Within the framework of the GRC Annual Meeting, a meeting of the Gender Working Group was held
On 14 May, a meeting of the Gender Working Group (GWG) was held in Moscow within the framework of the annual meeting of the Global Research Council (GRC). Its theme was formulated as "Equality and Status of Women in Research". The meeting was attended by over forty representatives of sovereign research funders. During the meeting, a progress report on the work of the GWG was presented, followed by a discussion dialogue from a panel of Heads of Research Councils (HORCs) representing multiple regions, including the Executive Secretary of the Strategic program of scientific research, Côte d'Ivoire Dr. Yaya Sangare, General Manager Science Investment, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment New Zealand Dr. Prue Williams, the representative of the Group Executive: Strategy, Planning and Partnerships, National Research Foundation, South Africa Dr. Phethiwe Matutu, Secretary General, the Research Council, Oman Dr. Hilal Ali al-Hinai, Deputy Director General for Scientific Development, National Council on science and technology of Mexico, Dr. Julia Tagüeña Parga.
The panel was chaired by moderator Professor Andrew Thompson, Executive Chair, Arts and Humanities Research Council and International Champion for UK Research and Innovation The panel discussion made clear that although the scale of gender problems in the scientific institutions of the world varies from country to country, the existing contradictions are very similar, and therefore the ways to solve them most effectively is through joint efforts. The meeting participants brought up similar concerns, such as career progression opportunities for women with regard to competing pressures from career and family responsibilities, career breaks for maternity leave, gender equity on advisory bodies within research councils, addressing gender imbalance in some scientific disciplines. The methods of collecting and processing data necessary for the work of the Gender Working Group were discussed during the second session. RFBR was represented by RFBR Board Member Olga Dontsova, who presented to the group, and RFBR Expert, Russian Academy of Sciences Alternative Member Sergey Deyev. The session also included exploration of a partnership with the UNESCO SAGA project, representative Dr. Kim Deslandes presented on experiences of that project, in order to explore how to collect data across all GRC member councils. During a closed part of the meeting, the issues of GWG governance were considered, new members were accepted.
The following recommendations of the GWG to the GRC Board were unanimously supported:
- Promoting the 2016 GRC Statement of Principles and Actions on the Equality and Status of Women in Research more widely, and its translation into as many languages as possible;
- Expanding the work of the GWG on data collection, necessary for the work of the GWG, taking into account regional affiliation in order to create more accurate and reliable global reports with the eventual aim of creating a global GRC picture on data;
- Creating a book of good practice case studies to be shared with all GRC member councils to enhance the global exchange of experiences on gender equality;
- Identification of a representative from each GRC member organization for more in-depth work within the framework of the GRG.
The GWG was formed after the 2016 GRC Annual Meeting in New Delhi. Its participants endorsed the Statement of Principles and Actions Promoting the Equality and Status of Women in Research. The GWG is co-chaired by representatives from UKRI and NRF-South Africa, and includes members from all regions.