To promote gender equality in the higher education sector, the Ministry of Education and Research appointed the Committee for Mainstreaming – Women in Science in 2004 for a three-year period. The next committee served from 2007 to 2010 under an expanded mandate that also encompassed the research institutes. A new committee was appointed as from 1 April 2010 with the name Committee for Gender Balance in Research (KIF). The period of appointment was extended to four years and expired on 31 December 2013.
A new committee has been appointed for the period 1 January 2014 to 31 December 2017. The name has been changed to the Committee for Gender Balance and Diversity in Research (KIF) and has the following expanded mandate which also includes diversity:
Objective of the Committee
The Committee shall support and give recommendations regarding measures that promote the integration of gender balance and diversity activities at universities, university colleges and research institutes, thus helping to increase diversity among the staff and in research. The Committee shall seek to raise the overall level of awareness of problems related to diversity and inclusion in the research system. Its most important task during the period is to address issues of gender and ethnicity. Its activities are to encompass diversity perspectives, including gender perspectives, in research.
Actors and institutions in the higher education sector and research institute sector, as well as the ministries and the Research Council of Norway, may request assistance and advice from the Committee. The Committee itself may also initiate measures and assess the impact of these. The Committee’s primary tasks are to be linked to the areas of responsibility under the purview of the Ministry of Education and Research. International perspectives must also be reflected in these efforts.
The Committee shall be appointed by the Ministry of Education and Research. Members and deputies may be reappointed, but no one may sit for longer than two consecutive periods. Representatives of student organizations are to be appointed for one year at a time.
The Ministry of Education and Research shall provide funding for the Committee’s activities within the framework of the annual national budgets. The allocation is to cover the Committee’s day-to-day operations and secretariat, as well as funding for diversity measures at universities, university colleges and research institutes.
The Committee has been appointed from 1 January 2014 to 31 December 2017, and will be evaluated at the end of the period. The board of the Norwegian Association of Higher Education Institutions (UHR) has been given organizational responsibility for the Committee and its secretariat. The Committee shall cooperate closely with the Research Council of Norway and KILDEN Information Centre for Gender Research in Norway. The Committee itself, in consultation with the board of UHR, has been given responsibility for further developing the guidelines for these efforts.
Reports on the Committee’s activities shall be submitted on a regular basis to the Ministry of Education and Research and other relevant actors.
Composition of the Committee
The Committee shall be comprised of 11 to 13 members, and include the following core representatives:
- 4 members and 2 deputies from the higher education sector. On recommendation from UHR.
- 1 member and 1 deputy from the Research Council of Norway. On recommendation from the Research Council of Norway.
- 2 members and 1 deputy from the research institutes (1 member must be from a technical-industrial institute). On recommendation from the Association of Norwegian Research Institutes.
- 2 members and 1 deputy from the national student organization. On recommendation from the National Union of Students in Norway.
In addition, the Ministry of Education and Research and KILDEN Information Centre for Gender Research in Norway may have one observer each on the Committee.
The Committee’s members will ideally hold upper-level positions at their institutions, and have a strong commitment to diversity efforts at the institutions. Moreover, the provision of the Gender Equality Act requiring representation of both genders on public committees, governing boards and councils is to be followed, cf. Section 13.
If for various reasons a member is no longer able to sit on the Committee, e.g. due to illness or a change of workplace, and thus can no longer represent the institutions and organizations stated above, the Ministry of Education and Research shall appoint a new member in consultation with the institution or organization that has proposed the new member.
This mandate was adopted by the Ministry of Education and Research in August 2014.