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There are many indications that something is about to happen with the gender balance in Norwegian academia. But it takes a long time for the changes to reach the professor level, which is still heavily male dominated.
What have the millions of kroner from the Ministry’s Gender Equality Award been used for and what are the results? We asked this question of the previous years’ winners.
For 10 years the allocation to the Committee for Gender Balance in Research had not been increased or adjusted for inflation. Now for the first time ever, the committee will receive a budget increase from the Norwegian government.
Elisabeth Isaksson’s research field has been filled with bearded old men throughout its history, and up until the 1990s female researchers were denied access to stations in the polar region. But something has changed.
Despite formal rights and gender equality measures, women in academia still hit their heads against a wall, according to Associate Professor Randi Gressgård.
For 10 years the KIF Committee has worked to improve gender balance in the research sector. The new committee has been expanded by three members and will have a broader sphere of responsibility beginning this spring.
Gender balance is as much a question of quality as of fairness. This is a basic principle in the Research Council of Norway’s new gender equality policy which states that at least 40 percent of project managers must be women.
“I’ve never met a female associate professor who says that she doesn’t want to be a full professor,” says Curt Rice, the new chair of the Committee for Gender Balance in Research.
The winner of this year’s Gender Equality Award, Simula Research Laboratory, is applauded for its outstanding progress and well-integrated plans for gender equality. But the institute could have an even higher level of ambition, according to the KIF Committee’s recommendation.
“Having a system for how to handle complaints about sexual harassment has a preventive effect. Most organizations don’t have the expertise or systems in place to deal with cases like these,” says Ståle Einarsen.
The network at Østfold University College is bearing fruit. A book and a mentoring scheme for women were recently launched. The network was also the driving force behind the professorship grant established for both genders.
Does the right to vote necessarily mean that you are heard and have influence over the way the world is interpreted? This was among the questions raised in the seminar Use your voice – make yourself heard.
For the first time the Equality and Anti-discrimination Ombud will review all the cases from six years of work to combat sexual harassment. The report will be ready in early January.
The Research Council of Norway’s Initiative on Gender Balance in Senior Positions and Research Management (BALANSE) has awarded its first project funding. Three independent research institutes and one university can now implement new gender equality activities.
UiT – The Arctic University of Norway is using the prize money from the Gender Equality Award to gain new inspiration from Norway and abroad. Eight new adjunct professor positions have been created.
Swedish universities have made the most progress in renewing the academic culture and Norwegian institutions have designed effective measures, but in Denmark the prevailing belief is that gender equality has already been achieved.
Expectations were high for the incentive scheme from the Ministry of Education and Research to recruit women to senior-level positions in mathematics, natural science and technology. Now, however, an evaluation report recommends ending the scheme.
“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.
A visit from the KIF Committee can mean the difference between no focus on gender equality and being the best in the class, measured by the percentage of women professors. As long as the best in the class is 27 percent, there is no doubt that more visits are needed.
A new report from the Work Research Institute shows that the academic field of history remains highly male dominated. A conservative academic culture and a lack of willingness to problematize male dominance in the field can take much of the blame for this.