Project

CHANGE – “CHAlleNging Gender (In)Equality in science and research”

Goal: The main aim of CHANGE is it to support research performing organisations (RPOs) to design and implement gender equality plans. This will be achieved by involving key actors, called Transfer Agents (TAs), within each organisation who will together with the core consortium partners transmit co-produced gender equality knowledge inside their institutions. This innovative approach will ensure the promotion and sustainable institutionalisation of the gender equality action plans (GEPs) beyond the project duration. Furthermore, through mutual learning and networking CHANGE will enable partners to become resource centres skilled to provide gender equality knowledge and expertise to other RPOs and also RFOs (research funding organisations). With such a co-production of knowledge approach and by building communities of practice among RPOs in each participating region, support and mentorship structures will be established and work even after the project is finished. Regular inclusion and exchange with national and European stakeholders (policy makers, researchers, ministries etc.) ensures a spill-over effect of CHANGE results to other RPOs and RFOs in their respective countries as well as with other ministries in the whole European area. As one of many results, CHANGE will produce policy papers based on this strategic stakeholder involvement including actual policy makers and relevant stakeholders in the policy paper production. With this approach we aim at closing the research-to-action gap, respectively the theory-to-practice gap. Thus CHANGE contributes to a structural change towards gender equality in the European Research Area by stimulating institutional cultural change towards gender equal work environments in RPOs and fostering the importance of gender dimension inclusive research and innovation programmes in RFOs.

Date: 1 May 2018 - 30 April 2022

Updates
1 new
27
Recommendations
1 new
15
Followers
0 new
34
Reads
9 new
406

Project log

Anita Thaler
added an update
CHANGErs Ernesta Grigalionyte-Bembič, Ana Rotter and Teresa Carvalho created a video on work-life-balance, and how it can be implemented in the academic and research workplace:
The video authors state:
"The coordination between your work while maintaining private boundaries is called work-life balance. If you balance your time, it can have many benefits:
  1. Increase of your personal satisfaction and self esteem
  2. Increased productivity, creativity and social network
  3. Employee loyalty, committment and motivation
  4. Reduction of stress and emotional anxiety
  5. Prevents burnout at work and thus reduces sick leave Balancing your work and private life is by no means a 'one size fits all solution'.
Within the Horizon Europe project CHANGE (https://www.change-h2020.eu/) we have gathered some tips and tricks on how to establish a tailored work-life balance. Our suggestions are categorized into 6 categories:
  • Work flexibility
  • Job organization
  • Leadership
  • Work smart, not long
  • Set the boundaries
  • Reduce stress"
 
Anita Thaler
added a research item
In academic, non-profit and business research, project funding and grants are important elements to promote science, boost innovation and support researchers on their career paths. However, they are also powerful instruments to materialize and prioritize major principles of science policy and social values such as gender equality and equity. An analysis of research funding processes and organisations in the scope of the EU project CHANGE 1 could illuminate gender policies and practices, aiming at a more diverse and gender equitable research and innovation landscape, but could also reveal inherent gender biases. This paper particularly focuses on the results of 41 expert interviews on research budgets, gender policies and practices in research funding in the three "strong innovator"-countries Austria, Germany and Israel, and explores the hidden potential of gender in science and research funding in all sectors.
Jennifer Dahmen-Adkins
added a research item
Introduction. Funded under the Horizon 2020 programme, the CHANGE project –Challenging Gender (In)Equality in Science and Research– aims to create and implement tailor-made gender equality plans (GEPs) in research performing organisations (RPOs). To make GEPs more sustainable, efforts are being made to stimulate institutional cultural change towards gender equal work environments and foster the gender dimension and inclusive research and innovation programmes in research funding organisations (RFOs) as well. The promotion of a gender equality culture is thus a key requirement for RPOs to maximise their potential. The CHANGE consortium is composed of seven institutions from six countries –Austria, Germany, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, and Israel– of which five are GEP implementing partners and two are experienced partners (one coordinator and one internal evaluator). Objectives and Methodology. This paper approaches the methodology of the project and the structural and cultural challenges faced by the implementing partners so far, looking more specifically to the similarities and differences in the different national and institutional contexts. Results and Discussion. In all the five implementing partners organisations, successful steps have been taken in the implementation of GEPs. Regardless of these first successes, even with increasing women’s representation in management and decision-making positions in some specific cases, implementing partners and coordinators fear that this change may be merely circumstantial or only due and during the project duration. Contribution. The challenges and barriers faced so far to stimulate institutional and cultural change towards gender equal work environments in RPOs are diverse. While there are important social, cultural, and institutional differences among the partner institutions, there is a great similarity in the difficulties faced in implementing GEPs. Resistances and challenges that emerge during processes of change when gender equality policies are implemented in RPOs are more transversal to different national and organisational contexts than one could expect.
Jennifer Dahmen-Adkins
added a research item
This article explores the experiences of micro change agents for gender equality in seven European Research Performing Organizations in seven different countries. The micro change agents were all participants of an international collaborative project consortium, implementing gender equality plans (GEPs), and funded by the European Commission during 4 years. The analysis draws on empirical data consisting of information submitted by the micro change agents during these 4 years and collected using three different monitoring tools, developed within the project to follow the progress of the implementation efforts, but also to provide an arena for individual and collaborative reflection and knowledge exchange between the partners. The aim of the article is to present a systematic analysis of the change practices that these micro change agents experienced as useful and important for promoting gender equality in their different organizational contexts. A total of six such micro change practices are identified, emerging from the empirical data: 1. communicating, 2. community building, 3. building trust and legitimacy, 4. accumulating and using resources, 5. using and transferring knowledge, and 6. drawing on personal motivation. The findings illustrate the multifaceted character of micro change agency for gender equality, particularly in a time-limited project context with a designated funding period. The results from this study can be useful when developing gender equality strategies, policies and practices and can also be used to empower gender equality micro change agents that face challenges while trying to implement GEPs and promote structural change in any kind of institution.
Anita Thaler
added an update
The upcoming research funding programme ‘Horizon Europe’ will make GEPs an eligibility criterion of proposals. This is one example of a governance strategy where the allocation of (monetary) resources – in terms of funding – is linked to fostering gender equality in European science and research organisation. In a session at the annual STS conferencededicated to this very topic our CHANGErs Anita Thaler, Sandra Karner (IFZ, Austria) and Jennifer Dahmen-Adkins (RWTH Aachen, Germany) invited gender researchers to co-create knowledge about how financial governance strategies can be used to provide incentives to encourage research performing and funding organisations to become more inclusive and gender equal work places, and moreover to change the whole science and research system towards more fairness and gender equity.
Eight excellent papers have been presented and discussed:
1. Relevance of funding for structural change and its limitations by Angela Wroblewski (Institute for Advanced Studies, IHS, Austria)
2. The hidden potential: Gender in research funding of strong innovators by Anita Thaler & Sandra Karner(Interdisciplinary Research Centre for Technology, Work and Culture, Austria), Hana Himi & Maya Ashkenazi(Beit Berl Academic College, Israel), Madlen Baumert & Janne Haack (Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials Bremen, Germany)
3. Learning from the feminist movement: why money matters for gender equality? By lrene Garcia Muiioz, Maria Lopez Belloso, Maria Silvestre Cabrera (University of Deusto, Spain)
4. European research funding organizations: change agents for gender equality in research? By Helene Schiffbänker1, Liisa Husu2, Helen Peterson2, Florian Holzinger1 (1Joanneum Research, Austria; 2Örebro University, Sweden)
5. A Community of Practice and Gender Budgeting in research and higher education organisations by Laufey Axelsdóttir, Finnborg Salome Steinþórsdóttir, Þorgerður Einarsdóttir (University of lceland, lceland)
6. Budgeting for equality in RPOs by Tindara Addabbo(University of Modena & Reggio Emilia, ltaly)
7. Gender equality and social justice in funding ,European excellence': The case of the European Research Council by Barbara Hoenig (University of Graz, Austria)
8. A practical experience of gender mainstreaming in research funding: small but flexible by Donia Lasinger(Vienna Science and Technology Fund, Austria)
27 participants, many of them involved in sister projects of CHANGE (TARGET, Gearing Roles, GRANteD, ACT, LeTSGEPs, GEECCO), exchanged and co-created knowledge.
Central discussion points addressed were
• There is a lack of gender policies for business research, where the majority of research budgets are allocated but fewer gender equality exists than in the more regulated higher education sector (concerning gender policies).
• The integration of GEPs into Horizon Europe requirements as window of opportunity to change not only academic but also industrial research towards more gender equity.
• Ambitious goals and also strong formal policies are needed but they are not enough, policies need budgets to become practices (for instance the Sustainable Development Goal nr. 5 on gender equality has the lowest budget). And policies need constant further development and monitoring.
• The economic model of research must be reconsidered (especially in academia). Critical thinking on the "science paradigm". What is "good science"? Who is considered a "good scientist"? And who are the ones to determine these definitions? Those systems sometimes seem to work less for women.
• An innovative approach would be shifting from focussing on the mere allocation of means to accounts that reflect the well-being of individuals (including matters of care).
In the upcoming GENDERACTION Final Event, gender in science and research policies will be discussed further (Save the date: 8-9 July 2021, online)!
 
Jennifer Dahmen-Adkins
added an update
In September 2019, the German CHANGE partners Jennifer Dahmen-Adkins (RWTH Aachen University), Janne Haack and Madlen Baumert (both Fraunhofer IFAM) invited representatives of other German EU projects with a gender focus to a first network meeting.
Since then, the bi-annual meetings of the network as well as an e-mail list have been used to learn from each other, to expand one's own gender competences, to use synergies between the projects, to refine the formation of opinions on the political context of one's own activities in the project or within the scientific institution, and to take a look at future cooperation possibilities.
In the meantime, the group of participants has grown to 12 projects funded within H2020 (see graph), the majority of which are dedicated to structural change in research and science organisations. New members are welcome!
The network was recently presented as good practice example at the BMBF conference "Impetus for Europe – equality-oriented structures and diversity in research", which took place during the German EU Council Presidency in November 2020: https://www.bmbf.de/en/impetus-for-europe---equality-oriented-structures-and-diversity-in-research-12450.html
Some more detailed information on the network in German can be found in the pdf below.
 
Anita Thaler
added an update
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world and no one’s life was untouched by the measures taken since spring 2020 by governments to contain the virus. The CHANGErs Anita Thaler and Julian Anslinger (IFZ, Austria) and Hana Himi (BBC, Israel) have contributed to an online journal, the fifth issue of the Queer STS Forum (https://queersts.com/forum-queer-sts/queer-sts-forum-5-2020/), which took this contemporary crisis as a starting point for scholarly and personal reflection in.
Between July and November 2020 texts, videos and art has been collected within the gender and STS community (Anne Bremer, Dennis Zuev, Erin Kavanagh, Ester Conesa, Guitarpsy, Hana Himi, Karen Richmond, Zoltan Bajmocy, and haring & the trouts).
The voices sent from Macau, Norway, United Kingdom, Spain, Thailand, Israel, Hungary, and Austria related to the questions:
  • How did and does the COVID-19 pandemic – and the measures taken in your country – change your work, research, teaching, daily routines and relationships?
  • Which consequences will only be temporary, which effects will last?
  • And: How do you feel about all that?
Additionally, this issue features four papers:
  1. Elena Lee Gold on „How Might Hyperlinks Express Shyness? and Other Queer Interfaces“;
  2. the literary experiment „Feminist Mothering in the Pandemic – A Literary Cadavre Exquis“ by a feminist mothering collective coordinated by Daniela Jauk-Ajamie;
  3. Birgit Hofstätter reviewed the 2020 volume „Intersektionalität – Von der Antidiskriminierung zur befreiten Gesellschaft?“ (Engl. Intersectionality – From anti-discrimination to a liberated society?) by Christopher Sweetapple, Heinz-Jürgen Voß and Salih Alexander Wolter; and finally
  4. Susanne Kink , Lisa Scheer and Anita Thaler’s contribution "Doing queer families with technologies" explores the question of how families use ICT to maintain family lives and intimacy. A question of utmost relevance since many of us have not seen their families for many months in the pandemic.
 
Anita Thaler
added a research item
This small and concise publication comprises workshopping ideas for the co-production of knowledge in an online setting. The recommendations were discussed in a series of conversations in the context of the project CHANGE.
Anita Thaler
added an update
The CHANGErs Anita Thaler (IFZ, Austria) and Jennifer Dahmen-Adkins (RWTH Aachen University, Germany) were invited by the Centre for Gender & Science to co-create gender equality knowledge with stakeholders from Czech RPOs. The workshop took place virtually on August 24th 2020 and aimed specifically at reflecting personal experiences of resistance in organisational change processes during the implementation of gender equality plans (GEPs).
Due to their long years of involvement with European projects on gender inequalities in science and research and their own GEP implementation experiences during the project GenderTime, Anita and Jennifer could bring in theoretical as well as practical know-how. In the workshop they applied the co-creation of knowledge approach from the project CHANGE, to consider the different and valuable backgrounds of each organisation and person.
The participants of the workshop received a document beforehand to classify their own experiences of resistance, which has been based on the valuable insights of the sister project FESTA. Based on the participants' real life examples and the rich knowledge base of CHANGE and its sister projects, these scopes of action for gender equalityhave been reflected.
 
Anita Thaler
added an update
Anita Thaler gave a talk about gender and diversity fair IT at the „ISPA Forum“, a symposium of Internet Service Providers Austria.
In this short radio programme, she explains why the topic is so important, and how organisations can manage structural change:
„Frauen müssen noch immer beweisen, dass sie coden können“@, 4.6. | Radio Ö1
 
Anita Thaler
added an update
A CHANGErs team from IFAM (Germany) and IFZ (Austria) attended the first stakeholder conference of the GRANteD project on Feb. 24th 2020 in Vienna.
The topic „Is it a lottery? Improving gender fairness in research funding“ greatly resonantes with the current research activities in CHANGE, where approx. 60 experts from RFOs and policy makers are interviewed about gendered policies and practices in research funding in Austria, Germany, Israel, Portugal, Slovakia and Slovenia. The preliminary results show room for improvement in the areas of evaluation criteria and training for reviewers as well as gender monitoring of the whole funding process. However, there are good practices, which have been partly shared at this conference too. See: www.granted-project.eu.
 
Jennifer Dahmen-Adkins
added a research item
In the Horizon 2020 funded project “CHANGE”, tailor-made gender equality plans were implemented in research performing organisations for the duration of four years. In order to make related activities more sustainable, efforts were also made to aim at the initiation of long-term structural changes towards more gender equality in science and research. To accomplish this ambitious goal, we learned from previous gender (equality) projects but also sustainability research, and came up with a new approach, which attempted to tackle the existing knowledge-to-action gap, respectively the research-to-practice gap. Translation gaps from theory to practice help to understand why identified barriers for gender equality in science and research and the connected recommendations for change have seldom been put into action and/or their actual impact remained marginal. In this paper we describe what we mean when we say we are co-producing gender equality knowledge together in a European consortium of academic and research institutions. The introduction of the underlying ideas of the project, as well as it’s architecture, will explain how structural changes inside the institutions will be enabled through integrated knowledge co-producing processes and through the engagement with institutional key players (Transfer Agents).
Anita Thaler
added an update
Dear colleagues, we invite you to participate in our stream (D.5) on Inequalities in Science and Research for the STS-Conference in Graz (May 4-6, 2020). We encourage papers related to gender and other social inequalities in academia, including intersectional analyses, postcolonial theories, queer-feminist and LGBTQ* approaches, especially to discuss strategies and practices to overcome inequalities (see below). Abstracts (500 words maximum to be submitted by January 20, 2020)
Full papers (to be submitted by June 5, 2020) will be published as online-proceedings (open access). For submitting your abstract, please use the online form. Notification of selected abstracts by: February 2020 Conference language: English You will find more information here https://sts-conference.isds.tugraz.at/event/11/abstracts/ Please, spread the word to your colleagues and networks! Thank you!
D.5 Strategies to overcome inequalities in science and research: How can academia become a social gender just place? 
Conesa, Ester (Universität Oberta de Catalunya), Dahmen-Adkins, Jennifer ( RTWH Aachen), Knoll, Bente ( B-NK GmbK Consultancy for Sustainable Competence), Thaler, Anita (IFZ)
New academic management regimes (Felt 2016), the capitalization of knowledge production (Bammé 2004) as well as the imperative of academic excellence (Van den Brink & Benschop 2012) have influenced institutional structures in science and research. These conditions have increased the pressure on people working in academia conflicting with the spread of temporary and precarious contracts (Murgia & Poggio 2018). While women are equally participating in tertiary education (PhD graduate numbers in the European Union are gender balanced, European Commission 2019), they are still underrepresented in research-related job positions and “more likely to have ‘precarious’ contractual arrangements than men, such as fixed-term contracts of one year or less, or no contract at all” (European Commission 2015, p.100). Additionally, academia has other inequality issues (few academics have social roots in working or lower middle class, Möller 2014; underrepresentation of females and racial-ethnic minorities in management positions due to ‘homosocial reproduction’, Bagilhole & Goode 2001; Dressel et al. 1994).
This all points to systemic and structurally embedded inequalities, which can only be analysed and overcome with intersectional approaches including social justice issues such as ‘social gender justice’ (Dahmen & Thaler 2017).
However, there are policies and practices in place to promote gender equality in academia (e.g. funds for promoting gender equality in science and research in the EU). These policy-driven structural change processes within research performing organisations (RPOs) and lately also within research funding organisations (RFOs) face societal oppositions (e.g. right political movement, anti-gender populism) as well as inner-institutional resistances, which hinder their implementation. Therefore, both structural and cultural change approaches are necessary to disrupt and interrupt traditional organisational structures of unequal work environments. More and more European RPOs have made progress towards gender equality, and some RFOs, especially national funding agencies, have integrated gender equality procedures effectively as evaluation approach (e.g. gender dimension as cross-cutting issue, gender balance in research teams, gender as genuine research content).
In this session we want to discuss strategies and practices, how RPOs and RFOs managed to overcome inequalities. We want to highlight success stories of social gender justice, so that other organisations can learn from valuable lessons.
We define social gender justice broadly, including intersectional analyses, postcolonial theories, queer-feminist and LGBTQ* approaches. We are interested in papers on implementation of strategies and practices, which contribute successfully to structural and cultural changes in RPOs and RFOs. While structural change can be fostered by e.g. European and national research policies applied in the institutions, cultural change is mainly pushed by inside processes. Both approaches are relevant for this stream.
We would like to encourage submission of papers with a vision of a gender fair, inclusive and just academic environment:
  • Practical experiences that successfully have made changes in RPOs and RFOs
  • Windows of opportunities for cultural changes in academia and research
  • Detection of resistances and theoretical or practical ways to overcome them
  • Frameworks or approaches that might or do already contribute to foster social gender justice in academic environments
KEYWORDS: gender, social justice, structural change, academia, research funding
 
Anita Thaler
added an update
On November 21 - after an excellent key note by Yvonne Benschop (about the challenges of postfeminism) - Anita Thaler and Jennifer Dahmen-Adkins presented (at a conference at IHS Vienna) how with an intersectional approach social gender justice in academia and research can be improved.
They especially pointed out how the very concept of co-producing gender equality knowledge can help overcoming resistances and support the implementation of gender equality plans in science and research organisations.
In a panel discussion afterwards Anita Thaler talked about strategies and experiences on the interface of research and policy (with Birgit Buchinger (Solution, Salzburg), Eva Czernohorszky (Wirtschaftsagentur Wien), Roberta Schaller-Steidl (Bundesministerium für Bildung, Wissenschaft und Forschung), Moderation: Angela Wroblewski (IHS)).
 
Jennifer Dahmen-Adkins
added an update
On September 10th2019 Anita Thaler and Jennifer Dahmen-Adkins had the opportunity to meet with colleagues of The Carolyn Barber-Pierre Center for Intercultural Lifeat Tulane University in New Orleans/USA.
Together they discussed how diversity, equity and inclusion should be integrated parts of social just higher education and research organisations.
The Center that includes The Office of Multicultural AffairsReligious Life at Tulane, and The Office of Gender and Sexual Diversitylooks back on a 30-year history and was just recently named after her founding director Carolyn Barber-Pierre, who also holds the position as Assistant Vice President for Intercultural Life in the Division of Student Affairs at Tulane.
Learning about the rich practical experiences from Carolyn Barber-Pierre herself and her colleagues was truly inspiring and opened up new perspectives. They especially emphasised the importance of communication, advocacy and education/training inside the organisation to pursue equity.
Jennifer and Anita are going to share their experience and gained knowledge with their fellow CHANGErs during the next project meeting under the heading “CHANGErs all around the world”.
 
Anita Thaler
added an update
Under this motto Jennifer Dahmen-Adkins and Anita Thaler from our CHANGE project organised a panel with the coordinators of the ‘sister projects’ GEECCO, Brigitte Ratzer, and TARGET,
Angela Wroblewski, at the 18th Annual STS Conference on May 7th, 2019 in Graz.
In this session we discussed how successful gender equality policies in academia can be implemented through a cultural change.
After eleven presentations, the invited experts discussed with the audience in an open fishbowl conversation about their success factors and valuable lessons learned. One of the key messages was to use windows of opportunities, may it be a change of laws or policies, which can be used in favour of implementing gender equality or meeting the right person at the right place or reacting quickly with a gender-proposal, when the university needs a proposition for their performance agreement with the ministry of science. And above all networking and good working relationships within RPOs, with RFOs and within the gender community have been named as immensely valuable not only for individuals but for the greater cause of structural and cultural change in research and academia.
 
Sara Diogo
added a research item
Based in the CHANGE (H2020 funded) project, this paper puts in perspective the reality of a Portuguese university in terms of gender representation in its governance and management bodies. Portuguese higher education institutions (HEI) are excellent case-studies of women representation in academia, considering their significant presence and rapid growth in HEI. As the system expanded, and democratised it also became more feminised. Nevertheless, and despite efforts to minimise gender gaps, women are still underrepresented in top management and leading positions, contributing to increment the phenomenon of vertical segregation. Recently, within the NPM and managerialism context, HEI have been subjected to external pressures to create a new institutional and organisational environment aimed at substituting the collegial model with a managerial one. In this context, there is also a trend to replace the election by the nomination as the dominant process to occupy decision-making positions. In this paper, the authors discuss if and how the way decision-making bodies are constituted, influence the gender balance of their members. Both quantitative and qualitative data are analysed. Quantitative data result from the analysis of the gender constitution of the decision-making bodies of the university. Qualitative data focus on the content analysis of legal documents describing the mission of the decision-making bodies and in 12 interviews with institutional key-actors. The authors conclude that the gender balance decreases with the increasing importance of the decision-making body. Nevertheless, it is not possible to say that there is a direct relation between the way actors are chosen to these bodies and its gender balance. By other words, the way actors are chosen can not be seen as the only factor influencing the gender constitution of decision-making bodies. Furthermore, interviewees do not perceive the way actors are chosen as a relevant mechanism to improve gender equality and neither actions in this domain were identified to be included in Gender Equality Plans. This study provides a relevant contribution to the literature on mechanisms and strategies to improve gender equality in institutional decision-making processes and bodies. Keywords: Glass ceiling; universities; gender balance; decision-making bodies 1) Challenging Gender (in)equality in Science and Research. The project involves six countries: Israel, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Slovakia and Portugal.
Sara Diogo
added a research item
Based in the CHANGE (H2020 funded) project, this paper puts in perspective the reality of a Portuguese university in terms of gender representation in its governance and management bodies. Portuguese higher education institutions (HEI) are excellent case-studies of women representation in academia, considering their significant presence and rapid growth in HEI. As the system expanded, and democratised it also became more feminised. Nevertheless, and despite efforts to minimise gender gaps, women are still underrepresented in top management and leading positions, contributing to increment the phenomenon of vertical segregation. Recently, within the NPM and managerialism context, HEI have been subjected to external pressures to create a new institutional and organisational environment aimed at substituting the collegial model with a managerial one. In this context, there is also a trend to replace the election by the nomination as the dominant process to occupy decision-making positions. In this paper, the authors discuss if and how the way decision-making bodies are constituted, influence the gender balance of their members. Both quantitative and qualitative data are analysed. Quantitative data result from the analysis of the gender constitution of the decision-making bodies of the university. Qualitative data focus on the content analysis of legal documents describing the mission of the decision-making bodies and in 12 interviews with institutional key-actors. The authors conclude that the gender balance decreases with the increasing importance of the decision-making body. Nevertheless, it is not possible to say that there is a direct relation between the way actors are chosen to these bodies and its gender balance. By other words, the way actors are chosen can not be seen as the only factor influencing the gender constitution of decision-making bodies. Furthermore, interviewees do not perceive the way actors are chosen as a relevant mechanism to improve gender equality and neither actions in this domain were identified to be included in Gender Equality Plans. This study provides a relevant contribution to the literature on mechanisms and strategies to improve gender equality in institutional decision-making processes and bodies.
Anita Thaler
added a research item
Why has gender equality still not been accomplished in academia? Studies and experiences from gender equality practitioners have pointed towards several problems like resistance, power issues and the knowledge-to-action gap (Karner et al. 2017). Additionally another cause could be identified: conflicts of feminist actors who share a common goal, but differ in their ‘gender knowledges’ (Albenga 2016, Wetterer 2009), and in their status. In European gender equality projects often three prototypes of feminist actors are working together: the feminist engineer/scientist, the gender equality officer and the gender scholar. Prototypically, all three of them are using their ‘everyday gender knowledge’, the gender equality officers draw additionally their expertise on practical ‘gender expert knowledge’, while gender scholars debate ‘scientific gender knowledge’ (Wetterer 2009). These three types of knowledges can lead to a “conflict of knowledges” (Albenga 2016, p.140). This is the first arena of the feminist conflict in academia. The second arena of the feminist conflict can be explained with a concept of ‘outsiders’ and ‘insiders’ (Laube 2017). While feminist engineers/scientists, gender equality officers and gender scholars with permanent positions at universities are in fact in an ‘outside’ position because of their feminist commitment, they are because of their permanent positions, ‘within’ the university, that is why Heather Laube (ibid.) calls them ‘outsiders within’. Contrary to this ‘within’ position, project-based gender scholars are ‘outsiders’ (ibid.), who share the feminist idea of gender equality in academia with all the other mentioned actors, and also bring in scientific and often also gender expert knowledge, but their status in the academic hierarchy is lower. The main thesis of this paper is that gender equality in academia could be reached more efficiently, if feminists of all backgrounds and with different knowledges would join a ‘feminist fight club’ (Bennett 2016), which aims at fighting sexism, discrimination and inequalities but without fighting each other (‘rule number three’, Bennett 2016). As one key element of an ‘academic feminist fight club’ the method of co-producing gender equality knowledge with different actors will be discussed (Karner et al. 2017).
Jennifer Dahmen-Adkins
added a research item
In this paper we elaborate on the most significant changes reported on at the end of a four-year long European gender equality change project. During these four years more than 20 change agents actively worked to implement gender equality action plans in seven different research institutions. During the final months of the project, monitoring data was collected from these change agents, and from stakeholders and beneficiaries from the project, regarding their experiences of the most significant changes in their institutions. The stories about most significant change was collected by means of a questionnaire/interview guide that asked the participants to reflect over, and share, the most significant change during the project from both a personal and an institutional perspective. The personal stories submitted were categorized into three different types of changes: changes in knowledge/awareness, changes in behaviour and changes in daily lives. In addition, stories about three different types of institutional changes were also collected: changes in culture, changes in practices/policies and changes in structures/management. Some of the changes described involved increased influence in the decision-making processes, the realisation of a new, gender equal, salary system, gender budgeting, improved gender balance in boards and committees, gender networks and improved communications. The paper explains in detail how the change stories were collected and argues for the importance of collecting such stories to understand how the implementation of action plans can contribute to the closing of the gender gap in academia.
Anita Thaler
added an update
On International Women's Day, the CHANGE team (#CHANGErs) tweeted about being a woman in science and spread the good news about the newly published She Figures, with current data and statistics about gender equality in science and research.
For instance it is stated in the She Figures (2018) that:
"The EU is approaching gender balance among doctoral students ... in both science and engineering ... number of women grew..., and even when they have tertiary education, women are more likely than men to be unemployed. "
Thus, the goals mentioned in the 2018 Report on equality between women and men in the EU (https://t.co/OdJ0OqV4eb) stay very important: (1) equal economic independence of women & men; (2) equal pay for work of equal value; (3) equality in decision-making; (4) ending gender-based violence; (5) promoting gender equality beyond the EU.
 
Anita Thaler
added an update
The United Nations dedicated 11 February as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. The team of CHANGE took also the opportunity to take a stand for women and girls in science, and shared their thoughts about being a woman in science, engineering and research.
See also:
 
Jennifer Dahmen-Adkins
added an update
Our suggestion for an open panel at next year's 4S Conference in New Orleans (https://www.4s2019.org/accepted-open-panels/) has been accepted and now we're looking forward to your contributions.
Please spread also the word to people in your networks who are working on this issue. See you maybe in NOLA!
38. Disrupting from the Inside: Towards a Research System Change
Jennifer Dahmen-Adkins, RWTH Aachen University
Anita Thaler, IFZ – Interdisciplinary Research Centre for Technology, Work and Culture
For decades the European Union has policies in place and funding offered to foster gender equality in academia and research. The notion has turned from ‘fixing women’ to ‘fixing the institutions’ while at the same time new paradigms like ‘Responsible Research and Innovation’ (RRI), which see gender equality as integral part of research processes and contents, are proclaimed and advocated by the European Commission. But these policy-driven and requested change processes face inner-institutional as well as societal resistance (e.g. right political movement). Holistic systemic approaches are necessary to disrupt and interrupt traditional organizational structures towards social gender just work environments. The stronger institutionalisation of gender studies for instance in US American universities supported structural changes within the organisations, and makes gender equality efforts on the other hand more difficult in the majority of European institutions where gender studies are not structurally present and thus not acknowledged as research field. And while many European research performing organisations are still lacking gender programmes and gender equality offices, the feminist STS community discusses for decades the necessity to reflect on intersectional, LGBTQI* and postcolonial perspectives, which should be included in structural change policies as well.
In this open panel we want to stimulate cross-cultural knowledge exchange and try to foster the dialogue on intersectional perspectives on structural change in science and research organisations. We welcome theoretical and empirical papers, which contribute towards a better understanding on how structural and institutional conditions of precarious employment affect personal careers in multiple ways.
We are interested in papers on the macro-level of science policy and performance evaluation, on the meso-level of university governance and organisational effects (like ‘advanced discrimination’), and on the micro-level of individual careers and psychological factors (like ‘embodied anxiety’). Beside social justice, gender, and intersectional analyses, we especially encourage queer-feminist approaches and LGBTQ* perspectives. We would like to stimulate a discussion of papers, who dare to develop the vision of a fair, inclusive and just academic environment – how can disruptions from the inside work towards a system change in research and higher education?
 
Anita Thaler
added an update
CHANGE has three main characteristics:
  1. We have Transfer Agents (TAs) in our teams who help implementing gender equality in their organizations (Ideally ‚gender champions‘ or feminist leaders like our advisor Andy Dainty, Dean at Loughborough Uni).
  2. We co-produce gender equality knowledge together (in our group of very diverse people from diff. disciplinary, cultural backgrounds; plus with relevant stakeholders too).
  3. We focus on key sites of inequality in our organisations - thanks to our advisor Pat O‘Connor - and we start immediatly to work on them, starting with quick actions, to gain some quick wins.
Yesterday we organized our very first TA workshop and put our concept into action!
 
Anita Thaler
added an update
We brought together the background of CHANGE (why do we need structural change?), the rationale and core ideas of the project, plus all the outcomes we are working on in the next 4 years (and beyond) in one flyer - please let us know: What do you think?
 
Anita Thaler
added an update
Jennifer Dahmen-Adkins & Anita Thaler held a series of 3 workshops about structural change in academia at the annual conference of German universities’ gender equality officers. The stakeholder workshops focused on:
  • resistances & solutions
  • support mechanisms
  • sustainable change strategie.
 
Anita Thaler
added an update
We are presenting our project CHANGE and gender equality research results at the Gender Equality in Higher Education conference im Dublin!
 
Jennifer Dahmen-Adkins
added an update
We are currently working on finalizing the webpage for the CHANGE project, but the logo is already ready!
 
Anita Thaler
added an update
The structural CHANGE project funded by the European Commission had its kick-off meeting from May 14-16th in Graz to start the gender awareness raising phase. Beside the project team also EC policy officer Nina Baumeister came to present the EIGE GEAR tool, comprising relevant information and data about implementing GEPs (gender equality plans) in universities and research organisations.
 
Anita Thaler
added an update
We have started our European Commission funded project on structural changes in academia towards more gender equality an May 1st 2018 and you can follow us on Twitter too!
 
Anita Thaler
added a project goal
The main aim of CHANGE is it to support research performing organisations (RPOs) to design and implement gender equality plans. This will be achieved by involving key actors, called Transfer Agents (TAs), within each organisation who will together with the core consortium partners transmit co-produced gender equality knowledge inside their institutions. This innovative approach will ensure the promotion and sustainable institutionalisation of the gender equality action plans (GEPs) beyond the project duration. Furthermore, through mutual learning and networking CHANGE will enable partners to become resource centres skilled to provide gender equality knowledge and expertise to other RPOs and also RFOs (research funding organisations). With such a co-production of knowledge approach and by building communities of practice among RPOs in each participating region, support and mentorship structures will be established and work even after the project is finished. Regular inclusion and exchange with national and European stakeholders (policy makers, researchers, ministries etc.) ensures a spill-over effect of CHANGE results to other RPOs and RFOs in their respective countries as well as with other ministries in the whole European area. As one of many results, CHANGE will produce policy papers based on this strategic stakeholder involvement including actual policy makers and relevant stakeholders in the policy paper production. With this approach we aim at closing the research-to-action gap, respectively the theory-to-practice gap. Thus CHANGE contributes to a structural change towards gender equality in the European Research Area by stimulating institutional cultural change towards gender equal work environments in RPOs and fostering the importance of gender dimension inclusive research and innovation programmes in RFOs.