EPWS 2020 contribution for the French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation
It consisted of two reports:
- the first one was a summary in French of the Proceedings of the EPWS-Donne e Scienza 2018 Conference on “#WeTooInScience – Sexual Harassment in Higher Education Institutions and Research Organisations“, Pisa, Italy. The published English Proceedings are available at http://www.donnescienza.it/2018-wetooinscience/
- the second one was an original work in French, with annexes in English, on “Dissemination of knowledge about gender – Integration of the gender dimension in research in Europe”. Its summary and a link to the full report are just below.
Summary of the 2020 EPWS report to the French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation
“Dissemination of knowledge about gender Integration of the gender dimension in research in Europe”
The 2020 request of the MESRI to EPWS to write a report on the “Integration of the gender dimension in research in Europe” falls into a domain of expertise of EPWS. In Germany knowledge on this topic has been developed for many years. In France the Research National Agency (ANR), a research funding organization, partner of the GenderSMART EU project, organized a colloquium on this topic at the end of 2020 to raise awareness on this issue.
At the European Union level, the inclusion of gender dimension in research content was one of the three gender objectives of Horizon 2020 Framework Programme (2014-2020). At the end of 2020, the Gendered Innovations 2 report gave the status quo on this issue, then described 15 case studies in various disciplines and the methodology to be followed; the European Research Council (ERC) organized a workshop on this matter. The present report will summarise recent information and will give the example of a scientific and technological EU project on photovoltaic energy, GRECO: gender equality is not the project main challenge, but a component of the adopted approach inside Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI).
II. Definition of the “gender dimension of science”
“Taking into account the “gender dimension” – that is, ensuring that the biological characteristics, as well as the social and cultural features, behaviours and needs, of both women and men are taken into consideration – is vital for the societal relevance as well as for the quality and reproducibility of research, and thereby crucial to secure Europe’s leadership in science and technology, support its inclusive growth and respond to global challenges and sustainable development goals”.
Jean-Eric Paquet, DG, DG Research and Innovation, interview on the EPWS website, Dec 1st 2020
III. EPWS contributions to this topic
1. EPWS statutes
As early as 2005, integrating the gender dimension in research is mentioned as one of the two EPWS missions.
2. EPWS 2013 benchmarking report to the French ministry of Research
The EPWS 2013 benchmarking report for the French ministry of Research (https://epws.org/epws-2013-report-to-the-french-ministry-of-higher-education-2/ ) was about “Study on improving European projects content (in Horizon 2020 Framework Programme) by integration of the gender dimension – hints and tools”, i.e. a topic close to that of the present report..
However, in spite of the fact that the gender content of research was one of the 3 “gender objectives” in Horizon 2020, DG Research recent documents stress that there is still progress to achieve in this domain in the new Framework Programme Horizon Europe.
3. The EPWS 2015 Berlin Conference: “Ready for Dialogue”:
It aimed at establishing an alliance between gender researchers and policy-makers on this topic, see https://epws.org/ready-for-dialogue/
4. EPWS 1st Memorandum about Gender in Horizon Europe (2018)<
Written in reaction to the Commission‘s 1st draft of Horizon Europe Framework Programme, it gave precise recommendations on the way to integrate the gender dimension in the various foreseen parts of the future Framework Programme.
IV. Contributions at EU level 2013-2020
1. Gendered Innovations project 2011-2013
This topic is a collaboration between DG Research and the University of Stanford USA, both projects being led by Prof. Londa Schiebinger. Here are the main links to the results:
-Gendered Innovations project at Stanford https://genderedinnovations.stanford.edu/
2. Gendered Innovations Project 2nd report (EU and Stanford) in 2020 (Science, Health and Medicine, Engineering, Environment)
A second report was issued in 2020, see https://op.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/33b4c99f-2e66-11eb-b27b-01aa75ed71a1/language-en/format-PDF/source-search
3. GENDERACTION project
Among the documents produced by this current project, led by Marcela Linkova, several are dealing with gender dimension in science content, and examples are given in the domains of tHorizon Europe Missions. Some examples can be found using the links:
4. ERC Workshop “Sex and Gender dimension in frontier research” (Nov. 2020)
A video recording of this workshop and some presentations are available at the link https://erc.europa.eu/event/sex-and-gender-dimension-frontier-research
Note a very good presentation on the gender biases in Artificial Intelligence and the ways to counteract them by using social sciences results in a quantitative way.
5. Other EU projects
The EU technical project GRECO on solar energy is taken as an example.
The interest of the gender dimension in research has been pinpointed for years, the methods exist; however there is still resistance from many researchers. The EU impetus in this field is of great importance (in particular in Health, in Artificial Intelligence…) to ensure gender equality in our society in the future.
Claudine Hermann and Giuliana Rubbia