University of Belgrade: developing a long term gender equality strategy

The first Gender Equality Plan (GEP) at the level of University of Belgrade was developed in 2018, based on the findings and conclusions of the first Gender Equality Audit, a self-assessment conducted in the period of September 2017-March 2018, as a part of the “Taking a Reflexive Approach to Gender Equality for Institutional Transformation” project under the European Union Horizon 2020 research and innovation program. The audit was focused on three main dimensions of gender equality at the University of Belgrade: human resources management, decision making and curricula and research content.

The main aim of the Gender Equality Plan document is to initiate a process of developing a long term gender equality strategy by expressing University of Belgrade’s dedication to promoting gender equality at all levels, at the same time presenting the university’s equality principles as well as main objectives and key measures for meeting the objectives. When it comes to human resource management, the initial assessment of this area has shown there is still no system in place for monitoring trends in career paths of women and men in academia, including different complex factors that might be contributing to inequality. Therefore, one of the priorities of intervention identified in the GEP is reassessing the existing data collection and addressing the data gaps. Establishing a permanent system for collecting data on the trends when it comes to gender composition of teaching and research staff is considered a priority at this point, before any other measures in this area can be recommended.

There were significant gender gaps identified when it comes to the participation of women in governing and decision making bodies of the University. Women are under-represented almost in all relevant decision making bodies, including those within the traditionally “female dominated” scientific fields. Addressing underlining (implicit) bias and stereotypes about women in position of power is identified as one of the measures needed in order to contribute to possible increased representation of women in this area in the future. Apart from that, establishing a permanent system for collecting data on the gender composition of decision making bodies is considered a priority.

The audit has shown that there is no systematic gender mainstreaming of higher education curricula and research content. There is a lack of systematic comprehensive data on courses that focus on gender studies and gender equality. Establishing a data base of all such courses should be a priority, as well as the development of appropriate and context specific indicators for monitoring the state of gender equality in research content and higher education curricula.

Having these main audit conclusions and priorities identified, the measures and actions in the University of Belgrade Gender Equality Plan are mainly transversal.

The document was approved and signed by the Rector in September 2018.