The issue of women and science is at the core of the European Research Area. The under representation of women in science is hindering the full realisation of the ERA's potential and the achievement of the Lisbon objectives. The project aims at implementin g the policy debate at national, cross-national and European level and developing synergies between Members States and Associated States to boost gender equality in research. The objective is to organise a Conference (Women in Science: Mainstreaming gender equality in the European Research Area, Rome, 3rd December 2003) with the sponsorship of the Italian EU Presidency to maximise the European added-value. The event will include the Ninth Meeting of the Helsinki Group (on purpose jointly planned in Rome, 4t h-5th December 2003) as an integrant part. The Conference focus will be on encouraging co-ordinated approaches: exchanging experiences and good practice, transferring know-how, comparing and evaluating existing policy measures. The starting point is buildi ng upon the work of the Helsinki Group on Women and Science. This objective should be reached by addressing three main topics: the presence and role of women in science (through a compared analysis of available statistics and appropriate indicators), the i dentification of the know-how to form gender competencies (in relation to both the promotion of specific new training areas and the introduction of gender aspect within traditional disciplines), the visibility of women researchers (women's participation to scientific information and public understanding of science, fostering a better and tighter interaction between the media and female scientists). The final point is the adoption of a conclusive paper identifying key issues and policies, best practice and n ew tools as a contribute to the Helsinki Group Work Plan in order to build a consensus for future action and also as a starting point towards a new partnership for further#'
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