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Outcome of the GENERA interview series

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Recommendations for Gender Equality Plans in physics


The analysis of interviews allowed to identify a number of specific institutional and cultural barriers that female - and to a certain degree also male - physicists face in their career paths. To remove these barriers certain measures need to be implemented in research organizations. Beneath a handful of recommendations for such gender equality measures is discussed. Yet, it is important to stress that in any case specific needs of an organization should be taken into account, so that Gender Equality Plans can serve as a successful tool in fostering gender equality in a given context.

Raising gender awareness and disseminating knowledge

  • Importance of raising awareness about determinants of low women representation in physics;
  • Including different groups of physicists (male, female, young, senior, from different subfields) to the debate on gender equality in physics;
  • Disseminating information about different actions, measures and initiatives among physicists. Any actions and measures towards gender equality need to be always widely disseminated and engaging as many as possible stakeholders. The information about the measures should be presented in an attractive and communicable form;

Promoting anti-discriminatory attitudes, knowledge and actions

  • Organizing anti-discriminatory trainings and workshops for all men and women - with special attention given to recognizing and coping with covert gender discrimination and micro-aggressions;
  • The necessity to sensitize both research institutes' leaders and employees to the problem of covert gender discrimination and micro-aggressions which seem to be inevitable, especially due its' frequent unrecognizability and alleged harmlessness;
  • As special measures seem to be widely questioned, they should be used cautiously and tailored to the institutional needs by weighting their pros and cons. Their implementation should be preceded by well-designed informative action.
  • Supporting various initiatives that promote gender equality among physicists by building broader anti-discriminatory networks;
  • Creating formal and informal women support groups and networks.

Developing gender sensitive mentoring programs

  • Developing mentoring programs for women and men at early stage of their career;
  • Including empowerment measures for women and gender equality perspective to the mentoring programs

Promoting a family-friendly and fair workplace

  • Promoting a family-friendly atmosphere in a workplace by e.g. organizing a changing room for children in department, children playrooms, accessible childcare facilities located close to a workplace.
  • Promoting fairness and transparency in the employment policy;
  • Promoting transparency in procedures concerning access to scientific equipment, conference/short mobility funding, presentations at internal workshops etc.;

Promoting diversified forms of mobility

  • Promoting international mobility by taking into consideration various needs and capacities of researchers;
  • Promoting diversified forms of mobility, e.g. long- and short-term mobility, an individual and with a family mobility.

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