Happy International Women’s Day!

International women's day

Today, on International Women’s Day, the OXIPRO project looks at the issue of gender in the EC project funding framework: Horizon 2020. This was the first framework programme to include a specific article on gender equality in its regulations, and to establish gender as a crosscutting issue.

The OXIPRO project is one of the few initiatives that stands out with strong scores on gender balance indicators. Let’s look at some of these scores compared with overall scores for Horizon 2020 projects[1]:

  • OXIPRO is coordinated by a woman and five out of its eight work packages are led by women. In Horizon 2020, just 23% of Project Coordinators are women.
  • 49% (37 of 75) of the project participants, including non-research personnel, are women. This is 42% in H2020,
  • One of the three advisory board members is female, whereas the score for H2020 is 25%, including members in advisory groups, expert groups, evaluation
    groups and panels,
  • Importantly, the OXIPRO project design incorporates a strong gender dimension. Only 23% of H2020 projects include this.

Why is the latter important? Integrating the gender dimension adds value to OXIPRO outputs and results in terms of excellence, creativity, and business opportunities. Additionally, it encourages our researchers to question gender norms and stereotypes, to rethink standards and reference models, and leads to a better understanding of consumer needs, expectations, and attitudes. The gender dimension enhances the societal relevance of the knowledge we create, technologies and innovations we produce, and contributes to the production of environmentally friendly consumer products better suited to future markets.

For entities that wish to participate in Horizon Europe, the calls with deadlines from 2022 onwards have a Gender Equality Plan (GEP) as an eligibility criterion. According to the EC website[2], there are three main levels at which gender equality is considered in this framework:

  1. having a Gender Equality Plan (GEP) in place becomes an eligibility criterion for certain categories of legal entities from EU countries and associated countries
  2. the integration of the gender dimension into research and innovation content is a requirement by default, an award criterion evaluated under the excellence criterion, unless the topic description explicitly specifies otherwise
  3. increasing gender balance throughout the programme is another objective, with a target of 50% women in Horizon Europe related boards, expert groups and evaluation committees, and gender balance among research teams set as a ranking criterion for proposals with the same score

These requirements indicate that things are moving in the right direction, so let’s look at some current stats from She Figures[3],

  • women occupy only 26% of top academic positions
  • women are still under-represented in the STEM fields (about 25%)
  • women represent less than 10% of inventors
  • at Bachelor’s and Master’s levels, women outnumber men as students (54%) and graduates (59%), and there is a close gender balance at Doctoral level (48%) in EU27. However, disparities between study fields persist. For example, women still represent less than a quarter of Doctoral graduates in the ICT field (22%), while they represent more than 50% in the fields of health & welfare and education (60% and 67%, respectively). Nevertheless, some positive trends can be observed, such as an increase in the proportion of women holding the highest academic positions (26.2%) compared to the last edition (24.1%)

#SheFigures #GenderEquality #UnionOfEquality #EUResearchArea

Happy International Women’s Day, from all at OXIPRO

[1] https://ec.europa.eu/info/funding-tenders/opportunities/portal/screen/opportunities/horizon-dashboard

[2] https://ec.europa.eu/info/research-and-innovation/strategy/strategy-2020-2024/democracy-and-rights/gender-equality-research-and-innovation_en

[3] European Commission, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, She figures 2021 : tracking progress on the path towards gender equality in research and innovation, Publications Office, 2021, https://data.europa.eu/doi/10.2777/602295


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