Fostering Gender Equality in Research Institutions through Transformational Gender Equality Plans

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This paper draws upon baseline evidence compiled for the FP7 Project “INstitutional Transformation for Effecting Gender Equality in Research” (INTEGER) in three very different research and higher education institutions. Despite institutional commitments towards gender equality, there is an under-representation of women at full professorship (Grade A) and equivalent positions. Furthermore, women and men are unequally represented on key committees and other decision-making bodies. INTEGER’s task is to address these and other imbalances through the adoption of Transformational Gender Action Plans (TGAPs). These T-GAPs involve: increasing the visibility and leadership potential of women academics/researchers; monitoring and gender proofing of recruitment/retention and promotion policies and practices; ensuring gender balance on decision-making bodies/committees; providing mentoring programmes and training in gender awareness to overcome unconscious bias at all levels of the institution; setting targets for high level appointments; and promoting gender equality as a core value contributing to research excellence. The T-GAP process is informed by international good practice through peer mentoring with research institutions in the UK/EU and USA and alignment with the Athena SWAN Charter and equivalent award holders. In addition, an external evaluation team assesses progress and impacts of the T-GAPs in each organisation. The paper presents common and different approaches of designing institutional transformation, strategies for building alliances in the institution for effective implementation of the T-GAPs and how the processes can be evaluated.

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