Interview of the Month: ASDO (04/2017)

Every month, for you, EPWS presents the characteristics and activities of one Member Association.

Read all the previous Interviews with our Members here


Our member for April 2017 is the Italian association ASDO.



For ASDO, Giovanna Declich, Executive director, has accepted to answer the EPWS questionnaire.

Contact this association: info@asdo-info-org

Contact this member: Giovanna Declich

Association website:


EPWS: If you wanted to describe your association in one sentence, what would you say?

G.D.: ASDO is a non-profit social research organisation based in Rome (Italy), specialised in the study of contemporary knowledge-based societies from a gender perspective. ASDO is in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC).

EPWS: What are the objectives of your association?

G.D.: The general aim of ASDO is promoting an updated knowledge on women as key actors for understanding and solving crucial issues for contemporary societies. By systematically introducing gender in the study of the dynamics characterising the labour market, political and social life, scientific research, technological innovation and other spheres, ASDO tries to bridge a gap in the interpretation of the transformations under-way in contemporary societies, and to promote a greater awareness of the potential of gender diversity.

EPWS: What is the history of ASDO, in a few words?

G.D.: In the early 1980s a group of women researchers and political activists started to promote a family-friendly policy within their own organisations, creating two childcare services with the main aim of assuring women’s full participation in working, social and political life and conducting an action to educate men to fatherhood. The promoters were the original core group members of the association.

In the first half of the 90s, the need was felt by ASDO to strengthen the gender focus in its research activities as a crucial epistemic viewpoint, going beyond the – always present – concern about women’s conditions.

In the spring of 1995 ASDO was formally established and, in the same period, it opened up to international relations by taking part in the Beijing Summit on Women. It would then constantly and actively follow up the development of gender actions within the United Nations. 

In the following years, ASDO enlarged its scope of activity and its geographical reach, thus enriching its international and European network. This led to the cooperation with international organisations like the World Bank, UN Women, and the International Organization for Migration, and to liaise with networks as, among others, the Huairou Commission, the Centre of Arab Women for Training and Research (CAWTAR) and the European Women’s Lobby.

Since 2008, ASDO has been strongly committed to the implementation of projects aimed at promoting and encouraging women’s access to and full participation in professional fields connected with science and technology. As a partner, it is involved in several projects under the EC 7th Framework Programme and Horizon 2020.

Mid-term workshop of the STAGES Project


EPWS:Could you explain the organization of your association?

G.D.: The official representatives of ASDO are the coordinator and the executive director. To implement its activities, ASDO avails itself of the professional work of a dozen consultants, collaborators and interns.

EPWS:What are its recent achievements?

G.D.: In recent years, ASDO pursued several research lines, connected to women’s social action; gender, welfare and social exclusion; women returning to the labour market; women and politics; women’s careers and leadership; women and science.The most recent projects which have been carried out include the following ones:

Practicing Gender Equality in Science (PRAGES). Guidelines for implementing equality-oriented initiatives in scientific departments and institutes and database of good practices in Europe, USA, Australia and Canada (2008-2009).

Women hitting the target: gender management in scientific and technological research (WHIST) (2009-2010). Support action including three pilot initiatives on gender equality at the European Space Agency (ESA), the Fraunhofer Society (Germany), and the Aarhus University (Denmark) (2009-2011).

Towards Women in Science and Technology (TWIST). Coordinated activities to raise awareness on the role and representation of women in science and technology throughout science centres and museums in Europe (2010-2011). 

Rapid qualitative assessment in Togo on gender and economic decision-making, to inform the World Bank World Development Report on Gender Equality and Development – WDR 2012 (2011).

Three projects on discrimination dynamics among specialists in clinical microbiology and infectious diseases, encompassing a survey, a qualitative study in six European countries and the setting up of a resource tool (2011-2017).

Structural Transformation to Achieve Gender Equality in Science (STAGES) aimed at concretely applying different self-tailored action plans geared at introducing gender-aware management at all levels in each of the research institutions participating as project partners (2012-2015).

Final conference of the STAGES project

EPWS: What is your agenda for the coming months?

G.D.: In the coming months, together with its European partners, ASDO will conclude the TRIGGER project (Transforming Institutions by Gendering Contents and Gaining Equality in Research, 2014-2017), aimed at implementing five gender action plans in as many European universities, and will keep its commitment in the LIBRA project (Leading Innovative measure to reach gender Balance in Research Activities, 2015-2019), geared at promoting gender equality in ten European research institutions in the field of life sciences.

As far as possible, an attempt will be made to liaise with other international organizations to extend to non-European countries the reflection and action on gender equality in research and scientific organizations, in connection with the sustainable development goals pursued by the United Nations (SDG – Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls).

EPWS: Are you collaborating with other EPWS members?

G.D.: The cooperation with individual members of EPWS, as well as the official representatives of the Platform, is constant. Members of the EPWS have been repeatedly invited to be members of the international boards of scientific advisors in the projects ASDO is involved in and are frequently invited in public conferences and workshops to present their activities.

Final guidelines of the STAGES project

EPWS: What do you expect from EPWS? In what ways can it help you develop your action?

G.D.: EPWS is an important voice in monitoring and publicly reporting Europe-wide on the state of the art of gender equality in European science. We expect it will go on lobbying for keeping alive, with critical eyes, the observation of what happens in the ERA landscape and relaunching more advanced goals to achieve. Indeed, as it has been evident in recent years, at each political and programming turning point the risk emerges anew of putting aside the objectives of equality that have been fixed by the European policies, which would result in a reduction of funds and lower public attention.

Mutual learning meeting of the TRIGGER project with other projects funded under the FP7


Mid-term workshop of the TRIGGER project



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