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What does it take to change the gender balance in the most male-dominated physical sciences? This is an issue that Jan Petter Hansen of the University of Bergen knows a lot about. Under his leadership, the percentage of women in the Department of Physics and Technology is finally on the rise.
Norway and Sweden are held up as shining examples when gender equality in academia is discussed in a European context. But even in these countries, political efforts to achieve the objectives of gender balance must continue. Key challenges are rigid structures and the men who dominate academia, according to researchers who recently attended a European conference in Stockholm.
Receiving the Gender Equality Award from the Ministry of Education and Research has generated enthusiasm, more room for action and increased focus on gender equality efforts, according to last year’s two prize winners. This year’s call for nominations is now underway.
National action plans to implement the European Research Area (ERA) are now being drawn up. Hans M. Borchgrevink of the Research Council of Norway believes this is the chance to put gender equality on the EU’s agenda, but quick action is required.
"We are finding that we fill a gap," says Laila Bokhari, who is coordinator of Women and Security, one of the 15 new and existing networks gaining new impetus this spring with funding from the Committee for Mainstreaming – Women in Science.
In April 2009 the Norwegian Government presented a new white paper on research policy. In the report the Government confirms its commitment to gender equality in research, but critics say progress is too slow.
The majority of young girls reject science studies, but not everyone. What makes girls choose these male-dominated subjects? That is what Marianne Løken wants to find out.
More men than women receive funding when the Research Council of Norway grants money for outstanding research. Susanne Moen Stephansen has looked at how the attempts to bring more gender equality into these schemes have worked.
In November last year Tora Aasland promised to implement earmarking of temporary posts for women. Now the Efta Surveillance Authority (ESA) has put a stop to these plans.
A recent report from the Norwegian research institute NIFU STEP shows that men outnumber women within commercial and business-oriented research and that female researchers are less involved in international collaboration and peer review than their male colleagues.
The capital of western Norway came out on top when the Gender Equality Award for 2008 was presented jointly to the University of Bergen and the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration (MHH).
Hierarchies and lack of management prevent women from climbing to the top in academia, says Curt Rice, the new Pro-Rector at the University of Tromsø. He calls for more management and different work methods at the university.
There is little difference in how Ghanaian girls and boys view science education and technology. In Norway, Sweden, Finland and England, on the other hand, the gender gap regarding what the pupils are interested in is huge.
The government won’t stop at earmarking posts for female scientists. Now Tora Aasland states that the goal is to change the EU regulations concerning this issue.
The corporate world needs more scientists, but few young people choose a career in science. Will we finally break the science code?
The work on standardising the workday of European scientists may further gender equality in the research sector, if a gender perspective is employed, says the Committee for Mainstreaming – Women in Science in Norway.
"We have to be prepared to take on the great challenges and possibilities that exist for technologists in the High North," says Kirsti Hienn. She is the project manager of the Moment network for female technologists.
The female-dominated study programmes at public university colleges have far fewer professorships than the male-dominated ones. Those professorships that do exist are mainly held by men. This is revealed in a recent survey from the Norwegian Social Science Data Services. The figures are collected on behalf of the Committee for Mainstreaming – Women in Science.
In its proposition for the National budget, which was presented in the beginning of October, the Government states that it wants to focus on earmarking of academic posts for women.
What mechanisms lie behind who gets a career in physics and who leaves academia for other kinds of employment? What role does the workplace culture play in this? These and similar issues are being studied in an ongoing EU-project.