Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
RN24_09: Gender in/equality in science and technology
Friday, 23/Aug/2019:
11:00am - 12:30pm

Session Chair: Heta Tarkkala, University of Helsinki
Location: UP.3.213
University of Manchester Building: University Place, Third Floor Oxford Road

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Gender Diversity Leads to Better Science

Nataly Buslón Valdez

Barcelona Supercomputing Center

Gender diversity leads to better science, innovation and benefits for scientific progress. Nevertheless, the under-representation of girls and women in science is a global phenomenon. Recently, Nature (2018) has published a study that points out the gender bias in the workplace, more specifically in science. Women face biases and barriers at all turns within the scientific community, from publishing, funding and hiring, to promotion to more seniors positions, recognition and visibility. According to United Nations (2017) only 28% of all researchers in the world are women. Scientific evidence shows structural barriers for girls and women, such deep inequality that do not happen by chance, many women and girls are held back by discrimination, biases, social norms and expectations that influence the quality of education they receive and the subjects they study. This presentation aims to discuss the gender inequality in science but also addressing the gender issue in the medical studies. Even today, in medical field, practice is less evidence-based for women than for men due to a bias towards the study of males in scientific research. The usual approach in scientific research is to ignore sex or to analyse only one sex and assume the results apply to the other sex. Gender equality in the medical and health sciences and elsewhere is therefore a priority. It is important to work all together crafting solutions to improve lives and generate inclusive growth that benefits us all.In this sense, we want to present this social aspect in science and explain the Bioinfo4women Programme to build a better knowledge in bioinformatics making visible the women work, in order to multiply their scientific and social impact.

Exploring the Relationship Between Gendered Team Dynamics and academic performance.

Elisabeth Anna Guenther1, Anne Laure Humbert2, Julio Meneses3, Jörg Müller3

1Universität Klagenfurt, Austria; 2Oxford Brookes, UK; 3Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain

This paper opens up the black-box of the often discussed gender gap in research performance. Empirical studies are largely inconclusive, with some finding evidence of a gender gap (Abramo, Cicero, & D’Angelo, 2015) while others do not (Nielsen, 2017). Meta-analyses have shown that this may be because there is no simple or linear relationship between gender diversity and performance indicators (Haas, 2010; Webber, 2001). In addition, this relationship may vary within different subject areas, or in relation to the overall working environment (especially the team).

This paper thus explores this further and examines the relationship between gendered team dynamics and performance using multilevel modelling. It builds on a cross-country survey of R&D teams in Europe (H2020 GEDII project 2015-2018). The dataset provides information on 1,357 individuals, working within 159 teams. In our models, we rely on socio-demographic data (e.g. care responsibilities, experience, etc), information about the team (e.g. team climate, gender stereotypes, power disparity, etc). We also include a Gender Diversity Index, a composite indicator that considers the representation and attrition of women and men within teams along seven grounds of diversity. Performance is measured through self-reported publication output but also through outreach activities and academic governance roles.

Our contribution provides a compelling snapshot of the contemporary gendered aspects in R&D teams while contributing to critical discussions on gender diversity and research performance.

Genderspecific Discourses on the Legitimacy of Informal and Formal Promotion Practices in Scientific Careers

Andrea Wolffram, Jennifer Dahmen-Adkins, Matthias Dorgeist, Anne Göttgens, Astrid Schulz

RWTH Aachen University, Germany

Fostering equal opportunities in technological careers is on top of the political agendas in most European countries and beyond. Research institutions put effort in developing and implementing career supporting measures. However, from an organizational sociological perspective, it is known that organizations do not rely solely on their formal structures, but rather compete or correspond with existing personal networks in an organization. Accordingly, we examine academia for their invisible control mechanisms. How can informal processes unfold in science and who shapes these processes? Influencing finally takes place against the background of formal structures and standards that are regulated by university laws for example such as selecting new staff members and appointing professors. If networks can be understood as a link between structures and individuals, the question arises, under which individual and structural conditions can actors (and which ones) influence the invisible control? Which orders of justification are referred to with regard to informal promotion and staffing practices if, in return, with regard to formally legitimised gender equality measures, there are fears that performance equity will be jeopardised?

Our presentation based on qualitative Interviews with postdocs and professors carried out in a research project funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research, called GenderNetz. It focusses on examining informal networks and their influence on research career in technological disciplines in science and industry. Experiences from the EU-funded gender equality projects FESTA, GenderTime and CHANGE on organisational structural change in science and research institutions build an additional source of information for this paper.

Barriers To Implementing Gender Equality Measures In Physics – Lessons Learned From GENERA Project

Paulina Sekuła

Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland

Gender equality in research and academia is nowadays high on the political agenda of the European Union and some of the European countries. They provide legal and financial incentives to research organizations and higher education institutions for implementing gender equality measures. Despite these efforts and some improvements, many organisations still face under-representation of women among scientific staff and in decision-making bodies. This raises questions about the barriers of effective implementation and sustainability of gender equality measures in research and academia.

The former Horizon 2020 project GENERA (2015-2018) focused on effective structural change through designing and implementation of Gender Equality Plans customized to circumstances and needs of 11 research organizations active in physics and related fields. The challenges and barriers to their implementation were investigated thoroughly with the use of various research methods, including desk research, semi-structured and expert interviews as well as ex-ante and ex-post evaluation interviews. Drawing upon both these results and the experience of the member of a team implementing gender equality plan in one of the research organisations the various categories of barriers will be analysed. Among them lack of awareness and denial of existence of the gendered processes as well as individual and institutional resistance to implementing gender equality measures will be investigated.

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