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Gender, Mobility and Career Progression in the European and the New Zealand scientific Markets

Final Activity and Management Report Summary - GEMCAP (Gender, Mobility and Career Progression in the European and the New Zealand scientific Markets)

This project examined the relationship between scientific excellence, human mobility and gender equality in the context of EU and New Zealand (NZ) scientific markets. Specifically, the project concerned the tensions that exist between the commitment to family-friendly policies and measures designed to promote reconciliation of work and family life, on the one hand, and measures designed to meet the needs of the European labour markets through the promotion of mobility for highly skilled workers, on the other. The study focused on the flow of scientific post-doctoral researchers (post-doc) between NZ and the EU. It considered the implications of science mobility for the EU and NZ and for scientists and their families.

The project involved two phases. The first phase consisted of a legal and policy analysis of the area connected with reconciliation between work and family life and highly skilled mobility and resulted in the publication of a key output in the form of a monograph: E. Caracciolo di Torella, A. Masselot, 'Reconciling Work and Family Life in EU Law and Policy', (2010) London: Palgrave Macmillan. The book deconstructs three types of measures associated with reconciliation: leave, time and care with a view to establishing a conceptual framework of the relevant legislation and to support future developments. Ultimately, it argued that the EU should develop a family principle rooted in human rights where caring is seen as an ongoing daily process that should figure prominently in any scenario for future social policy.

The evaluation of law and policy on reconciliation in NZ has led to international research collaborations in the form of an edited volume 'Families, Care-Giving and Paid Work' by G. James and N. Busby to be published in 2010 by Edward Elgard Publishing Ltd. The researcher contributes to a chapter "The Right and Reality of Flexible Working Arrangements in NZ", which provides a critical analysis of law and policies on reconciliation in NZ as contrasted by the EU. The second phase of the project was concerned with an assessment of the impact of the law on the lives of women and men via an in-depth, empirical, evaluation of the lives of a cohort of mobile male and female scientific post-doctorates. The methodology for this phase involved interviewing a total of 112 European citizens employed in scientific post-doctoral positions in NZ and NZ citizens doing a post-doc in Europe. The analysis of these interviews resulted in the submission of "Highly Skilled Migrants and Transnational Care Practices: Balancing Work, Life and Crisis over Large Geographical Distances" to the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, which argues that legal provisions available to migrant scientists facing family crisis are typically lacking or inadequate as they are primarily designed for non-mobile persons.

Results of the second phase lead collaborative work in an ESRC funded research lead by L. Ackers and F. Beveridge on Building Capacity in Empirical Socio-Legal Research. As a project partner, the researcher presented "Gender, Mobility and Career Progression in the EU and the NZ Scientific Markets" at a workshop on 'Showcasing Real Life Empirical Socio Legal Research' at the University of Liverpool in 2008. This paper analyses the experience of an established researcher switching mid-career from theoretical to empirical research. It also details the process of the GEMCAP project, including collecting data on a transnational level, setting and analysis of interviews and managing qualitative data.