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Gender Action Plan

NADIA PROJECT - GENDER ACTION PLAN

The EC’s 2002 Women in Industrial Research (WIR) Report states that women constitute only an estimated 15% of industrial researchers in the EU and are severely under-represented in university education, and national or governmental laboratories. This is especially evident in the sector of the “hard” sciences; namely mathematics, physics and engineering. In the field of materials research, foundries, car/trucks components research and in automotive research groups, there is also an unac­ceptable under-representation of women. One of the aims of the NADIA Project will be to address this skills-shortage by attracting female researchers into industrial research.

The following special effort to recruit female researchers, and to encourage young female researchers in related fields (Gender Action Plan) will make an attempt at:

  1. understanding gender-related problems,
  2. adopting positive measures to ensure a fair gender balance in the project, and
  3. creating better public awareness of female researchers involved in industrial research, especially inside the SMEs environment.

The partners in the NADIA Project are in full agreement with the EC’s objectives to promote gender equality and aim to promote the recruitment of female researchers. The NADIA project supports the European Policy of equal opportunities between women and men that is enshrined in the Treaty on EU.
Articles 2 and 3 establish equality between women and men as a specific task of the Community. Currently, it is difficult to estimate a percentage of women involved in the NADIA project, which is however expected to be slightly higher than the European average of 15% for industrial research. Women’s participation has been encouraged just from the beginning in the preparation of this NADIA project. Following the recommendations of EU, a 33% of people of the working teams involved in the project should be women (being one of the partners, Tekniker, a pioneer since 70% of their technical team is formed by women). However, the intermediate goal within this project is to reach a minimum of 25% of female researchers, at the recruitment stage, and encourage greater participation at senior level.
Particularly, Tekniker as member of EMATEK (Equal project) focused on fostering women project partners in the technological sector is aware of this issue and will spread it between the consortium. One of the main challenges is changing company’s culture that should include measures towards re-concealing work and family, emotional retribution, intangible factors that have to be reinforced in the knowledge economy if companies want to recruit and retain the best human resources.
A working “Gender Panel” committee chaired by a leading female researcher in the project – Dr. Amaya Igartua (WP5 leader) - will be established to:

  1. Collect data and statistics from all partners concerning their in-house gender programmes.
  2. Advise all partners on equal opportunities and recruitment strategy.
  3. Collect data on requests, opinions and needs of both women and men relating to the gender dimension.
  4. Provide an information hub on the web-based NADIA dissemination tools concerning gender-related issues; such as rights, hiring policies, family life, maternity leave, part-time work, distant-working and childcare, as well as relevant EC documents.
  5. Offer links to other gender-related networks.
  6. Organise posters for PR events and exhibitions advertising the active involvement of women in the NADIA Project in the public (locally and internationally, where available).
  7. Monitor the achievements and report to the project co-ordinator and the EC on a regular basis, i.e. annual progress reports.

The Gender Action Plan Report, which is drawn up on a yearly basis, is a sort of collection and elaboration of the information provided by the NADIA partners with regard to gender issues, in replay to the input coming from the Gender Panel Committee. The aim is to share data and useful information among the partners and of course to evaluate the positive or negative results achieved in terms of gender policies.
As the promotion of Gender Equality is a main objective on a European level, this section of the NADIA Project web site, which is easy accessible to a general public and not just restricted to the project members, will constitute a gender portal focused on disseminating how such issues and topics are dealt within European companies and organizations. In order to offer such perspective, several interesting links concerning gender-related issues (such as rights, hiring policies, family life, maternity leave, part-time work, distant-working and childcare) are listed here below, as well as relevant EC documents are available for downloading.

LINKS

http://www.umich.edu/~cew/PDFs/designing06.pdf

http://www.gmc-uk.org/publications/valuing_diversity/gender_issues.asp

http://www.gmc-uk.org/publications/valuing_diversity/employment_relations.asp

http://edf.org.uk/

http://www.employersforwork-lifebalance.org.uk/

EC DOCUMENTS for downloading

  1. Woman in industrial research: good practices in companies across Europe

Besides directly promoting gender equality within the project, NADIA will also indirectly encourage women to consider science and engineering as a perspective for life and career. There­fore, special attention will be given to young women in its education and dissemination programme. By fundamentally reshaping the image of engineers and scientists, the team is confident that it will succeed in attracting and retaining female researchers for the benefit of the European Research Area.