Screenshot of online workshop

Collaborating to create a gender equal and inclusive agenda for CIVICA

8-12-2020

In line with the core principles of the European Union, gender equality and inclusion are foundational values of CIVICA. To exchange on these topics and share best practices, 30 faculty and staff members from CIVICA partner universities as well as experts from other institutions participated in a virtual Gender Equality and Inclusion Workshop organised by Sciences Po’s Gender Studies Programme, PRESAGE, on 19-20 November 2020.

Through lively discussions and presentations spanning three sessions, participants took first steps to build a common identity and set of practices grounded in gender equality and inclusion, and to create synergies across the CIVICA alliance.

Sciences Po Vice President for International Affairs, Vanessa Scherrer, opened the workshop stressing that gender equality and inclusion are top institutional priorities for each of the CIVICA partner universities and for their deepened collaboration as an alliance with civic impact.

In the first session, participants split into groups to identify main gender equality challenges in their institutions as well as crucial measures for advancing gender equality in higher education. They reunited in the plenary session for a discussion of lessons learnt, good practices, and to assess approaches for improving gender equality. In the session’s conclusion, Aurélien Krejbich, CIVICA’s Executive Director, urged partner universities to integrate gender equality in the alliance’s practices from the very beginning. Krejbich highlighted the chance to establish CIVICA as a European University committed to gender balance and gender sensitivity.   

The second session zoomed in on research that can provide evidence of gender equalities and bias in higher education and research institutions. As a successful example of gender institutionalisation and access to EU funding, Hélène Périvier gave a short overview of the history and mission of Sciences Po’s transversal gender studies programme PRESAGE, which she directs. Three experts presented their ground-breaking research on gender bias: Anne Boring (University of Rotterdam and Sciences Po) discussed gender biases in student evaluations of teachers, Paola Profeta (Bocconi University) shared her insights on gender equality in decision-making positions, and Paula de Dios Ruiz and Lorena Pajares Sánchez (Universidad Complutense de Madrid) explained how COVID-19 and the lockdown affect working conditions and gender.

Following the research presentations, Maxime Forest, Sciences Po researcher and Principal Evaluator for the SUPERA project, moderated a discussion on the impact of intersecting inequalities on gender and inclusion, prompting the participants to identify and share policy responses relevant to their institutions.

The workshop’s third and final session focused on achieving an inclusive university. Forest outlined the current European agenda to mainstream gender in research and innovation, thus providing a context for CIVICA’s specific role in advancing gender equality and inclusion in academia. CEU’s Andrea Krizsán gave a presentation on conducting a gender equality audit, while her colleague Ana Belén Amil provided a guide on dealing with resistance to change.

An open discussion on the importance of academic freedom, moderated by Périvier, reaffirmed the CIVICA partners’ commitment to defending EU core values. Participants agreed to use their cumulated experience to push the boundaries of current strategies to combat inequalities, in a shared mission to consolidate CIVICA as a European University with gender equality and inclusion at its core. To this end, they issued a number of gender and inclusion recommendations for the alliance.

The workshop was the first in an annual series to foster best practices and innovation in institutional inclusion policies across the alliance. CIVICA hopes to create a community of faculty and staff to exchange regularly on these topics. The 2021 workshop will be hosted by Central European University and will address inclusion in the student body.