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Gendering the Academy and Research: combating Career Instability and Asymmetries

Article Category

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Research and gender

Researchers have implemented actions in European universities and research centres to promote a gender culture and combat gender stereotypes and discriminations.

Society
Fundamental Research

The EU-funded GARCIA project identified five main problems faced by research institutions regarding gender inequality: the impact of national and local welfare and gender regimes and the fact that work is organised in a gendered way; the limited use of gender perspective in both research content and student curricula; gender biases in recruitment and selection; the fact that decision-making is opaque and institutional practices are gender-biased. GARCIA proposed an innovative approach. Its main focus was on the early stages of research careers, particularly of those researchers with non-tenured positions since they are usually not included in the Gender Action Plans (GAPs). The GAPs of the project were implemented in six beneficiary institutions and targeted both SSH (social science and humanities) and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) departments. Researchers analysed the influences that welfare and gender regimes have on structuring the career opportunities for women in academic occupations. This helped them expand self-tailored GAPs that are specific nationally and locally. They also deconstructed the traditional dominant ideology considering female inferiority in STEM disciplines as well as the gender discriminating mechanisms taking place in SSH. A design and methodological toolkit on how to support early career researchers through GAPs was created for use in all administrative levels and academic fields in European academic and research institutions. The University of Trento (UNITN) undertook the general management of the project involving various activities. UNITN also provided assistance to the beneficiaries during the entire project, keeping them informed of the progress/problems/delays and clarifications. One of the main results was a project website (see link above) that includes information on the activities, beneficiaries and contacts, and access to the project intranet system, a press section and an events page. All the organisation diagnoses, the actions implemented and the toolkits elaborated during the project were collected in the editorial project “GARCIA working papers”. Results were also disseminated via a logotype and brochure representing the visual identity of the project. Three main worldwide social media accounts were also opened. Six main conferences were organised and an edited volume with the main project results was published for students, researchers and policymakers.

Keywords

Gender, early career researchers, GARCIA, STEM, SSH

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