Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Ready for Dialogue: Conference on the Gender Dimension in Science and Research

Registration Open: Conference on the Gender Dimension in Science and Research.
'Ready for Dialogue', Berlin 5th of November 2015

The online registration for the international conference "Ready for Dialogue" on the 5th of November 2015
 at the dbb forum berlin, Germany is now activated.
You can register on our conference website This link will take you directly to the registration form.
Registration deadline is the 15th of October 2015.

As part of the conference “Ready for Dialogue”, all attending institutions will have the opportunity to present themselves and their activities in the field of the integration of the gender dimension in research and science. If you want to participate in the poster exhibition, please submit an abstract of max. 250 words describing the intended content of your poster for consideration by the conference team. For submitting your abstract, kindly exclusively use the electronic form on the conference website. This link will take you directly to the abstract submission form.
Submission deadline is the 15th of September 2015.

The event will be organised by the Essen College of Gender Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, in close cooperation with the European Platform of Women Scientists EPWS as European partner organisation.

For your convenience, please find additional information on the conference as well as the poster exhibition on the conference website
The website will be continuously updated with further information.

Ready for Dialogue

Conference on the Gender Dimension in Science and Research
dbb forum berlin, Germany

5th of NOVEMBER 2015

How can we target and eliminate existing blind spots concerning the importance of sex and gender in science and research? How can the contribution and potential of the gender dimension to scientific excellence and innovation more purposefully be taken into account for the benefit of science and research as well as research policy at national and European level?

The international conference “Ready for Dialogue” in Berlin will take these questions as starting point. The conference aims at initiating a strategic dialogue among relevant national and European key players, such as associations, (research) institutions and organisations that work within and outside the university context on the integration of the gender dimension in science and research. The aim is to foster the exchange between “knowledge” and “political action” and to strengthen and expand existing approaches in both areas and to develop a roadmap for the institutionalization of a regular dialogue.

The following topics are scheduled for discussion:

1) The conceptual approach of the strategic gender dimension and its sharpening with respect to strategic gender equality approaches.

2) The challenges with respect to the scientific recognition of the gender dimension in science, research and innovation, particularly within the excellence and innovation debate, but also in terms of discussions on the category ‘Diversity’. 3) The positioning of the strategic approach gender dimension in national and international research policies, such as research funding and targeted research programmes.

This conference addresses representatives of national and European institutional associations (institutions/organisations/networks) committed to the integration of the gender dimension in science and research or having an interest to do so in the future, actors in science and research that have yet to integrate the gender dimension into their scientific approach as well as junior scientists of all disciplines.

As part of the event, all attending institutions will have the opportunity to present themselves and their activities in a concomitant poster session. Simultaneous translation into German and English will be provided.

The event will be organised by the Essen College of Gender Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany in close cooperation with the European Platform of Women Scientists EPWS as European partner organisation. At the end of the programme, EPWS will host a reception celebrating the Platform’s 10th Anniversary to which you are also cordially invited.

Visit the conference website 
for more details concerning the programme.

Kindly forward this information to interested colleagues and organisations.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Interview of the Month: Federal Conference of Gender Equality Officers in Higher Education in Germany BuKoF

Every month, EPWS presents the characteristics and activities of one Member Association.

Our member for September 2015 is the Federal Conference of Gender Equality Officers in Higher Education in Germany BuKoF 

For BuKoF, Marion Woelki, head of the Office for Equal Opportunities and Family Affairs of the University of Konstanz and member of the extended executive board has accepted to answer the EPWS questionnaire.

Contact this association: Federal Conference of Gender Equality Officers in Higher Education in Germany (BuKoF)

Contact this member:

Association website:

EPWS: If you wanted to describe your association in one sentence, what would you say?

M.W.: We are the federal German institutional network of officers and managers for gender equality to achieve equal opportunities in the academic system and to promote female researchers in their career.

EPWS: What are the objectives of your association?

M.W.: We cooperate to aid one another in our work and targets. In order to do so, we discuss the political, social and economic issues around the academic system for all types of universities in Germany. Our main goal is to fight against the underrepresentation of female professors and faculty positions at universities and to balance out the structural inequality for women. That is why we ask for target quotas for the advancement of women in each career stage based on the cascade model. Another objective is to raise the awareness and to change the academic culture towards a gender sensitive organizational and personal development. So we need gender-fair hiring and appointment procedures, affirmative action programs and antidiscrimination policies. We are about to implement gender mainstreaming as a basis of our work. A main topic is also to look for a good work-life-balance in the academic working and studying conditions to offer the possibility of combining an academic career with family issues. In the academic field, we promote gender studies and we are interested in a good and productive relationship between the results of gender research and equal opportunities. To spread the network idea, our twelve commissions provide support to all colleagues with useful materials, like guidelines and field manuals.

EPWS: What is the history of BuKoF, in a few words?

M.W.: The BuKoF was founded in 1989, when a lot of academic institutions began to appoint equal opportunities officers in order to comply with the new state laws. In the 25 years of our history we can differentiate 5 phases: In the beginning the structure of the organization and their main objectives were discussed and formalized. Up to 1994 the first political resolutions were devised and the network began to interfere in academic programs and legislation. From 1999 to 2003 we analyzed the Bologna Process and the principle of the European “gender mainstreaming” with their impacts on German academic organizations and their equal opportunities policies. In the years from 2004 to 2010 the main instruments of gender mainstreaming were presented and we discussed the role of the BuKoF between management and lobbying. Since 2011 the BuKoF has begun to cooperate more actively with the main stakeholders of the academic and scientific community to gain more influence in the programs and policies.

EPWS: Could you explain the organization of your association?

M. W.: In the structure of a nonprofit organization the BuKoF counts about 270 members. Its executive committee has five members who are responsible for the representation and the strategic framework. The political work is done in twelve thematic commissions whose chairs together with spokeswomen of the 16 state conferences compose the extended executive board. The legislative power has the annual General Assembly.

EPWS: What are its recent achievements?

M. W.: We now have a good collaboration with the German Research Foundation DFG towards the integration of standards of equal opportunities in federal research programs. We also value good networking with the Federal Ministry of Education and Research BMBF and the Science Council Wissenschaftsrat to discuss the frame conditions and perspectives for scientific careers and to develop new ideas for promoting women. Thus we have more opportunities to be present as experts in legislation processes and in the development for new programs. More and more we are asked for statements and reports regarding the situation of female scientists, and we elaborate discourses of quota and targets.

EPWS: What is your agenda for the coming months?

M. W.: We want to guarantee that the new German “Excellence Initiative” continues with a focus on gender equality. Another main topic for our annual conference this year is the discussion of the relationship between gender and diversity policies and measures.

EPWS: Are you collaborating with other EPWS members?

M. W.: Until now, unfortunately we do not. We only have some relation to our Swiss neighbor conference KOFRAH.

EPWS: What do you expect from EPWS? In what ways can it help you develop your action?

M. W.: Above all we expect a constructive exchange on possible ways towards an increased implementation of gender mainstreaming in EU programs and funding lines, like Horizon 2020, as well as an efficient networking in the European context. Another interesting topic is the internationalization of the academic system, its challenges for personal mobility and the impact on gender and family affairs. It would be helpful to discuss these topics with European colleagues and maybe develop together nice programs and gender networks.


Sunday, August 30, 2015

Job Posting: GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies seeks a Research Fellow

The GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies / Leibniz-Institut für Globale und Regionale Studien is an independent social-science research institute based in Hamburg. It analyses political, social and economic developments in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East and combines this analysis with innovative comparative research on international relations, development and globalisation, violence and security, and political systems. The GIGA seeks to appoint a

Click the image below to read the Full Job Posting

Monday, August 3, 2015

European Commission adopts Roadmap for improving work-life balance in working families

The European Commission has today published a Roadmap setting out policy options to address the challenges of work-life balance faced by working families. This represents a new start after the Commission confirmed last month it would withdraw the 2008 draft Maternity Leave Directive, given the lack of progress by the co-legislators and despite the Commission's continuous and intensive efforts to facilitate an agreement. 

The new initiative aims to allow parents with children or workers with dependent relatives to better balance caring and professional responsibilities, by modernising the current EU legal and policy framework and adapting it to today's labour market. This would also help improve labour market participation of both parents. 

The Roadmap outlines the Commission's ideas for a fresh approach, setting out a range of policy options to achieve these objectives.

 For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tim McPhie – Tel.: +32 229 58602

Monday, July 20, 2015

She Figures 2015 - Preliminary Results

"This leaflet presents some initial results of the She Figures 2015 data collection. It provides data on the proportions of women and men amongst top level graduates and researchers. Furthermore it shows preliminary data on women’s representation in decision making roles, such as at the head of universities or as members and leaders of research boards at national level. It also shed light on the commitment to promote gender equality of a subset of Research Performing Organisations (RPOs). 

The She Figures 2015 Report will be published by the end of the year and uploaded on this e-Library. The cooperation of the Member States, Associated Countries, and colleagues from Eurostat in preparing She Figures is gratefully acknowledged."

Conference: Hydrogeological Risk Management: Gender (Women-Men) Issue and Impacts

Thursday 29th October 2015
9:00 -17:30

Italian Senate – Sala Capitolare -
Chiostro del Convento di Santa Maria
sopra Minerva, Roma

The conference is organized by the Technical Committee for Hydrogeological Risk of Professional Engineers Registration Board of Rome, chaired by Maria Rosaria Di Lorenzo. The conference aims at involving participants in a discussion on gender-sensitive risk management and focuses on the importance of economic growth, social equality and environmental sustainability.

Today, there is a paramount convergence on the fact that gender matters when we face major challenges and change factors, nevertheless in water cycle and natural disaster risk management. In order for gender issues to be taken into account in disaster risk management and related decision-making, it is necessary to gather gender-disaggregated data with a systematic and comprehensive approach, as well as to increase availability of genderrelated indicators and methodologies.

The discussion is organized in three oral sessions and a follow-up session, focusing on the dimensions: hazard, hazard exposure, and risk management.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

CERN: Post Career Break Fellowship

"Have you taken time out for personal reasons from your career in science or engineering? Would you be interested in returning to work if you could?

CERN is piloting a programme to offer full-time or part-time Fellowships to science and engineering graduates wishing to re-start their careers. This is an outstanding chance for you to update your knowledge and skills working for up to three years in an international environment at the forefront of research.

CERN is proud to be involved in COFUND a European Commission Marie Sklodowksa-Curie Action to stimulate mobility and career development through fellowship programmes.  Through the COFUND programme, we will be offering a limited number of 3-year Fellowships to top-ranked Senior Fellows. Candidates meeting these requirements will be considered for a COFUND Fellowship. One feature of the COFUND programme is the possibility to spend up to 12 months of the Fellow contract at another institute, provided that the work still corresponds to your original project at CERN.

Role Description
CERN already runs a very successful Fellowship Programme which awards approximately 200 Fellowships per year in both for research work (experimental or theoretical physics) and advanced development work and related research in a broad range of applied science, computing and engineering fields.

This pilot programme will offer one full-time or two part-time Fellowships and is aimed at candidates with either a Junior or a Senior Fellow profile depending on the qualifications and experience of the individual.

Fellowships are normally granted for two years. Extensions for part or all of a third year are granted only in exceptional circumstances.

Deadline to submit applications: 7 September 2015; 23:59 CET /
Deadline to submit all required documents: 9 September 2015; 23:59 CET

Monday, June 29, 2015

EU Prize for Women Innovators 2016

"On the occasion of International Women's Day, the European Commission is launching today the third edition of the EU Prize for Women Innovators to reward three women who have achieved outstanding innovations and brought them to market. The prize aims to raise awareness of the need for more female entrepreneurs and to inspire other women to follow in their footsteps. The first prize is worth €100 000, the second prize €50 000 and third prize €30 000.

The prize is being launched during a working lunch with outstanding women in academia, research, industry and media, hosted by the European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas. The event reflects on how to increase the participation of women in research and innovation and their share of top positions in the industry and academia. Participants to the lunch include female rectors, previous winners of the EU Prize for Women Innovators, leaders of EU initiatives on gender equality, as well as both senior and young scientists.

Commissioner Moedas said: "There may have been some improvement in recent years but, in Europe, female researchers and entrepreneurs remain a minority. Whether economically, intellectually or socially, we cannot afford to continue missing out on this vast pool of untapped talent. The EU Prize for Women Innovators recognises women entrepreneurs for their valuable achievements, inspiring both men and women alike."

"Gender equality is not only a moral imperative but it also makes economic sense", said Věra Jourová, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality. “Diversity is good for innovation and entrepreneurship, because it brings new talent and fresh ideas. The EU Prize for Women Innovators showcases female talent and can encourage other women to pursue careers in science and entrepreneurship where women are still underrepresented."

For more information
Media contact:

Monday, June 22, 2015

BBC News - The women whom science forgot

"A quick web search for the world's most famous scientists lists, among others, Galileo, Einstein, Newton, Darwin, Stephen Hawking and Alexander Fleming.

One of the few women to receive a mention is Marie Curie, a physicist and chemist who basically discovered radiation and helped apply it in the field of X-rays.

She won two Nobel Prizes, in physics and chemistry. Yet even so, she was turned down for membership of the prestigious French Academie des Sciences in 1911, the very year she went on to win her second Nobel Prize.

The Nobel laureate Sir Tim Hunt was heavily criticised for his disparaging remarks about women in science last week, which for some raised the issue of where women stood in the scientific community.

The larger truth is that women have made big and important discoveries in science - think of Dorothy Hodgkin, the brilliant crystallographer who mapped the structure of penicillin and went on to be awarded a Nobel Prize in 1964.
Hodgkin was the first woman to win the prestigious Copley Medal, and she remains the only British woman to have won a Nobel in the sciences. Yet at the time, the newspapers carried headlines such as "Oxford housewife wins Nobel".

But many female scientists in the past were not given the credit they deserved for their achievements. As a result, their names have all but disappeared from public consciousness.
Here are just a few......"

read full report:

Friday, June 12, 2015

Barometer stubbornly stuck on low pressure for Women in Life Sciences

Jan Peters, co-author with Nancy J Lane, of a review of the Status of Women in the Life Sciences
Full article published April 2015 and available here:

"The chattering classes seem to be talking non-stop about the skills shortages in engineering and the under representation of women at all levels. Don't get me wrong, I am passionate about women in engineering, but I'm increasingly concerned about the lack of progress in the life sciences and what this might mean should the engineering numbers rise.

You could consider the life sciences as a barometer for progress in addressing the under-representation of women in STEM, having had parity or better with men at undergraduate (47% in 1970 in the UK) and postgraduate level for some 30 or so years. But the cracks in the glass ceiling are all too stubborn. It's true we have had some very high profile appointments of life science women and even recent Nobel Laureates, but the fact remains that in the UK at professorial levels there are still only 15% women. I was a bit startled too to read Sheltzer's work published last spring of the few women in elite life science laboratories. Perhaps it's time for a re-focus - so when the engineers make it to 15% of professors, the cultural barriers and inequities in recognition have already been addressed and it is but a fleeting point. I learned three lessons from undertaking this review.
Why is there a continual need to justify work on gender or diversity and science?
In 2014 organizations and businesses were still questioning the business case for diversity and demanding evidence. The Department for Business Innovation and Skills obligingly complied (again) and published another business case document. In a  previous (2006) report from the European Commission evidence of better performance by more diverse teams was published. The authors surmised that increased diversity was achieved in parallel with a greater investment in training managers to acknowledge, respect and make better use of their diverse teams. So rather than needing to make a case for increasing diversity the case was clearly one of better management practice, summarized in the InterAcademy Council report 'Women for Science' in 2007. It isn't like some life science business sectors don't employ a high number of women - in private sector pharmaceutical research there are 45% women across Europe; why is it so much lower in other life science sectors? What can we learn?

So lesson 1 - Let's see a consistent high standard of good management practiced across the life sciences with a due high regard for fairness, respect and equitable reward to all.
How are we to advance women into senior leadership positions?
It's always a difficult question: is it targets, quotas and / or merit as a method for addressing the gender gap at senior levels?
No man or woman wants to be seen as a statistic or special case. We all want to achieve based on merit. I have always been against quotas but have come to the conclusion that as a short term policy measure it is the only option. In places where quotas have been introduced such as Norway the evidence contradicts the argument that they lower the quality of appointments to boards. For those strongly opposed to quotas, saying they are unfair, don't forget that they are being introduced in a system that is already inherently and unconsciously not fair. It is not the quotas themselves that cause the change, rather the affirmative action of creating strong candidate pools, awareness of unconscious bias and other efforts that ultimately make the difference. (Why else do we continue to see women excluded from some of the most prestigious laboratories?) Without quotas, efforts to make a difference seem to lack impetus.

Lesson 2 - Organizations need to take a much tougher stance on implementing affirmative action. Quotas are a short term policy kick-starter and are not to be feared.
Is our science gender inclusive?
How come in 2015 we still read of research ignoring gender as a variable in studies of disease and medicine?
Does it matter that medicines aren't tested on men and women? Who would have thought that Aspirin was never tested on women and yet is taken by millions everyday? A meta-analysis in 2006 showed that Aspirin affects platelets differently in men and women. What more might we learn by doing better science? The European Commission evaluated the Framework 5 Programme and showed how few science studies consider gender when there is a scientific reason to explicitly do so. As a result new measures have been implemented for Horizon 2020 Programme that will require scientists to explain if they do not address gender in their studies. This is all good, but these policies have no impact on private sector research. So it is likely that we shall still we hear of work that has failed to consider half the population and may cause potentially life threatening errors or will miss crucial discoveries.

Lesson 3 - A new vigorous dialogue is needed on the male orientation of science to ensure that gender becomes a de facto consideration for every piece of work.
For the main waste of talent and missed opportunity is not in engineering, but in the life sciences where so many women have studied and been lost. Academia, policy makers and employers must turn up the heat and do more than offer networking or personal development events for women and address an issue that faces the life science community as a whole."

Jan Peters PhD FRSA : Director, Katalytik Ltd : 0797 4011278 : Skype Peters475 :<> : :