European Research Area – Progress Report 2013

The ERA Progress Report 2013 provides a snapshot of the situation in Member States and some Associated Countries. It represents the baseline for a full assessment of progress next year. For the first time, European Union Member States, stakeholder organisations, research-funding and research-performing organisations and citizens have a comprehensive overview of the political context, steps taken and first achievements towards the completion of European Research Area. 
In terms of gender, European research still suffers from a substantial loss and inefficient use of highly skilled women, and from a lack of gender dimension in research content.

From the report: “Furthermore too few women are in leadership positions or involved in decision-making. In 2010, women represented 46% of EU PhD graduates, 32.4% of researchers, 19.8% of senior academic staff. Gender unbalance is more striking in decision-making, where only 15.5 % of women are heads of institutions and 10% are rectors in the higher education sector.

Concerning the labour market, the MS must apply the provisions of the Directives on gender equality established at EU level. Specifically in the field of research, MS use different mechanisms to promote gender equality. Based on current information provided by MS29, measures, incentives and/or strategies for gender equality are in place in at least 18 MS to various degrees. Among them, targets are set in at least 10 MS, specific legislation for gender equality in research is in place in at least five MS and four MS require action plans for gender equality at the level of research performing organisations. Some MS (at least 4) report the inclusion of a gender dimension in research programmes. Several MS (at least 13) have legal provisions requesting a minimum share of females in evaluation and recruitment panels.

Activities implemented in connexion with gender issues30 by research performing
organisations (percentage of organisations)

Awareness programmes to attract girls to science and women to research are enforced by more than one third of MS (by at least 10, based on current assessment and information provided by MS). Four out of the five SHO partners in the ERA platform have implemented actions addressing gender issues: adoption of internal policy and position papers, round tables, guidelines, working groups and dedicated sections in surveys. EIROs also implement a variety of actions to improve gender balance.

Among the universities and research performing organisations which responded to the ERA survey 2012 (“responding organisations” for short), the “median” share of women in recruitment panels is 40% while in research evaluation committees it is slightly above 30%. The ERA survey 2012 results also show that among the activities implemented in connection to gender issues, half of the responding organisations in the EU are implementing work-life balance measures and more than 30% allow for flexible career trajectories. Less than 20% apply recruitment and promotion policies and provide support leadership development for female researchers. Slightly over one tenth have guidelines of best practices and networking opportunities for female scientists. The share is somewhat higher in AC than in MS, mainly because of the strong initiatives of the Nordic countries.

About 23% of the responding organisations have drawn up a gender equality plan or strategy. More than half of the responding organisations in the EU have targets for achieving gender equality and around one third support / request audits of existing procedures in order to identify gender bias.”

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