Eurodoc Open Science Ambassador Training

International Women’s Day: time for gender equality in research is now!

Eurodoc strives to improve the working and living conditions of Early Career Researchers (ECRs), a collective term with which Eurodoc considers doctoral candidates and postdoctoral researchers. Eurodoc strongly believes that to grow healthily, European society must guarantee that equal access to educational and financial resources is available for all to pursue their own personal and professional development. As part of its annual strategic goals, Eurodoc has chosen to focus on Equality issues and advocates for promoting equal opportunities for all ECRs wishing to pursue a career in research.

Women rarely have the same opportunities as men professionally to reach positions of responsibility, prestige and power, something known as vertical segregation. They may also experience horizontal segregation, reflecting an unbalanced concentration of women in certain career paths. For example, Social Sciences and Humanities are often treated as “women’s business”. In contrast, fewer women work in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) sector, constituting only 40.8% of employees, with wide differences across EU countries (She Figures 2018, p. 40). The UN’s Gender Social Norms Index (GSNI) shows that almost 90% of men and women hold bias against women and attitudes have even worsened recently in some of the 75 countries analysed.

The importance to develop strategies within a large community

Gender inequality may result from age, socio-economic status and the degree of awareness within the community each woman lives. In general, ‘inequality’ is increasingly understood as the result of intersecting factors such as gender, ethnicity, socio-cultural and religious background, sexual identity and familial obligations (Report of the European University Association - EUA - on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion). Studies on these issues are focusing on the concept of intersectionality to consider not only the main cause of discrimination, but all combined sources and their aggravating effects (see the position paper of the League of European Research-Intensive Universities and EUA report). This calls for a systemic approach on the issue of gender equality. 

This is why Eurodoc recently joined the Community of Practice (CoP) on sustainable gender equality, a collective of European universities, research/innovation institutions and research-funding organisations committed to advancing the implementation of the European Research Area gender goals. Amongst the collective, Eurodoc is the only organization representing ECRs.

Through this project, Eurodoc will be able to address its goal of providing equal opportunities for ECRs within a large community and to improve the working and living conditions of ECRs by reducing gender discrimination. To achieve this, Eurodoc is implementing a social media campaign to raise awareness on equality in the research community, a survey to collect the opinion of ECRs on gender equality, and give them the opportunity to anonymously report the current situation across Europe. In partnership with the CoP, Eurodoc will work on developing guidelines and good practices to gather opinions, requests and advice on gender equality in the research environment.

Follow the hashtag #Eurodoc4Equality!

What can I do?
Share your opinion! If you want to help us to build a research environment free from gender discrimination, please join the Eurodoc Equality working group by writing an email to equality@eurodoc.net!

Eurodoc Equality Working Group.
Thanks to (in alphabetical order): Véronique De Herde, Luciana Forti, Giulia Malaguarnera, Sara Pilia (WG Coordinator), Mathew Tata for their contributions to this article.