The first Target institutional workshop in Morocco was held on 22nd February 2018 at the University Hassan II Casablanca (UH2C), in Mohammedia.
After the institutional welcome and presentation, Maria Caprile and Rachel Palmen, representatives of NOTUS (Spain), gave an outline of the Target project: an opportunity to exchange experience and learn about what is happening elsewhere in the area of gender, including tools such as surveys and workshops.
Target’s main goals. Target’s goal is not only to implement a gender approach but a reflexive policy as well, in order to have the ability to actually follow it. Target has three dimensions: gender bias in human resources management (recruitment, retention and career advancement of researchers), gender inequalities in decision-making processes, strengthening gender perspective in research and innovation content and higher education programs. During the meeting it was emphasized the importance of involving the top management of the university in such a project.
Create change. With regard to audit, it was pointed out that Target project aims to evaluate: human resources policy on recruitment, the gender role in decision-making, the gender role in programs and curricula. It was added that it is important to analyse the situation of the institution in terms of gender equality as well as to form a lobby group that can create change and achieve the goals of the Target team at the university.
Why Target is an institutional project. Professor Rachida Nafaa and Professor Amina Bettachy, representatives of the University of Hassan II Casablanca, explained why Target is an institutional project. The issue goes beyond female participation and engagement, it essentially affects decision-making within the university. To this end, Mustapha Aboumaarof, the Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry added that his institution began to respect the representation of men and women in matters of juries and commissions including recruitment. This is an example of the expected changes.
The importance of the Steering Committee. Professor Mina Bettachy, coordinator of the Target project at UH2C, explained some of the steps of the project, namely the constitution of the Steering Committee (Community of Practice), whose mission is to understand the gender situation in the university and to involve other people capable of create change in gender. “In addition, the project” she added “is based on two types of studies: statistics and a research project so as to find the perception of teacher-researchers on gender equality through surveys”. It was emphasized the importance of the Steering Comittee that ensures the sustainability of the project where each member must have a clearly defined role.
Inaccessible data. Ms. Mordane, professor at the Faculty of Science and member of the Target working group steering committee presented the preliminary results of the statistical research. She began by raising the difficulties encountered in conducting the study: the data were not accessible or they were not available according to the gender variable. The statistics collecting team was forced to rework the database. Ms. Mordane pointed out that some data, such as those for the management bodies of the institutions, are not yet available. Then, she presented the data obtained on the number of students, teacher-researchers and administrative staff, as well as the percentage of women in each category, in the research commission and the academic commission of the university council. It was noted the insufficient exploitation of APOGEE (the computer system of the university) which does not exceed 30% of what it will be able to offer in terms of statistical data.
First results of the survey. Professor Rachida Rocky, member of the Target steering committee, presented the first results of the survey, developed in collaboration with NOTUS. It included 60 questions concerning employment and career data, demographics, work-life-balance data and questions on the assessment of perceptions of equality at UH2C – to see how women teachers perceive the notion of equality at the university. The survey was put on line on Google platform, it was sent to 500 women (professors and PhD students) but it received only about fifty answers. Some participants mentioned the insufficiency of the answers collected. Others emphasized the revealing side of the non-answers: some women do not believe in the question of gender inequality since they focus only on their own experience forgetting or ignoring the reality of the inequality experienced by many other women. Suggest was made to involve men and women in the survey in order to have more reactions before generalizing the research. The survey, which need to be improved, will be sent to all university staff by involving men and women, teachers and administrative staff, in order to have more reactions.
Research on gender in Morocco. Gender equality in research content and higher education curricula was presented by Professor Rajaa Nadifi. Her speech proceeded by an inventory of research and training at national level. Research structures on gender started in 2004-2006, about 25 units worked and allowed the development of training in the same direction. At national level, there were 7 gender trainings, 4 of which closed and only three been remaining functional in Tangiers, Fez and Casablanca. At Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences Ain Choc(FLSHAC) there are 50 Phd students working on gender and 15 thesis have been achieved. Professor Nadifi talked about a national meeting organized at FLSHAC in 2015 where some general states on gender were adopted and signed by 200 participants and communicated to the press. These states insisted on the implementation of urgent measures to deal with the suppression of certain gender training courses; the need for more efforts to raise awareness and recognize gender studies; the institutionalization and framing of gender training; the preparation of a training on gender and its integration in all sectors; the sharing of a conceptual repository on gender; gender analysis at the institutional level; the opening of the university on its social environment; the recognition of the scientific literature on gender; the support of research programs on social themes; the development and dissemination of gender analysis grids.
Proposals. A debate was opened around the various presentations and several proposals were made from the participants towards the development of a gender policy in the university. The debate continued in the afternoon. Stakeholders emphasized the need for further discussion in the Steering Committee to set priorities. Various measures have been proposed:
- Develop a charter on gender at university.
- Workshops coaching men and women on gender equality.
- Encourage more women to apply for decision-making positions.
- Develop female leadership through training, strengthening skills and leadership building.
- Discussion workshops between men and women on the evolution of their careers to integrate gender into practices.
- Ask for a certain percentage of women on committees.
- Opening of the university on its social environment.
- Establish a bibliography on gender.
- Create transitions for the Target project such as studying the impact of women on scientific research.
- Assure succession by creating continuing education programs on gender and development.
- Organize doctoral studies on gender.
- Translate published works on gender in Arabic for more visibility.