There was something peculiar about the discussions when research grants were being awarded, according to the committee chair. Something did not feel right. Then the Swedish Research Council began sending observers to the meetings.
Both the University of Oslo and the University of Bergen are hoping that the Gender Equality Act will be amended. It is the only way they will get their wish to use gender quotas to admit men to professional studies in psychology.
The percentage of women in top-level academic positions in mathematics, natural science and technology must increase. This is according to the Norwegian Government, which has now set aside NOK 10 million to speed up the process. The money will be used to reward universities and university colleges that raise the percentage of female academic staff during 2010.
The better the gender balance, the more we benefit from the pool of researcher talent. This is the argument made by the independent research institutes for their own gender equality efforts. However, a new study shows that women are in short supply at the highest levels of research and in leadership positions within the sector.
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.
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.
A gender researcher in the Senate, an innovative gender equality adviser, new tactics and good timing. These factors were instrumental when the University of Oslo passed a new gender equality action plan.