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New policy for gender balance and gender perspectives in research

“The Research Council will be a driving force in achieving gender balance and gender perspectives in research,” says Arvid Hallén, Director General of the Research Council of Norway.

For many years the Research Council has worked to promote gender equality in research and encouraged research that incorporates gender perspectives and produces fundamental knowledge about gender. The Research Council recently adopted  a new policy PDF - 460 KB in this field.

“The policy will help us to strengthen these efforts by setting more specific, verifiable objectives,” says Mr Hallén.

Photo: Jan Christian Sørlie “The loss of female research talent gives cause for concern for both Norwegian and international research,” says Mr Hallén. (Photo: Jan Christian Sørlie) Loss of researcher talent

Norway has ranked at the top in Europe with regard to the proportion of female board members and heads of research institutions. With regard to senior-level academic positions, however, the situation is less rosy: Norway scores slightly below the average for the countries in the overview.

In Norway, the number of women and men earning doctoral degrees is the same. Yet even in areas where women constitute the majority of doctoral students, it is men who comprise the majority of those recruited to research careers at the senior level.

“The loss of female research talent gives cause for concern for both Norwegian and international research,” says Mr Hallén.

“Experience shows that introducing simple, concrete measures can lead to a substantial improvement in the gender composition. To bring about a more sweeping change, leaders within the sector must get involved and play an active role,” he emphasises.

Gender perspectives a mandatory assessment criterion

In recent years the Research Council has introduced gender perspectives in research as a mandatory criterion in the assessment of grant applications.

“All of our programmes and initiatives must specifically assess what the gender dimension means for their particular knowledge field. If we are to succeed, we must raise the level of expertise among everyone involved. The aim is to enhance the overall quality of research,” says Mr Hallén.

High on the international agenda

Gender balance and gender perspectives are key components of European research and innovation policy.

“We must aspire to become one of the leading countries in Europe in this area. Norway has all the prerequisites – culturally, economically and politically – to achieve this goal,” the Director General states.

Written by:
Siv Haugan/Else Lie. Translation: Connie Stultz/Carol B. Eckmann
Published:
13.02.2014
Last updated:
13.02.2014