Torino Messages on Equality at Universities of Science & Technology

The Task Force Human Resources of CESAER met with speakers and selected guests for a workshop on ‘Implementing Gender Equality Plans (GEP) at universities of S&T’ on 29 March 2019 kindly hosted by Politecnico di Torino.
10th April 2019
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We herewith offer our Torino Messages on Equality at Universities of S&T to the governing bodies of CESAER, its Members and its Task Force Leadership.

Recalling that:

  • All persons are equal before the law and are entitled to the equal protection of the law (Convention for Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms) and the member states of the Council of Europe are resolved to take steps to promote the equality of all persons through the collective enforcement of a general prohibition of discrimination;
  • The European Union (EU) aims to eliminate inequalities, and to promote equality, between women and men (Article 8 of Treaty on Functioning of EU) and that the EU shall support and complement the activities of the member states in equality between women and men with regard to labour market opportunities and treatment at work (article 153);
  • The European Commission (EC) celebrates the 20anniversary of the publication of its first communication on ‘Women in Science: Mobilising women to enrich European research’ (1998);
  • The European Council reaffirmed its commitment to gender equality and gender mainstreaming in research on the context of the European Research Area (ERA);
  • The European Charter for Researchers reminds employers and funders of researchers to not discriminate against researchers in any way and should aim for a representative gender balance at all levels of staff;
  • The world has agreed to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls in the context of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Particularly in Science and Technology (S&T),

  • the greatest potential to boost research, innovation, science and technology comes from promoting excellence in all aspects of diversity.
  • there is strong and continuous evidence that gender inequality is a long-standing challenge at universities of S&T urging for prompt and more action.
  • CESAER as ERA Stakeholder Organisation (SHO) has committed to develop and share implementation experiences with institutional gender strategies and Gender Equality Plans (GEP) encompassing e.g. commitments from its Members’ leadership, promoting the appropriate mix of gender‐specific career development measures, or by ensuring monitoring of the implementation of GEP through the appropriate internal procedures.
  • GEP depart from the analysis of weaknesses regarding gender balance, promote actions to address them, allocates funding to implement these actions, are concluded by gender auditing, close monitoring and new data analysis to measure the effects of the actions and over time emerge into a circular process promoting gender equality.

We call upon CESAER and its Members to:

  • Create and seize the momentum for fostering institutional inclusion and diversity, increasing awareness and fighting internal resistance against measures dedicated to overcome them;
  • Promote equal opportunities as an issue of gender equality and diversity;
  • Ensure gender balance and equality in all decision-making levels and advisory boards;
  • Ensure transparency in and remove unconscious bias from all recruitment and promotion processes;
  • Remove barriers for achieving better work-life balance for all;
  • Design, implement, monitor and evaluate dedicated Diversity Plans and policies and implement concrete actions to achieve them;
  • Set institutional targets for gender equality and to monitor and report on progress;
  • Commit collectively and individually to promoting diversity in all its aspects through a Declaration on Equality to be adopted by the 32 General Assembly in Paris on 18 October 2019.

We encourage:

  • Girls to get interested in in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and female students to embrace career in research in general and in STEM in particular helping us to improve the scientific quality and societal relevance of the knowledge, technology and innovation from our institutions;
  • Universities to develop guidelines against discrimination at their institutions;
  • Universities to foster Diversity Plans as the common framework for the inclusion of diversity in research and education;
  • Universities to develop and reward a leadership culture in which equal opportunities are viewed as a sign of quality;
  • University leaders to lead by example and be explicit and visible on diversity;
  • All stakeholders involved to share best practices and stimulate their adoption through dialogue and bottom-up collaboration;
  • The EU and the ERA SHO to reinforce their efforts to promote equality in research through a more ambitious agenda for the ERA and strengthening the gender and diversity dimensions in research content;
  • National and European funders to acknowledge and support the implementation of Diversity Plans at universities through diversity specific funding instruments;
  • National and European funders to provide equal opportunities to all and fight (implicit) bias;
  • National governments to design and implement policies favourable to addressing diversity in research, higher education and universities.

For more information and enquiry, please contact the Chair of our Task Force Human Resources Doris Klee or our Secretary General David Bohmert.

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