Every month, for you, EPWS presents the characteristics and activities of one Member Association.
Our member for March is the international network eument-net (European Network of Mentoring Programmes for the Advancement of Equal Opportunities and Cultural and Institutional Change in Academia and Research)
For eument-net, Kateřina Cidlinská, Chair of the eument-net and coordinator of the Czech mentoring programme for early career researchers (Institute of Sociology, Czech Academy of Sciences) has accepted to answer the EPWS questionnaire.
Contact this association: If you like to contact it, please contact its Chair person.
Contact this member: email@example.com
Association website: www.eument-net.eu
EPWS: If you wanted to describe your association in one sentence, what would you say?
Eument-net (European Network of Mentoring Programmes for the Advancement of Equal Opportunities and Cultural and Institutional Change in Academia and Research) is a simple partnership-association (without legal statutes) of mentoring programmes linked to academic or research institutions, which provides support and experience exchange for mentoring programme coordinators.
EPWS: What are the objectives of your association?
The eument-net aims at promoting the advancement of equal opportunities and careers and access to decision-making positions of women and other underrepresented groups in academia and research in Europe through mentoring programmes. We see mentoring programmes as a part of institutional, national and European strategies for Human Resources development and institutional and cultural change in academia and research. We focus on supporting mutual learning and exchange of experience among coordinators of mentoring programmes, and on popularizing and consulting activities for which we use the analysis of our members and other mentoring experts and researchers.
EPWS: what is the history of eument-net, in a few words?
In 2007, eument-net has started as an EU project supported by FP6. The consortium consisted in five partners from Austria, Bulgaria, Germany and Switzerland. Since 2008, eument-net has been established as an association, open to new members. Until today eument-net has 28 members from 6 countries.
In 2017 we have changed our legal status and Statutes. For being more flexible and inclusive we decided to be a simple partnership-association without legal statutes. Until then, only mentoring programmes could be full members with rights to vote and to put forward candidates for election to the organizational structures of the association. It meant disadvantage for individuals or institutions that shared the eument-net goal but were from European regions where gender equality policies in academia had no history and where, consequently, mentoring programmes were not yet established. We evaluated this state as an indirect discrimination based on the lack of financial resources and political will of institutional decision-makers to establish their own mentoring programs. We identified it also as a barrier for fulfilling eument-net goal, which requires discussion with and support from people in decision-making positions. The experience exchange in eument-net can prepare you better for these discussions. It also informs “Western” part of the European academic community about the conditions for promoting gender equality measures in Central and Eastern Europe. This knowledge is very important in designing international projects.
For these reasons we would like to use the present opportunity to announce that participation in eument-net is no longer conditioned by having an own mentoring program. Not only programmes can be members but also individuals, departments, institutions. We want to especially encourage people and institutions from Central and Eastern Europe to enter the eument-net: we will be very happy if we will hear a stronger voice from this region in eument-net in order to understand more deeply the dynamics of (not only) gender inequalities in academia in Europe.
The other change is that we have widened our thematic scope. From the network of mentoring programmes promoting women’s careers (our former name was European Network of Mentoring Programmes for Women in Academia and Research) we transformed to a network of mentoring programmes tackling not only gender inequalities that pose barriers for a career in academia and research. We hope that this transformation will enable eument-net to contribute more effectively to the cultural and institutional change of the academic landscape in a way that will be more inclusive for women and other currently underrepresented groups. Therefore, we also invite to eument-net those mentoring programs that are not for women only but recognize and support eument-net goal.
EPWS: Could you explain the organisation of your association?
eument-net is a simple partnership-association (without legal statutes) of mentoring programmes linked to academic or research institutions. Members can be academic or research institutions, which coordinate a mentoring programme promoting cultural and institutional change in academia or research, which recognize the purpose of the association and are ready to promote it. Beside members, eument-net also has associate members – individuals or institutions, who recognize the purpose of the association and are ready to promote it and who either consider setting up a mentoring programme or have specific scientific or professional expertise related to the aim of the Association. Members and associate members have equal rights.
EPWS: What are its recent achievements?
Eument-net is in a state of “restart” of its activity now. Last year for this purpose we organized an international workshop “Mentoring programs – a tool to develop gender equality, diversity, internationalism and interdisciplinarity in research and academia” which took place on 23th November in Prague. We are very happy that that attendance was large, that even people from non-member institutions came and that they showed interest in future cooperation and eument-net membership.
Here you can see the book of mentoring programmes presented on the workshop – genderaveda.cz/en/snaphots-from-conference-on-mentoring-programs.
EPWS: What is your agenda for the coming months?
Our plan for the year 2018 is setting cooperation between mentoring coordinators, experts and researchers in motion. For this purpose we are preparing a mentoring panel “Mentoring programs – a part of cultural and institutional change in academia and research” for the 10th European Conference on Gender Equality in Higher Education which will be held 20-22 August 2018 in Dublin. In this panel we plan to introduce an analysis of the data from members´ mentoring programmes. We will focus on the possibilities of mentoring programmes to be effective not only on individual level for concrete researchers, but also on cultural and structural level and to contribute to wider changes of academic environment.
We also plan to organize a workshop for mentoring program coordinators and those who are thinking about setting their own mentoring program. The workshop will have a “train the trainers” format and will be devoted to the method of peer-group mentoring, to be more specific – how to support peer mentoring in your programme. The topic has arisen from Prague workshop in 2017. We hope there will be a chance to use the opportunity of the mentioned Dublin conference to hold the workshop there and the next eument-net General Assembly too. For the updated information, please monitor our website.
EPWS: Are you collaborating with other EPWS members?
Our collaboration with other EPWS members until today has been based mostly on sharing our expert knowledge during conferences. Eument-net former Chair Helene Füger was invited as a speaker e. g. at yearly conferences of the French association Femmes & Sciences in 2007 and 2017, and in 2007 at the international conference organized by Bulgarian Association of University Women. Since our foundation we were also in closer contact with these EPWS members: BeWiSe – Belgian Women in Science, CEWS e. V., National Conference of Gender Equality Officers in Higher Education, Deutscher Ingenieurinnenbund, FRAU-Female Researchers at Aarhus University, BASNET Forumas. Helene Füger has been also a member of KOFRAH – the network of equal opportunities delegates at Swiss Universities. We will be happy if there will be further possibilities for cooperation with the named organizations and also with other EPWS members.
EPWS: What do you expect from EPWS? In what ways can it help you develop your action?
As we are an international European association, we would be very happy if EPWS could help us to widen our network through informing its members about our activities. In the future, we would like to have not only more members from more countries, but also to develop closer cooperation between particular mentoring programmes. Maybe in further future we will set up some international mentoring programme or scheme where mentees will be able to cooperate easily with mentors and other mentees from other countries. We see such international cooperation of women and other underrepresented groups in academia and research as very important if these groups could profit from the phenomenon of internationalization of academic environment.