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Transparent And Resilient Gender Equality Through Integrated Monitoring Planning and Implementation

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - TARGETED-MPI (Transparent And Resilient Gender Equality Through Integrated Monitoring Planning and Implementation)

Reporting period: 2020-09-01 to 2021-11-30

Women are underrepresented in all disciplines and at all levels of academia, especially at professorial level, senior leadership roles (deans, vice-chancellors, presidents) and gate-keeping positions (editorial boards, research funding bodies). Academics in Business and Management (B&M) schools come from a variety of disciplines, including STEMM subjects such as mathematics, statistics, operational research and information science but also social sciences, arts and humanities, different intellectual traditions, approaches to understanding and methods for creating new knowledge, organisational socialisation practices, ways of work, and perspectives of the world. Such diversity poses complex challenges in ensuring Gender Equality (GE) in B&M schools. Their complex nature and multi-disciplinarity is an important research site to examine GE.

B&M schools also influence global GE practice in three key ways; i) through engaging with a wide range of stakeholders including industry leaders, policymakers and public and government bodies; ii) by preparing the next generation of gender-aware managers and leaders; and iii) through organisational capacity building of high performing and impactful research organisations. The development and implementation of Gender Equality Plans (GEPs) in B&M schools is vital for society; if they do not understand their own processes, their culture and the consequences, how can they effectively influence the wider society they serve and how can they address the needs of a diverse global society?

TARGETED-MPI’s overarching objective is to tackle gender inequality in B&M schools through the development, effective implementation, monitoring and evaluation of GEPs. TARGETED-MPI GEPs constitute tools for structural change in the partner institutions, underpinning the achievement of following objectives:
- Foster GE in research/academic careers
- Ensure gender balance in decision-making processes and bodies
- Integrate the gender dimension in research and innovation content.

TARGETED-MPI also aims to:
- Address knowledge and research gaps in order to advance the state of the art in GE debates
- Disseminate its findings and practices to the broader community of B&M schools in Europe and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
TARGETED-MPI employs a participatory, action-oriented, iterative framework to develop the GEPs of the partner institutions. GEPs are developed in two-phases, each including development, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation. The evaluation of the first phase GEPs provides useful feedback for improving the second phase GEPs. In the 1st Reporting Period (1/9/2020-30/11/2021) TARGETED-MPI reviewed and synthesised the current State of the Art (SoA) and State of Practice (SoP) on GE in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) (WP2). The synthesis of the SoA and SoP suggests that HEIs should pay attention to the gap between policy articulation at national level and policy implementation at institutional level, develop bespoke GEPs that consider the environment in which HEIs operate and their maturity level in policy development and implementation, and consider key GE enablers such as awareness raising, top management commitment, and GE data availability, definition, accessibility and visibility that support the development of evidence-based and data-driven GEPs. In line with its action-based approach, the project organised a workshop to elicit stakeholder views on the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of GEPs in academia (WP3). Workshop findings were reported in the project’s Green Paper, confirming the gap between existing GE policies and their implementation in HEIs and highlighting the need to raise awareness and overcome resistance in HEIs and to ensure commitment, transparency and accountability.

Based on these outputs, WP3 produced an integrated methodology for developing GEPs and templates (Cultural Web, GEP Development, Feasibility Check) and guidelines for its implementation. Using this methodology, partners collected and analysed focus group and interview data to identify GE issues in their organisations and produced their first phase GEPs. These include categories of actions related to establishment of a gender-aware and inclusive culture, gender-balanced decision-making and leadership, gender-aware recruitment and career development processes, support of work-life balance, collection and management of GE and sex-disaggregated data and GE awareness raising in the institution.

As part of evaluation, WP5 developed the GEP evaluation methodology; it identified a set of Key Performance Areas for GEP evaluation in HEIs and associated Key Performance Indicators, evaluating issues such as gender representation in the HEI, collection of GE data, and so on. WP5 performed an ex-ante evaluation of the GE status of partner organisations before the GEPs’ implementation, highlighting four common potential areas of intervention: gender composition of academic positions, career development and progression, human resource policies (work-life balance, workspace allocation, flexible working arrangements) and intersectionality.

In addition, TARGETED-MPI produced in WP1 a Policy Brief which includes recommendations for evidence-based GE planning, implementation and monitoring in HEIs. The Policy Brief identified issues associated with the management of the data needed for the planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of GEPs in HEIs and provided recommendations to policy- and decision-makers at institutional and national level for addressing these issues.
The TARGETED-MPI consortium disseminated project results (WP6) to the scientific and professional communities and to society at large through articles on the project website, the project social media activity, the production and dissemination of newsletters, presentations at conferences, GE networking and awareness raising.
TARGETED-MPI progresses beyond the state of the art by developing a theoretical base that combines relevant theories (critical perspective, feminist theory, gender neutrality), allowing for critical, collaborative action-based research that engages stakeholders to challenge and question taken-for-granted assumptions and practices on gender inequality. TARGETED-MPI developed a multi-layer conceptual model for identifying and classifying factors affecting GE in HEIs, which supports the systematic development of GEPs through the association of GE issues and GE actions. Moreover, TARGETED-MPI adapted the Cultural Web method as a gender-aware diagnostic tool that helps reveal deeper, implicit issues of how inequality is embedded in structures, processes, practices and systems, providing input for developing bespoke context-specific GEPs.

The TARGETED-MPI GEPs will have an impact on partner institutions by triggering institutional changes in their human resource management practices and by promoting GE, leading to improved career prospects for women, more gender-balanced decision making bodies and increased participation of women in research and innovation activities. The developed first phase GEPs foresee (among others) changes in the recruitment and career progression processes, and support for the collection and management of sex-disaggregated data.
TARGETED-MPI Project Structure