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EEUM participates in gender equality project
The School of Engineering of the University of Minho (EEUM) – through the Department of Information Systems (DSI) – joined the EQUAL-IST project, which aims at implementing innovative practices on gender equality. The consortium counts on 9 European entities from 8 different countries.
The EQUAL-IST: Gender Equality Plans for Information Sciences and Technology Research Institutions project was created in the scope of the European network ERCIS – European Research Centre for Information Systems. The project aims to identify and introduce a set of good practices on gender equality among the academic community. The initial concern of researchers was to perceive what leads each gender – male and female – to choose the technology area and how they evolve in this area, both academic and professionally.
“We joined a working group led by Germany and Italy because they already had a proposal in this area of gender equality. I think we are aware of many numbers, but we know little about what these numbers really mean”, Isabel Ramos, professor of the DSI and project coordinator at the UMinho, explains. The researcher reinforces that EQUAL-IST intends to lead entities to implement strategies or best practices of gender equality and to verify if there are structural changes based on the introduction of these strategies.
The project aims to address ERA objectives in relation to gender equality by supporting several research institutions from different countries in developing and implementing tailored Gender Equality Plans (GEPs). The project combines gender mainstreaming and positive actions on three main levels: HR practices and management processes; student services and institutional communication; research design and delivery.
EQUAL-IST will focus on the academic environment at an early stage, but Isabel Ramos does not exclude the possibility of exporting this same research to companies: “If we can perceive how the professionals of both genders are evolving in the University, we will have much more interesting content to disseminate to the companies”, she ensures.
The kick-off meeting of EQUAL-IST took place in July 2016. The project, coordinated by ViLabs, in Greece, and led at the UMinho by the DSI of the EEUM, counts on a total funding of around 150 thousand euros, as part of the European programme Horizon 2020, and runs until 2019.