With Horizon Europe, a new approach is emerging that champions diversity and inclusion. On the path to equality, it is essential to be aware of past conditions and policies and their unintended negative effects. This awareness empowers individuals and organisations to question their actions at different levels and take the necessary measures to maintain an even rhythm in this transformation process.
EU policies: strengths and weaknesses
In an article published in 2021 we examine the strengths and weaknesses of three key EU policies:
– Gender mainstreaming: we shed light on the importance of integrating gender into all areas of science to create a more inclusive and equitable research environment.
– Promoting gender equality and structural change: We examine the EU’s efforts to bring about positive change within research organisations and to strive for equal opportunities for all researchers.
– Gender action plans/equality plans: We comment on the EU’s specific plans and actions to address gender gaps in academia and create a more balanced landscape for researchers.
Our analysis is based on the examination of various sources, including EU legal acts, academic literature, reports on EU-funded research projects, communication initiatives and support measures, critically examining both the merits and the criticisms of these initiatives.
One of the most critical aspects we explore in this article is the alignment of our research with the innovative vision of Horizon Europe. This transformative programme requires all public institutions applying for EU funding to submit a gender equality plan. However, we are also aware of the potential risks of repeating past mistakes that could hinder progress towards true gender equality, diversity and inclusion.
We conclude that the path to progress has been anything but simple or linear. While changes in behaviour and attitudes at the individual level are essential to advance equality and promote diversity and inclusion, we must also be aware of the challenges posed by organisational resistance and deeply entrenched gender structures.
However, we are also aware that it can be a daunting task to bring about change, especially in institutions that are anchored in traditional gender norms. We are concerned with the extent to which many EU-supported initiatives to promote gender equality in higher education have met with passive resistance, resulting in delayed processes or the adoption of superficial strategies that lack consistency.
Bencivenga,R.,Leone,C. & Siri,A.(2021).Gender equality, diversity, and inclusion in academia: successes and failures of the initiatives promoted by the European Union. Geopolitical,Social Security and Freedom Journal,4(1) 27-40. https://doi.org/10.2478/gssfj-2021-0003
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