Gender Equality Success at a Cypriot Youth NGO

In the context of the second R&I Peers Multisectoral Conference, participants had the opportunity to receive first-hand feedback from external project stakeholders about their experience of implementing Gender Equality Plans. One panelist, Niki Karoulla, President of Active Zone Outdoor and Physical Education Teacher in Primary Education, shared her experience of a GEP implementation at Active Zone Outdoor, a non-profit organisation she runs in Cyprus.

As a first action in their GEP implementation, Karoulla says Active Zone Outdoor–which enjoys a membership of fifteen organisations and reaches 250 young people with sporting activities in Cyprus–focused on creating gender balance in two key areas: Within the AZO board of directors, and among participants in AZO external events that focus on outdoor sports activities for youth, ages 18 to 30.

In both cases, AZO reported successes. As of 2019, their 15-member board of directors enjoys involvement by seven women, with Karoulla herself as President. Karoulla also reports that “Click and Go, ” a project promoting non-traditional sports to women, succeeded at reaching equal gender engagement across trainers, leaders, and participants. Key to this success Karoulla says, was “promoting ‘atypical’ sports to women, like mountain climbing, and also by including women leaders in mountain climbing among their training team. This latter especially “challenged important gender stereotypes in this sport,” Karoulla said.

An additional success story Karoulla shared was a program called the Youth Policy Project, which aimed to “cultivate a culture of awareness for equal gender representation in Cyprus. In dialogue among policy-makers, youth, media, coaches, trainers and athletes, Karoulla says their event succeeded in having fifty-fifty participation across the board, a genuine accomplishment.

Karoulla says that key to these successes may be that Active Zone Outdoor is an organisation “made up of young people with an open mindset” which facilitates actions to support gender equality. “Maybe also because I am female,” she adds. Looking forward, Karoulla says she hopes the experience of implementing a gender equality plan at AZO can show that other NGOs can benefit from such strategies. Critical to this she says, is that “people in charge of the organisation have to treat gender issues as impacting both male and female. It is not just an issue for women,” Karoulla says. “It is an issue for all of us.”

Lessons in Engagement: The R&I PEERS Second Multisectoral Conference

On 20 April 2021, the R&I Peers project hosted its Second Multisectoral Conference addressing “the impact of gender equality plans on internal and external stakeholders.” The purpose of this conference was to disseminate the results and contribution of the R&I Peers project to advancing gender equality in research and innovation in EU. The conference dove into questions about the real impact of gender equality plan (GEP) implementation, both internal and external to the GEP implementing organisation.

The following topics were discussed:

  • The impact of the GEP implementation on internal stakeholders
  • Gender Equality Plan in engaging external local, regional and national stakeholders
  • Most successful actions in the GEP implementation

Science and innovation leaders, decision makers, researchers and practitioners ready to collaborate, were invited to the conference to share and learn about gender equality in R&I.

The conference program can be found on this link.  

Dr. Dorit Avni Awarded EUR 7.5M Grant for Ground-breaking Research

Dr. Dorit Avni credits a gender equality plan implemented during the R&I Peers Project with her success at leading and winning a prestigious EU Horizon2020 project bid in the amount of EUR 7.5 million. Dr. Avni, whose project ALGEA4IBD will pursue ground-breaking research on inflammatory bowel disease, is group leader of the Bioactive Metabolites and Immune Modulation Laboratory at the MIGAL Galilee Research Institute (MIGAL), a regional mega-R&D centre supported by Israel’s Ministry of Science and Technology, and partner to the R&I Peers Project.

As part of an R&I Peers Gender Action Plan implementation at MIGAL, Dr. Avni and her colleagues participated in “Champions,” a course launched in 2019 aiming to promote advancement of women researchers and increase their participation in international and competitive research projects, in leading scientific journals, and in economic and research decision-making,

Following the course, which tackled empowering self-confidence, improving presentation capabilities, and developing the ability to write competitive research proposal, Dr. Avni initiated, led and coordinated a successful consortium bid for the ALGEA4IBD Project.

Of her achievement Shai-Lee Spigelman, Science and Technology Ministry Director-General says, “this award is an impressive achievement that few achieve, with international recognition confirming the importance of this innovative project aimed at transforming algae into sorely needed treatments for inflammatory related diseases.”

For more details see the article published in Yahoo Finance and The Jerusalem Post.

R&I PEERS Contributes to Gender Equality in CEE Conference

Tanja Petrović, R&I PEERS team member representing partner ZRC SAZU, joined the 12-13 November 2020 international conference entitled “Gender equality in CEE countries: Policies and practices 2020; Institutional change through implementation of GEPs at RPOs and RFOs in CEE countries.” The aim of the event was to bring together promoters and implementers of Gender Equality Plans (GEPs) developed in the framework of Horizon 2020 projects, along with researchers who are exploring gender issues in science in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). The conference was organized by the Lithuanian Social Research Centre (LSRC) and Vilnius University, and sponsored by the Research Council of Lithuania.

Tanja Petrovič of ZRC SAZU, R&I PEERS Project Partner

On the first day of the event, Petrović presented the R&I PEERS project and the process of GEP design and implementation at ZRC SAZU. On the second day, she participated in a panel on “Removing barriers to the recruitment, retention and career progression of women researchers,” and discussed the ways in which the GEP adopted at ZRC SAZU addresses female researchers’ careers, excellence and prospect for career advancement. In particular, Petrović emphasized mentoring, work-life balance, and construction of excellence as three important domains that shape female researchers’ careers and define their possibilities in academia. These domains are covered in a series of strategies and actions detailed in ZRC SAZU’s GEP. Petrovič also addressed the ways these strategies have been adjusted in the monitoring phase of GEP implementation in order to better respond to researchers’ actual needs.

Broaden Your Horizons with a Master in Diversity from the University of Salerno

The Master in Leadership, Gender Equality, Diversity Opportunities (LeGenDO) represents an important outcome in the extensive research, programmes, and activities developed within the Horizon Project 2020, R&I Peers , at the University of Salerno (Italy). This outstanding University, recognised as one of the most influential Italian institutions in terms of both research activity and teaching programs is also leader of a consortium of ten European partners of the R&I Peers Project. The Master project, approved by the Department of Human Studies (Dipsum), is one of the main actions of the Gender Equality Plan (GEP) within the domain “Gender Perspective in Teaching and Research”. The program aims at bridging the gap between business-focused and values-based, humanistic leadership skills.

Designed specifically for graduated who intend to boost their career opportunities in Gender Equality and Diversity Opportunity areas, this twelve month program also provides an excellent opportunity for professionals who want to harness and develop the right skills that add value to a business, whilst embarking on a leadership development journey.

On completion of this programme, you’ll be empowered to:

– Create a personal project work, starting from its development plan, including the aims, objectives, and resources needed for the implementation, to the impact evaluation phase.

– Critically examine and recognise the leadership potential, under a perspective of Inclusiveness, Gender Equality, and Diversity Opportunities, together with its outcomes in political, economic, and social terms.

– Understand how to respond to culture and gender assumptions and stereotypes, including LGBT, to overcome the binary category of gender and adopting gender fair strategies to combat sexist and discriminating hate speech on both traditional and online media.  

– Evaluate and experiment a range of methods and resources to develop and implement GEPs in Diversity Management and Gender Equality subjects.

– Join a global network of local and international companies and associations to broaden the impact and influence of your own project.

Important: Due to the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the starting date of the Master’s degree courses may be postponed to the academic year 2021-2022.

Driving Gender Equality in Nanoscience

CIC nanoGUNE is one of the seven piloting organisations implementing a Gender Equality Plan (GEP) under the umbrella of the EU R&I PEERS project. NanoGUNE is a research performing organisation of medium size, employing approximately one hundred people, which focuses on nanoscience and nanotechnology. NanoGUNE launched its GEP in April 2019.

NanoGUNE is very committed to the implementation of its GEP. To strengthen the implementation of the GEP, aligned with execution of the R&I PEERS project, nanoGUNE carried out two key actions:

  1. Establishment of a Gender Equality Committee (GEC)
  2. Hiring of a consultant, Elhuyar Aholkularitza

With the aim of ensuring a credible, sustainable, realistic, and responsible GEP, nanoGUNE has consolidated a transparent, inclusive and participatory process together with its workforce. The main example was the exhaustive online questionnaire carried out between August and September 2018 which aimed at identifying the staff needs regarding eight key areas of action (Table 1).

Table 1. GEP Target areas at CIC nanoGUNE

In addition, three actions were recently carried out at nanoGUNE, in the area identified by the project as Conciliation, as highlighted in the questionnaire on addressing Work-Life Balance issues.

Table 2. GEP Survey Question on Work-Life Balance
  1. An agreement with a nearby childcare facility with discounts for nanoGUNE employees, and a special arrangement for attendees of conferences organised/co-organised by nanoGUNE in Donostia-San Sebastián
  2. A campaign to organize meetings during core working hours of the institute, between 9am and 5pm
  3. Promoting telework, where possible, depending on the position , if requested, and as required for addressing work-life balance issues

Tackling Pension Gaps and Sexism in the Public Sphere in Greece

In February 2020, four seminars took place in Athens and Thessaloniki that targeted media stakeholders and tackled sexism in the public sphere. Participants included journalists, university students in media and journalism, and women participating in public fora.

The seminars were hosted by the Greek General Secretariat of Family Policy and Gender Equality (GSFPGE) as part of a European Union project whose objective is to recognize, address and prevent gender discrimination in public debates by reinforcing the capacity of two kinds of stakeholders:

  • Female politicians in the public sphere ; and
  • Women in media, including journalists, media studies students, bloggers, etc.

The project, entitled “Gender Public Debate: Capacity building for women candidates and media stakeholders in public debates in Greece,” is co-funded by the EU Program REC 2014-20.

As part of the PEGASUS project, the event also saw launch of an Online Pension Calculator designed to help people calculate future pension benefits based on current and projected employment. By completing three fields, users are given the option to evaluate different career and family life scenarios and assess the impact of their choices on pension benefits. On this basis, they are encouraged to make informed decisions today that will support them in securing pensions.

The Online Pension Calculator aims to create awareness about the so-called “pension gap,” or difference in pension benefits between men and women, which approaches 30% in the EU and 25% in Greece in favor of men. The calculator was developed in the context of the PEGASUS project, whose aim is addressing the Gender Pension in Greece. PEGASUS is being implemented in collaboration between the Greek General Secretariat for Family Policy and Gender Equality (coordinator), the Research Centre for Gender Equality (KETHI) and the National Center for Social Research (EKKE). It is funded by the European Union’s “Rights, Equality and Citizenship” Program 2014-2020.

For more information, please visit the links below:

Professor Loredana Incarnato presenting GEP as the heart of structural change

Professor Loredana Incarnato, Full Professor of Material Science and Technology at the University of Salerno, took part to the final event of the SAGE Project (Systemic Action for Gender Equality), held in Brussels on 10th July 2019. The Conference included the presentation of the final results and experiences of the SAGE Project, and a panel discussion involving representatives of the next generation of EU gender equality projects. Professor Loredana Incarnato, leader of the WP 4 “GEPs set-up, running and improvement” of the R&I PEERS Project presented the project as well as the results reached so far.

Professor Incarnato gave particular attention to the seven Gender Equality Plans approved in the framework of R&I PEERS, and the importance of the monitoring indicators as part of the process of change.