Implementing gender equality plans to unlock research potential of RPOs and RFOs in Europe
One of the main objectives of Europe’s societies is the elimination of all types of discrimination associated with gender. Despite a high number of highly skilled female graduates, there is still very few of them embracing a research career. With almost 60% of women graduates in EU, only one third of the EU’s researchers are women. In this context, ATHENA project aims at removing barriers to the recruitment, retention and career progression of female researchers; address gender imbalances in decision making processes and generate a cultural change needed to avoid future gender bias and discriminatory practices through the implementation of Gender Equality Plans (GEPs) in 6 Research Performing and 2 Research Funding organisations. These targeted organisations belong to Central Eastern EU countries and EU outermost regions that show some of the lowest Gender Equality Indexes in the EU. Thanks to the implementation of the GEPs, ATHENA will contribute to unlocking the research potential of these organisations thus improving the overall performance of the European Research Area and helping to close the innovation divide by avoiding the waste of talent and inefficient use of skilled women from weaker regions of the EU. To ensure systemic institutional change, ATHENA will first conduct an assessment of procedures and practices already in place in partner RPOs and RFOs, together with an analysis of the national legislation and policy frameworks. In parallel, it will put in place a participatory process aimed, on one side, to understand the needs and the preferences of the stakeholders and, on the other side, to train them with regard to selected topics related to gender. Based on these two approaches GEPs will be drafted, implemented and monitored in each partner organisation.