STAGES Mid-term workshop: “Gender and Science – Advancements and resistances in fighting structural inequality”

On 25 March 2014, the Mid-Term Workshop of the STAGES Project entitled “Gender and Science:

Advancements and resistances in fighting structural inequality” took place at the Espace Banca Monte Paschi Belgio in Brussels. The event, which was designed specifically to provide an opportunity for discussion and exchange of ideas on the implementation of structural change in research organisations and universities, was aimed at strengthening and widening the scope of the mutual learning process on structural change already in place among the partners of STAGES. Hence, the workshop’s objective was also to promote a constructive debate on the cross-cutting issues emerging in the implementation of projects aimed at activating structural transformations within research institutions.

The event was opened by Mr. Marino Di Nardo, representative of the Department for Equal Opportunities of the Italian Presidency of the Council of Ministers (DPO), which coordinates and co-funds the STAGES Project, and by Mr. Gilles Laroche, Head of the Science with and for Society Unit of the DG Research and Innovation of the European Commission. The workshop was then organised into three different sessions.

The first one was entitled “Negotiating change in five research institutions: the STAGES experience at mid-term” and chaired by Ms. Caroline Bélan-Ménagier of the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research. Its main aim was to present the outputs of the mutual learning process implemented within the framework of the project. Each partner institution dealt with a specific cross-cutting issue, rather than focusing only on its own Action Plan.

As STAGES is part of a larger European strategy, it was decided to involve also other structural change projects funded by the European Commission in the workshop such as, inter alia, Integer, GenisLab, FESTA, Genovate, and Gender Time, with a view to starting an open reflection on the implementation of structural change in terms of constraints, opportunities and tools for action. To this end, the second session was dedicated to the “Dialogue on structural change”, chaired by Ms. Viviane Willis Mazzichi, Head of the “Gender” Sector of the abovementioned European Commission’s DG, and organised into five thematic groups (world café format). Such an organization allowed to carry out informal discussions on the main issues related to the STAGES Project.

The third session of the event took the form of a final Roundtable with the aim of promoting debate between a group of external experts invited to the event and the other participants on the different aspects of the issue of gender and science, also on the basis of the inputs provided in the previous sessions. This last session was opened by Ms. Virginia Valian, Distinguished Professor at the Department of Psychology at the Hunter College of The City University of New York. The interactive part of the session was then chaired by Ms.

Inés Sanchez de Madariaga of the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, and the roundtable involved Ms. Katrien Maes, Chief Policy Officer of the League of European Research Universities; Ms. Jadranka Gvozdanovic, Ruprecht Karls Universität Heidelberg; Ms. Alice Hogan, founding Director of the ADVANCE Programme at the National Science Foundation; Ms. Claudine Hermann, Vice-President of the European Platform of Women Scientists; and Mr. Paul Walton, University of York.