Carlos Frontera, researcher at ICMAB and member of the Gender Equality Committee of the ICMAB, attended on February 14-15, 2019, the European project LIBRA workshop to share experiences on “How to design, implement and follow-up a Gender Equality Plan”.
The 2-day workshop took place in Sitges. The ideas taken from the workshop will be shared with the Gender Equality Committee of the ICMAB, whose main objective for this year is the creation of a Gender Equality Plan for the Institute.
The 2-day workshop offered by LIBRA was aimed to share experiences in “How to design, implement and follow-up a Gender Equality Plan”, supporting research organisations to remove institutional barriers and empower all genders to be equally successful in their field and to ensure that the outcomes of the organisation’s research is relevant to all of society.
The workshop programme included sessions on "What is the issue about Gender Equality?", "Institutional change", "Incluse Environment", "Career Development", and "Do better science and impact the whole society".
The Course aim was to "Enable research institutions to bring long-lasting and profound structural change towards Gender Equality". The specific learning outcomes are: be able to audit your institution for gender equality; be able to design and implement a Gender Equality Plan; be able to follow-up the Gender Equality Plan; be part of a network of professionals who are driving gender equality in their institutions.
LIBRA is an EC-funded project that brings together ten research institutes in life sciences from ten European countries. All members participate in the alliance EU-LIFE, which aims to build and promote excellence in life sciences throughout Europe. Our commitment to excellence is by definition a commitment to Gender Equality as only fair and unbiased policies and processes will enable this scientific excellence.
About three years ago, LIBRA began to assess our institutional policies and procedures to identify gender biases and obstacles. In close collaboration, LIBRA partners designed individually tailored Gender Equality Plans for each of our institutions and are currently implementing them. The gender research organisation ASDO, whom we call our critical friend, accompanied and monitored the whole process and helped us to bring about long-lasting and profound structural changes.
In Europe, approximately half of PhD researchers are women. However, the percentage of women scientists starts to decrease at the postdoctoral level and drops dramatically at leadership positions. Multiple lines of evidence suggest that historical barriers and unconscious biases can account for much of that decline. Recognizing that research institutions need to make use of all talents in order to perform excellent research, these personal biases and institutional barriers for the advancement of women need to be identified and addressed.
Indeed, studies show that gender diverse research teams are more creative and productive than groups dominated by a single gender. Gender Inequality also impacts on research content: failure to consider the difference in biochemistry across sexes has led to a biased understanding of human health.