The EQUAL-IST project (Gender Equality Plans for Information Sciences and Technology Research Institutions) aims at introducing structural changes to enhance gender equality in Information Sciences and Technology (IST) research institutions. It has been demonstrated that IST is among the research sectors most affected by gender inequalities at all levels. The project aims to address ERA objectives in relation to gender equality by supporting seven Research Performing Organisations (RPOs) from Northern, Southern and Central European countries, as well as one CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) country in developing and implementing tailored Gender Equality Plans (GEPs). All RPOs forming the EQUAL-IST project consortium are at a starting stage in setting up of GEPs and they have also ensured the support in GEPs implementation from the respective highest management levels.
The project combines gender mainstreaming and positive actions on three main levels:
- HR practices and management processes,
- Student services and institutional communication,
- Research design and delivery.
For addressing and solving issues of horizontal and vertical segregation in research and administrative careers, work-life balance, gender imbalance in student enrolment, and gender neutral/blind approach to IST research, the EQUAL-IST project is aimed at influencing organizational structures, discourses, and behaviours.
In addition, the EQUAL-IST project will promote a participatory approach towards creation of gender equality policies, ensuring at the same time the active dialogue with and involvement of decision makers at the participating RPOs. By setting up a dedicated crowdsourcing online collaborative platform, the project will support both RPOs’ initial internal assessment and the GEPs design process. The toolkits, guidelines, and methodologies developed during the EQUAL-IST project, as well as lessons learned, will be disseminated in Europe and other CIS countries.