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“A very surprising and generous recognition of our efforts to promote gender equality,” says Rector Sigmund Loland.
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.
“It’s possible for women to be managers in male-dominated research fields. Just come to SINTEF and see for yourself,” says Marie-Laure Olivier. She should know what she is talking about. Marie-Laure has always been surrounded by men.
All the fuss about recruitment destroys young women’s interest in natural science, according to educational researcher Guðrún Jónsdóttir.
It is pointless to start a search for female applicants one week before the application deadline. If you want to increase the number of women in a male-dominated field, you have to make long-term plans. This is according to Tor Grande, who recently stepped down as head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).
“We don’t discuss gender equality very much; after all, it’s an integral part of our job,” says Vice-Dean Helge Klungland of the Faculty of Medicine at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). “Nobody is hired or granted project funding here without gender equality being part of the process.”
This was the clear message from the CEO of the SINTEF Group, Unni Steinsmo, when she opened a conference on gender equality in the independent research institutes.
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.
The Norwegian Government will extend the term of the national committee that promotes gender equality. It is also proposing financial rewards for institutions that employ women in high-level positions in the male-dominated natural sciences.
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).