The European Platform of Women Scientists has more than 100 member networks in 40 countries that represent more than 12.000 women researchers. Strengthened by the disciplinary and geographical diversity of its membership and its highly profiled Board of Administration, the Platform rapidly established its place in the European and national research policy debates.
In the past five years, EPWS continued to elaborate its set of unique selling points, profiling the Platform against fellow institutions and consolidating the basis for its future existence:
- Close contact with the community of women scientists
EPWS’ key assets with respect to other groups, institutions and initiatives in the field are its close links with the European community of women scientists in all disciplines, among them also gender specialists. These links are strengthened thanks to discussions with the members of the Association and through constant dialogue with EU research policy institutions and the Brussels science community, thus rendering EPWS a key strategic actor in the research policy debate.
- Coordinated political interventions on gender equality in research
The direct contact with the science community enables EPWS to establish an active and ongoing exchange of ideas on women and science issues, to identify and harness the concerns, needs, ideas, aspirations and interests of European women scientists and to unite their forces and coordinate their voice(s) in the European policy debate, via diverse channels such as position papers, replies to public consultations etc.
- Structural link between the research community and policy makers at EU level
EPWS facilitates a structured, informed, targeted and constructive dialogue between the community of women scientists and research policy makers at EU level, addressing national, European and international institutions. EPWS monitors, evaluates and comments on the policy debate and the development and implementation of gender mainstreaming in the European Research Area. EPWS harnesses the needs, concerns, aspirations and interests of women scientists to develop a coordinated position on specific issues and promote the integration of the gender dimension in all areas of research policy in particular at a European level.
- Cooperation broker for member networks and other stakeholders
EPWS acts as a broker for cooperation among its member networks as well as between members and other stakeholders, facilitating common projects and interchanges in the field of research as well as in the field of networking and policy intervention. The Platform helps in the identification of collaboration partners and provides suggestions of high-profile speakers and experts for boards and panels.
- Data bases
EPWS has created, manages and continuously up-dates a data base of networks of women scientists. The data base contains contact details of more than 223 networks of women scientists and networks promoting women scientists that are active in the EU, associated states and beyond. More elaborate information on more than 145 networks is also available. Other data bases, e.g. on good and bad practices in the promotion of gender equality in science or on role models will follow.
- Strengthening civil society structures and empowerment in the area of research and gender equality
EPWS supports the work of existing national, regional and international networks of women scientists – addressing researchers from all disciplines: natural, social and medical scientists, plus women scientists working in engineering and technology, the humanities and the arts. It promotes and strengthens civil society structures, with a special focus on the promotion of networking among women scientists in Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkan Countries as well as in the private sector in order to increase the voice of these women in the research policy process.
- Information and knowledge management
Through its monthly newsletters, regular news alerts and the open as well as the restricted areas of its electronic platform, EPWS forwards targeted information from all its areas of activity to all its target groups. The newsletter and news alerts with news on latest developments in EU research policy and activities of EPWS members, including calls for papers, award entries and announcements of conferences and publications, edited background information on European Women and Science Policy, currently reach around 1,600 multipliers all over Europe and beyond; the public website counts around 10,000 visitors per month.
- Monitoring/ benchmarking/ evaluation
EPWS collects good and bad practices of equal opportunities policies and their implementation in all research areas and their respective institutions: the academic sector as well the business sector, international as well as national, regional, and local institutions. These practices include measures promoting women scientists and the gender balance in research decision making bodies, the promotion of networking, mentoring and training schemes as well as awareness raising activities. By evaluating and benchmarking these practices, EPWS is able to identify possible points for political intervention and to support the continuous adjustment of measures. EPWS also identifies women scientists, women research decision-makers and those who encourage and promote them as potential role models.
- Concepts and projects
Together with member networks EPWS develops innovative concepts and projects going beyond single target groups and coaches their implementation. These include the integration of the gender dimension in research proposals and in ongoing research projects as well the organisation of conferences, sessions and studies. The results are disseminated into the decision making processes of politics, science and economics and encourage an increased commitment to gender equality.
EPWS will further establish its expertise to conduct surveys and studies which may serve as background information and precondition for consultancy.