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|Name of Organisation:||University of Barcelona (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, UAB)|
|Main implementing organisation:||University of Barcelona (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, UAB)|
|Line of Business:||Higher Education University|
|End Date:||Still Ongoing|
|Number of Employees||5694||47.59 %|
|Employees in R&D||3354||37.98 %|
|Number of Employees in Top Positions||169||41.42 %|
|Type of initiative referring to strategic objectives||structural|
|gender in research|
|Type of initiative, located on the stage of career progression of women scientists||Qualification (Higher Education)|
The main objectives were proposed and stated through specific actions in the first action plan issued by the Observatory for Equality.
The existence of sexism at Catalonian universities, and, therefore, the under-representation of women among R&D staff, although the numbers of female students has risen extensively.
They believe that the shortage of women professors and researchers implies a lack of role models for potential future women scientists and is a disadvantage for female students
Most results are expected in the mid term (the initiative has not been in place for more than 4 years). However, the measures have already had a significant impact in some areas:
Apart from the existence of gender mainstream research groups and the growing gender awareness in society, Mª Jesus Izquierdo’s report on sexism at Catalan universities led the former Rector, Lluis Ferrer, to commission her with a wider report in 2002 on the specific situation at UAB as regards sexism. This report was also addressed to recommend possible actions to eradicate sexism at the university
In 1979, UAB held a meeting against the patriarchate, which resulted in academic activities that would lay the foundations for the creation of Women’s Studies seminars and research groups.
No previous institutional measures had been in place to promote equal opportunities at the UAB.
Research, teaching and services staff at the university.
Students are an indirect target of the initiative, since they will be able to enjoy a more equality-based environment in which to pursue their studies.
In 2003, a diagnosis of the situation of sexism and women at the UAB was made, commissioned by the Rector and the governing council. The report was published in 2004 (El sexisme a la UAB. Propostes d'actuació i dades per a un diagnòstic).
The report included an action plan proposal (based on good practices mostly taken from European and USA universities).
Among these proposals was the creation of an Observatory for Equality, as an institution in charge of coordinating and developing future studies and action plans regarding gender equality.
In February 2005 the Observatory was created and the initial steps were taken to prepare the first UAB equality action plan proposal.
An observatory Advisory Council was also set up, in order to advise and guide the Observatory.
The constitution of both the Observatory and the Advisory Council was approved by the governing council, which implied a huge commitment to the initiative as well as a guarantee of its sustainability through future changes to the governing council.
It was internally linked to the Institutional Relations Vice-Rector, who later became the Commissioner for equality policies (in charge of proposing equality policies to the Rector), a new-created commissioner.
The “First action plan for equality between men and women” was approved by the governing council for a two year period, 2006-2007.
In 2008 the scope and functions of the observatory were extended to the areas of disability and social and economic inequalities.
All resources were and are currently provided by the UAB.
Many gender-aware researchers and professors were glad to finally see such official recognition of gender inequalities within the institution.
For some stakeholders, however, the initiative was not considered necessary, given their belief that the university is a gender-neutral institution, in which equal opportunities are guaranteed by means of a meritocratic system.
The first equality action plan involved the implementation of various actions aimed at preventing sexism, guaranteeing gender equality, mainstreaming gender in programs etc. The Observatory was in charge of implementing some of the measures, namely those related to dissemination. The responsibility for other actions was delegated to various university units. Due to differing levels of commitment and/or lack of resources/experience within the various units, the achievement of objectives was uneven.
Some changes were introduced as a result of lessons learned from the first action plan:
Therefore, the main lesson learned is that in non-priority and new projects, results cannot be left to informal (non-monitored) cooperation and some form of evaluation is necessary.
The corporate image of the institution has been boosted, since it is the first university to devise and implement such a wide-ranging gender strategy in Spain.
The Campus Excellence (Campus de Excelencia) award of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation to Spanish universities (and which includes a monetary prize) has as one of its requirements performing or having performed equality measures/plans at the university. The UAB won this award in 2009.
The Observatory is still active and draws up equality actions plans every two years.
The responsibility for implementing action plan proposals lies with the Equality Policies Commissioner.
Several initiatives (such as equality posts in US universities) were taken into account but not fully transferred.
The Observatory has been invited to many Spanish universities to share their advice. The University Rovira i Virgili has taken into account the structural and operational framework of the UAB observatory for the creation of its own Observatory for Equality. Given the similarity of major Spanish universities, the initiative can be partially or fully transferred.
The initiative itself is a coherent strategy to promote equal opportunities at university, one that encompasses both gender-balanced presence and gender in research contents.
The systematic approach is the most innovative feature of the initiative.
Evaluation has not yet been fully completed but will be available soon (for the current action plan).
The Observatory for Equality created by the UAB to support the design and evaluation of equality policies is a stable and sustainable initiative. It is based on institutional commitment on gender equality and a comprehensive strategy that ensures a progressively wider participation of the university community. It involves a systematic approach to equality, since it incorporates gender-balanced presence and gender in research contents.
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