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Baltic Consortium on Promoting Gender Equality in Marine Research Organisations

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - Baltic Gender (Baltic Consortium on Promoting Gender Equality in Marine Research Organisations)

Reporting period: 2017-12-01 to 2019-02-28

Marine Science and Technology is traditionally a male-dominated field, with a significant lack of women in leadership positions. There is an urgent need for harvesting the whole capacity of men and women alike at all levels of research and in the technology teams to tackle the various challenges lying ahead in the marine environment.
Baltic Gender brings together eight scientific institutions in five countries around the Baltic Sea to work on reducing gender inequalities in Marine Science and Technology. Acting as a platform for the exchange of institutional practices and the transfer of know-how between the consortium partners, Baltic Gender is working towards the establishment, implementation and advancement of Gender Equality Plans (GEPs) in its partner institutions.
The implementation phase of the GEPs began in the second half of the project. Following the analysis of gender-segregated and aggregated data on 13 indicators collected from the partner institutions as well as a review of the legal and policy frameworks in the partner countries, Baltic Gender produced a detailed list of recommended actions for the individual GEP implementations. Following these recommendations, the Estonian Marine Institute at Tartu University and the Marine Research units at Klaipėda University (i.e. Marine Research Institute & Faculty of Marine Technology and Natural Sciences) implemented their first GEPs. The other six partner institutions, which already had GEPs at the start of the project, are in the process of incorporating the Baltic Gender recommendations in line with the institute-specific timeline of GEP revisions (The Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemünde, Finnish Environment Institute, Kiel University of Applied Science, Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel) or revision of action plans for gender mainstreaming (Lund University). A qualitative and quantitative evaluation of the status of the GEPs was carried out (formative evaluation) and is part of the second periodic report.
In parallel to the work conducted at the project level, each partner is engaged in the dialogue with stakeholders to integrate the outcomes of Baltic Gender in strategic planning and decisions. With the stakeholder analysis Baltic Gender pinned down: (i) the internal stakeholders we already perform a beneficial dialogue with; and (ii) the external stakeholders with whom the project can engage more dynamically in the third reporting period.
Career advancement of female scientists and technicians was supported via promoting their visibility, strengthening their networks and promoting their leadership qualities. A blog series entitled “Women in Marine Science and Technology” portrays the career paths of women at different stages of their profession and highlights their achievements as a role model for others. Grass-root networks, which were established in all partner organisations, and an international mentoring programme of the project contribute to the career support of early to mid-career female marine scientists via organising seminars / trainings, giving possibilities for networking and improving their managerial abilities. In addition female marine scientists at various levels of their academic career were supported via an independent review of their academic portfoilios and both female and male marine scientists improved their leadership skills in the course ”Gender and leadership”.
Baltic Gender works toward the nourishment of a family-friendly working culture that would lessen the challenges between work and family in its partner organisations. A blog series entitled “Work and Family: sharing the caring” portrays the experiences of female and male researchers in sharing the care of children and elderly in the family (e.g. between working parents). Based on the institutional practices of its consortium, Baltic Gender produced a report (and an accompanying online leaflet) with exemplary practices and recommendations for facilitating a better work-life balance among employees in higher education. Additionally, a checklist gives guidance on how an employer can support its staff members going into a career break and returning to work.
Structural change was addressed via the review of existing structures and procedures at the partner institutions and also via institutional trainings on specific topics. An in-depth review of structures was carried out under consideration of five categories (decision-making, allocation of resources, recruitment, staff development and awareness raising) with potential for change towards a better participation of female scientists. This review led to the publication of the brochure entitled “Gender equality in Marine
On the one hand, Baltic Gender strives to engage in a dialogue with and to give recommendations to the stakeholders at the partner institutions to lead the way to institutional changes via GEPs. On the other hand, it seeks to initiate trainings, networks and guidance to establish a more attractive and bias-free working environment for women in Marine Science and Technology.
An international mentoring scheme has been set up and is running successfully. It supports early to mid-career female marine scientists to obtain a leading position within the Marine science and Technology community.
As a highlight, the brochure “Gender equality in Marine Sciences. Best practices on structural change” is foreseen to lay the foundation for mutual exchange of the successful implementation of measures and processes that support structural change towards gender equality in Marine Science.
Baltic Gender is also working on a new methodology for identifying and incorporating gender questions in the content of marine research. This methodology can have important implications for how future research programmes and projects are developed in Marine Science and Technology.
Institutions participating in Baltic Gender