcare support at university events. The financial resources for the implementation are covered from the university budget and the grants received from the Ministry of Human Capacity.
Riga Stradins University (RSU) has yet to adopt a GEP. However, the “Sustainable Development Goals” section of its website emphasises “the person” as the RSU’s main value. It notes that gender equality is an integral value of the university and one of the basic elements for successful work, stating “gender equality = sustainable development”. RSU publishes current information on the topic of gender equality on its website, while its professors and students share their opinions in various conferences and public discussions.