NEWS (Network on ethnicity and women scientists) Final Report
The NEWS project targeted three groups of women scientists, namely migrants, refugees and ethnic minorities, and aimed to:
1. develop a state of the art network on ethnicity and women scientists in connection with existing national and international similar networks
2. promote a public debate at the national and European levels on the issue of gender and ethnic diversity in science.
National reports were produced by the participating members and integrated into a comparative European synthesis report that provided an analysis of the level of education and position of immigrants and their descendants in the labour market. The project research hypothesis was that the invisibility of women scientists from ethnic minorities, along with the possible existence of gender and ethnic discrimination in science, had negative effects on science development due to loss of talents, competence and knowledge. As a consequence, the obtained results raised significant questions regarding the European research area (ERA).
Firstly, the lack of reliable statistics containing long term data was highlighted. In general, the accessibility of minorities to tertiary education gradually improved during the past decades; nevertheless, their representation in the academic population remained low in comparison to the countries' ethnic majorities. Moreover, minorities usually held more unstable working positions, were less likely to be on fixed term contracts and were usually part-time personnel. The recruitment practices that were observed demonstrated more or less transparent rules. However, there was significant scope for informal decisions in recruitment and appointment. The sense of public accountability was relatively weak, while in most cases no concrete policies relating to migrant and minority staff recruitment existed, even though some initiatives towards such procedures were already undertaken in some cases. On the other hand, networking activities were observed between women scientists; however none of them was grounded on ethnicity.
The European synthesis report that was produced as part of NEXT provided recommendations based on the project findings. Firstly, it highlighted the need for improved integration of the gender and ethnic dimensions in higher education. Secondly, it proposed measures concerning the field of statistics, research, educational and employment policies and networking. Finally, it suggested the adoption and effective implementation of numerous guidelines by national and international authorities, which could to be combined with a raising awareness campaign, a monitoring scheme and an evaluation process. These observations were also disseminated via the organisation of an international workshop and resulted in the production of the final NEWS policy paper. Finally, a project website containing useful information was developed.