Female birds sing, too
In the last edition of the InsiderS, I wrote about some surprising insights concerning the gender dimension in academic research (http://nccr-planets.ch/heartbreaking-disregard-female-perspective/). This is the last article in this series and deals with gender in research projects, as discussed during a gender conference (http://nccr-planets.ch/gender-bias-erc-grant-evaluation/) – it would be interesting to see how and where this could be implemented in Astrophysics research: How to include the gender perspective in research and innovation projects.
By Nadine Afram
Gender research in STEM fields. The concept of responsible research and innovation was discussed and how it indispensably has to integrate gender and diversity perspectives. This integration has to be done at different levels to realise sustainable research. Sustainability has to include: Economy, Ecology, Society, and Culture.
If a project wants to be sustainable it has to take into account society and culture. Examples for the ‘gender perspective’ in various projects were given:
- Mechanical engineering: crash test dummies made for one type of man
- Transport engineering: mobility. Usually based on employment trips, but should also be based on caring work, i.e. transport of own kids, etc.
- Environmental engineering: Sanitation projects
Recommendation: Include gender and diversity into education, so that it flows into research and development automatically.
GRI (gendered research and innovation). This means the integration of sex and gender analysis into the funding and implementation process of research and innovation in different phases:
- Framing the research question (be aware of the GRI dimension)
- Analysing results: include sex/gender outcomes
Finding GRI aspects in research is not easy, but there are examples:
- Eating disorders in men are underdiagnosed and undertreated
- Bird song is mainly studied in male birds. Female birds also sing.
- Physics text books analysis shows suggestive pictures of women. Pictures of women and men are very different -> make text books more gender-sensitive
- To universities: get gender experts in panels
- To editors: include GRI in publications
- To research funders: adopt GRI policies, equal representation of men and women in panels, employ sex and gender analysis as resource to create new research.
[Notes and images from presentations by Carmen Leicht-Scholten (RWTH Aachen) and Katrien Maes (LERU Leuven) at the SNSF “Gender and Excellence: Challenges in Research Funding II” conference, 21 June 2016, Bern, Switzerland. Read more on the presentations here: http://www.snf.ch/SiteCollectionDocuments/Web-News/160705_news-gender-excellence_leicht_scholten_carmen.pdf and http://www.snf.ch/SiteCollectionDocuments/Web-News/160705-news-gender-excellence-maes-katrien.pdf]