Apply for the Gender Equality Award 2013!
“The award is for universities, university colleges and research institutes seeking to move up a notch or two in the gender equality ranks,” says Gerd Bjørhovde, chair of the Committee for Gender Balance in Research.
The Ministry of Education and Research has announced a call for applications for the Gender Equality Award for 2013 with an application deadline of 15 November 2013. The award is worth NOK 2 million and has been presented six times before. The Committee for Gender Balance in Research (the KIF Committee) is responsible for assessing the applications and recommending a prize winner to the ministry.
Seeking more applicants
“Who should apply, and why?”
“The KIF Committee would like to see as many institutions as possible apply – but of course they should be qualified applicants – meaning institutions that have taken action and made a concerted effort to improve the gender balance at their institutions,” says the chairwoman.
According to Bjørhovde, the application process in itself has been a valuable experience for several of the institutions that have participated.
“Naturally, first and foremost for those who have won the award, but also for those who are told that they have done a good job, but that they still have room for improvement. This feedback has resulted in effective, creative processes at several institutions, both across academic environments and across administrative and academic staff.”
The KIF Committee was charged with the task – by then Minister Øystein Djupedal – of announcing the call for applications and recommending a winner for the first time in autumn 2007.
“We were waiting to see what this kind of award might mean in a sector that at the time had already expressed weariness with various reporting requirements and the system of bibliometric measuring of research. But we have been pleasantly surprised how well the award appears to be working.”
“There is something about the competition between the institutions – both large and small – that sparks people’s interest. We see that institutions and academic environments keep a close eye on what the winners of the award have done and try to follow up some of the measures themselves.”
Bjørhovde thinks the Gender Equality Award is important.
“It’s important because it helps to draw attention to the efforts to improve gender balance and gender equality, and it gives prestige,” says Bjørhovde.
“How can the institutions benefit, and what can they use the money for?”
“The institution that wins receives a nice sum of money to strengthen its own activities to improve the gender balance. NOK 2 million is not small change for those working to enhance gender equality!”
“The prize money is to be used to continue the institution’s gender equality activities, and there are many good examples of this out there.”
Read the interview with last year’s prize winner, the Norwegian University of Life Sciences: Former male bastion wins Gender Equality Award. And from the year prior: University of Tromsø wins NOK 2 million.
The idea spreads internationally
Bjørhovde would like to see more university colleges apply, and even more research institutes. She points out that smaller units such as faculties, institutes or academic environments within an institution are also eligible to apply.
“But we know that things take time in the research sector. This is also true for the work to improve the gender balance, and this is why we have recommended several times to the Ministry of Education and Research that the Gender Equality Award should be continued.”
Many institutions are now working to strengthen their gender equality activities – and the dream of winning the award is a powerful driving force, Bjørhovde believes.
“The KIF Committee is therefore very pleased that the award is being continued and announced one more time. It’s also interesting that the award has generated great interest in other countries. For example, the Icelandic Parliament voted to introduce a similar award last year, taking its inspiration from Norway,” explains Bjørhovde.
Translated by Connie Stultz.