European universities to work on gender diversity
How to ensure that there are more women in top positions in science? That was the central question of the European Gender Summit of 29 and 30 November in Brussels. Vice-Rector Simone Buitendijk was a keynote speaker and gave the concluding speech.
Buitendijk presented the recommendations of the gender steering group set up by the League of European Research Universities (LERU) to promote gender diversity within European universities. In a paper published in July, of which Buitendijk is one of the principal authors, the gender steering group of the LERU recommends a set of actions to be implemented by the member universities. For instance, organisations should commit to the goal of appointing a higher percentage of female scientists at the top of their organisation and through the lower layers. It is also important to keep the gender aspect in mind when organising and carrying out research.
The recommendations that will be implemented by individual LERU member universities will depend on their strategy and the policy agendas applicable at national and other levels regarding gender and diversity. In addition, despite being members of the same League, the universities differ so much that it is not possible to apply identical methods. Each university will have a different set of solutions for addressing the gender challenge. The gender steering group met in Leuven on 3 December to make further agreements regarding joint monitoring.
This summer, the LERU signed a Memorandum of Understanding with European Commissioner Quinn regarding the most important goals of the European Research Area (ERA). One of these goals is a greater percentage of women in top positions in science.
(11 December 2012)