The Norwegian Government has recommended consolidating the Gender Equality Act and three anti-discrimination laws into a joint anti-discrimination act. According to the KIF Committee, there are several reasons why this is not an ideal proposal.
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.
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.
“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 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 new white paper on research describes the lack of gender balance in the research sector, but its only recommendation for dealing with the problem is to ask the KIF Committee for advice. The ministry will get what it asks for.
The research sector is in unanimous agreement that the Committee for Gender Balance in Research should continue. The committee’s concluding report shows that there remain large areas in need of attention.
“We are now putting more emphasis on the gender perspective in research and education,” says Vice Rector Curt Rice. After several years of working with gender equality in the personnel area, the University of Tromsø is directing its gender equality efforts towards the research itself.
The question of whether gender points should be awarded to men who apply for female-dominated study programmes is a topic of much discussion these days. The KIF Committee has reviewed its arguments for and against introducing gender points and has issued a statement.
For three years the Norwegian government has allocated NOK 10 million annually to increase the percentage of women in high-level positions in mathematics, natural science and technology. Figures from 2010 show that half of the funding remained unused after one year, and there is strong evidence that the same holds true for 2011. What's gone wrong?
The recipient of the Gender Equality Award for 2011 is the University of Tromsø, which according to the jury is one of the key players in the field of gender equality. “It is very gratifying to have been selected for this award,” says Rector Jarle Aarbakke.