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Mapping gender and the Sixth and Seventh Framework Programmes

There is widespread agreement that gender relations are central to most social, economic and political experiences. Gender research increasingly informs policy initiatives at the national, European and international levels. A current debate in this field is whether this resear...

There is widespread agreement that gender relations are central to most social, economic and political experiences. Gender research increasingly informs policy initiatives at the national, European and international levels. A current debate in this field is whether this research should increasingly focus on gender-specific work or rather aim to mainstream issues in other areas of scholarship. The European Commission's opinion is that both approaches can and should be pursued. To support this conclusion, a report, 'Gender research in the Sixth Framework Programme and the first period of the Seventh Framework Programme', has been published to show that such an approach can be successfully implemented. The report is divided into two halves: gender-focused projects, and projects with a substantial gender dimension. Many recent gender-based projects have focused on equality and discrimination. The main hypothesis of the Gendrace ('The use of racial anti-discrimination laws: gender and citizenship in a multicultural context' project, for example was that differences exist between the uses made of the law by men and women. The goal of this project was to increase understanding of double discrimination - race and gender - and to develop tools to better assess the effectiveness of anti-discrimination policies. A similar project, entitled 'Quality in gender equality policies' (Quing), examined the need for more inclusive gender equality policies. In addition to assessing the quality of existing gender equality policies, it made recommendations to ensure that policymaking can effectively contribute to equal citizenship in a multicultural Europe. Another project (Veil) looked at values and differences in liberal democracies, focusing on debates about female Muslim headscarves in Europe. As with Quing, Veil drafted recommendations for national and European policy makers for dealing with cultural diversity. Another key thematic strand in recent EU-funded gender-based research has been migration and integration. A project on the needs for female immigrants and their integration in ageing societies (Femage), for example, examined economic and social obstacles female immigrants face, and identified requirements for greater integration. Another project on gendered citizenship in multicultural Europe (Femcit) developed a model of gendered citizenship that could be used as a tool of analysis for policy makers, legislators and the academic community. The integration of female immigrants in the labour market and society has also been the subject of EU-funded research. One study (Femipol) aimed to explore and analyse the impact of integration policies on the position of migrant women within EU countries. On this basis, it provided recommendations for appropriate policies to foster integration and produce greater social cohesion. This analysis focused not only on barriers to social integration, but also on the migration strategies and life plans of female migrants. Also within this thematic strand, the 'Gender, migration and intercultural interactions in the Mediterranean and South East Europe' (Gemic) project aimed to enhance evidence based policy-making in gender and migration. The 'Welfare and values in Europe: transitions related to religion, minorities and gender' (Wave) project aimed to generate new insight into the religious, minority and gendered values which influence social cohesion and social change in European society. Gender-specific research has also covered human rights. The 'Co-ordination action on human rights violation' (CAHRV) study, which focused on interpersonal violence, aimed to overcome fragmentation in research, policy and practice by integrating parallel research discourses on violence. It also sought to make standards for services and interventions available on a European level. Another gender-focused project (Maggie) looked at major ageing and gender issues in Europe, arguing that gender gaps in quality of life are shaped by socio-cultural issues such as welfare regimes and economic circumstances and that national and EU policies play a major role. Another highlight of the Commission report are cross-cutting projects, a number of which have sought to integrate gender issues into a broader framework of research. One study (Cliohres) focused on creating a new historical research agenda by integrating European historiographical communities. Six co-ordinated research studies on citizenship, identity, gender, migration, discrimination and tolerance were carried out. Similarly, the 'Global governance, regionalisation and regulation' (Garnet) project focused on the development of a European research area for global governance, regionalisation and regulation through the establishment of a multi-disciplinary European network of experts. Gender also has a role to play in economic analyses. A project on economic change, quality of life and social cohesion (Equalsoc) explored how differential life chances reinforce differences between social categories, such as gender, class and ethnicity. Another project (Workcare) explored the relationship between the labour market, demography and welfare and economic policies, and attempted to integrate perspectives of gender and care into its analysis. Similarly a study on reconciling work and welfare (Recwowe) integrated existing research on relationships between work and welfare, with the aim of sharing knowledge built up through its activities. EU-funded research into migration has also focused on gender. A study on international migration, integration and social cohesion in Europe (Imiscoe) brought together the work of some 300 researchers, with the aim of engaging more researchers from central and eastern Europe and the southern part of the Mediterranean Basin. Similarly, the network of research centres in human sciences on the Mediterranean area (Ramses2) aims to enhance the scientific value of research concerning the Mediterranean area and to combat the fragmentation of research. To accomplish this, the network has organised an integrated task force with the purpose of detailing the different cultural traditions of the region. A micro-level analysis of violent conflict (Microcon) is also detailed in the Commission's study. This project aimed to promote an in-depth understanding of individual and group interactions leading to and resulting from violent mass conflicts by compiling and collecting data on violent conflict at the individual, household and group level. It also aimed to manage and support a pan-European team of previously scattered researchers from various social science backgrounds to form a coherent project on a fundamental area of social science research and policy. Finally, a project on reconstituting democracy in Europe (Recon) sought to clarify whether democracy is possible under conditions of pluralism, diversity and complex multi-level governance. This report illustrates not only the central role gender relations play across a range of experiences, but also how such relations are being addressed by European researchers under the Science in Society (SIS) thematic programme of Seventh Framework Programme. It is evident that gender is not something that can only be researched in isolation from other fields of study. The report ultimately hopes to raise awareness of women in science and promote better access to scientific studies and careers for women. //CPA