Co-creation workshop on gender dimension

On July 21st and July 22nd 2021, TARGET organized an online co-creation workshop on the gender dimension in teaching, research and innovation content. The main aim of the workshop was to discuss how to support the integration of the gender dimension in in curricula and research content. The workshop discussed diverse forms of resistance to gender studies and gender perspective, in particular in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, mathematics).  Two main aspects were dealt with:

  • How to deal with anti-gender movements in society as research organisations, either research performing organisation (RPOs) or research funding organisations (RFOs).
  • How RPOs and RFOs in the STEM fields could consider the gender dimension in research, curricula, and teaching.

In the first day of the workshop, the invited speakers were Andrea Pető, professor in the department of gender studies at the Central European University, and Renate Dworczak, professor of Chemistry at the Karl Franzens University. Prof. Pető focused on recent attacks on gender studies. Through interviews to neo-Nazi and anti-feminist movements in Hungary, she has developed a new theoretical framework, the “Polypore” state. It refers to a new form of governance: parallel institutions, security narratives, privileging family over women’s rights (familialism). In this context, she stated that academic freedom in gender studies and other aspects will be one of the key discussions in the future: “you know academic freedom when you don’t have it”. Prof. Dworczak addressed how to get the involvement of neutral people or bystanders when it comes to including gender in research. According to her incentives and rewards are needed, but they should be tailored to the organizational and individual characteristics – and top commitment is very relevant. In the second part of the day, the cases of TARGET’s partners ARACIS (Romania) and ELIAMEP (Greece) were discussed, with valuable feedback from Prof. Pető and Prof. Dworczak. The discussion hinged around creating a new evaluation methodology criterion in order to foster the introduction of gender in the universities’ curricula (ARACIS) and how to motivate senior researchers to engage with gender in their research (ELIAMEP).

In the second day of the workshop the invited speakers were Sabine Köszegi, full professor for Labour Science and Organization at the Technical University Vienna, and Jennie C. Stephens, professor at the Northeastern University in Boston. Prof. Köszegi reflected on gendered organizations, gendering processes, and improving gender competences through identity reflection. Prof. Stephens advocated for a diversification of leadership that put antiracist and feminist priorities in the centre in order to address the climate crisis. In the second part of the day, two cases of the TARGET’s partner RMEI were discussed: Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece) and École Centrale Marseille (France). In the first case it was stressed the necessity to talk about gender equality not only as women’s issue but a human issue which affects us all and to link gender equality to the sustainable development goals. Gender equality courses in engineering, mechanical and electrical engineering should be mandatory and supported by management. In the case of École Centrale, it was stated that the proportion of women and men is the same among new entrants and graduates.  However, it was highlighted that numbers are not enough. The engineering curricula is very comprehensive, including social and professional issues, and provides room for addressing gender issues. In particular, the courses on ethics and management need to be improved in order to include in a more consistent way gender in curricula and scientific counsel.