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Gender equality – a priority in Horizon Europe and for your ESRs

8th March 2021 at 6:11 pm

Happy International Women’s Day! Today, women and their rights all around the globe are in the spotlight. The first female President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has made clear statements about the Commission’s support for gender equality. Already last March 2020 the EC launched its Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025, defining a clear commitment to advancing gender equality. Now, one year later, the Commission also reconfirmed gender equality in science, research and innovation as a key priority, fully integrating it in Horizon Europe. Indeed, the new research and innovation framework programme introduces stricter requirements for funding, concretely acting in support of gender equality.

Gender equality in Horizon Europe

Two of the key objectives for gender equality in Horizon Europe are: 1) to  have a higher representation of women in research and innovation programmes and 2) to improve the integration of the gender dimension in the content of research and innovation projects.

These objectives were already part of the ERA Communication 2012 framework  and are now being taken up again, highlighting the still present need for concrete action and improvement in this regard. To “Develop concrete plans with Member States to promote gender equality, as well as diversity and inclusiveness, in science, research and innovation” is indeed one of 14 actions defined in the new European Research Area.

While having a higher representation of women is an easy to grasp aim, though it remains challenging to achieve, there is often a blur surrounding the integration of the gender dimension in the content of research and innovation. Alongside the benefits of working in gender balanced teams, the inclusion of sex and gender aspects in research and innovation leads to research outputs and innovations that are of higher quality, more societally relevant and of added business value, as they address the whole population and not predominantly one gender. From the most obvious fields of biology and medicine to the least suspected artificial intelligence and even construction, there are sex and gender aspects to be considered and analysed in almost all research fields.

How to raise awareness for gender equality in the next generation of (early-stage) researchers?

At accelopment we highly value the importance of gender-diverse teams and we support the progression of gender equality in education, research and innovation. This is why we offer a gender equality in research online training module, specifically designed for ESRs in ongoing H2020 Marie Skłodowska Curie Innovative Training Networks (ITN), to discuss gender inequalities in research as well as possible ways to consciously address them through research itself. Researchers in their earliest careers are trained to become the future leaders, decision-makers, expert scientists, and perhaps also the next Horizon Europe grant applicants.

It is crucial for them to be aware of and understand gender equality in the research context, for them to make the most of their collaborations and generate not just good but excellent research progress. Understanding and putting into practice a gender equal attitude will improve their leadership and teamwork capabilities, irrespective of their gender. Indeed, in defiance of stereotypes, gender equality goes well beyond being just a women’s issue.

How comfortable and knowledgeable are you and your ESRs when it comes to gender equality in research? Test some basics with the quiz below.

Gender equality quiz

Gender equality quiz

What percentage of top academic positions are occupied by women in Europe?
Single choice
What percentage of patent holders in Europe are women?
Single choice
Which of the following is a definition of gender?
Multiple choice

Get in touch with us to discuss your options for training modules tailored to your needs.

Dr Emily Rose Ciscato

Dr. Emily Rose Ciscato
Project Manager Communications