Strategies for Sustainable Gender Equality: Kick-off meeting, Paris, Monday December 2nd

The PSL (Paris Sciences Lettres) University, Ecole Normale Supérieure and the French National Center for Research hosted the first, inaugural meeting of our Community of Practice « Strategies for Sustainable Gender Equality » in Paris, on Monday December 2nd. 20 practitioners, academics and researchers from Spain, France, Sweden, Germany and the UK joined us for a day of exchanges around Gender Equality in Higher Education, Research and Innovation environments.

The day started with a comprehensive introduction on the ACT project by Anne-Sophie Godfroy. This included short introductions of all other communities of practice featured in ACT. We then focused on the specificities of our Community of Practice and the notion of strategies that might encourage the sustainability of Gender Equality Plans and actions in academia as well as in Research and Innovation environments.

Throughout the afternoon, participants worked in groups for a brainstorming session around questions that would allow us to use group dynamics and the group collective intelligence for prioritising the main themes and topics we will work on for the next one and a half year. We aspire to empower our Community of Practice members to continue their collaboration beyond the project horizon of the ACT project, using a bottom-up, co-creation approach.

This work allowed us to collaboratively visit current practices and challenges bringing forward the experiences of all meeting participants. Discussing lessons learned, best practices and current challenges, allowed us to enunciate the questions around which we will scaffold short and long-term collaborations and exchanges.

7 main topics of common interest emerged:

i. How do we measure and evaluate gender equality practices in Higher Education, Research and Innovation Environments?

ii. How can we define the notion of change (including institutional and organisational learning)? iii.

iii. What constitutes a « strategy » ? There are different scales, different levels, different approaches in collaboration, lobbying and networking strategies.

iv. How can we train and educate research, teaching, administrative staff on Gender Equality ? What are the pitfalls of the current situation today in Europe and overseas?

v. What can be done to assist and support early career resaerchers?

vi. What can be done to raise awareness and prevent sexual harassment in academia?

vii. Finally, participants expressed a vivid interest for establishing a mentoring and support scheme around career development and work-life balance issues among the members of our community of practice. More experienced members in Research, Innovation and Academia) can offer help and assistance on younger or less experienced members of our community of practice.

The meeting concluded with figuring out dates and venues for the next meetings of our Community of Practice.

Interested in participating ? There is still time to join « Strategies for Sustainable Gender Equality » ! Stay tuned and contact us as soon as possible to find out more!