‘Investing in equal opportunities for women and men in research makes for teams that perform better and attract top-level researchers. Investing in a gender-sensitive approach to research content makes for higher quality and validity’. Toolkit: Gender in EU-Funded Research, Directorate-General for Research, 2009
Gender equality and Horizon 2020
Gender equality is a core policy of the European Union, and the EU Gender Strategy 2010-14 makes specific reference to gender equality in science and research.
The EU Directorate-General for Research believes that gender equality is intrinsically linked with excellence in research, and has introduced key structural changes to enhance gender equality in Horizon 2020 through:
- promoting gender balance in research teams;
- ensuring gender balance in its own decision-making processes;
- integrating sex and/or gender analysis into research design and content; and
- monitoring and evaluating the gender dimensions of its research projects.
Applicants to Horizon 2020 are required to:
- specify the sex of ‘the persons who will be primarily responsible for carrying out the proposed research’;
- undertake to promote equal opportunities between women and men, and aim to achieve gender balance at all levels in research teams. This will be a condition written into grant agreements;
- for all relevant topics, describe how sex and/or gender analysis has been taken into account in the project’s content. A topic is considered relevant ‘when it and/or its findings affect individuals or groups of persons’.
Gender balance in research teams will be used as a ranking factor to prioritise ex aequo proposals.
Gender equality at Oxford
Promoting gender equality is a key strategic priority for the University of Oxford, and our Strategic Plan contains an explicit commitment to increase the representation of women (p.12) (PDF).
We are taking steps to achieve gender balance in staffing and decision-making, at both institutional and department level, through our commitment to Athena SWAN, a national award scheme to promote women’s careers in science. All 26 MPLS and MSD departments currently hold, or have applied for, Athena SWAN awards and have action plans in place.
The Gender Charter Mark, an equivalent award for Humanities and Social Sciences, was introduced in October 2014.
The Equality & Diversity Unit and the European Team are working together to provide further guidance on how to integrate gender equality at each stage of the research cycle.