Horizon 2020 considers gender as a cross-cutting issue and stipulates that “the gender dimension shall be adequately integrated in research and innovation content, i.e. in programmes and projects and followed through at all stages of the research cycle”. Integrating the gender dimension in research and innovation content is one of the three objectives on gender equality in Horizon 2020. It means integrating sex and gender analysis into research. This ranges from securing inclusion of women and men as subjects in research to considering the needs of women and men as end-users of technological innovations.
This is the core of the White paper approved by the Advisory Group on Gender – one of the fourth cross-cutting advisory groups composed of members of the 15 groups of independent experts who advise on priorities for Horizon2020 .
In work programmes 2014-2015, gender issues were explicitly mentioned in more than 100 topics, signalling to the potential applicants the importance of taking into account the possible gender dimension of their proposals. The work programmes 2016-2017 can be improved by identifying more gender-related issues in topics. It is also important to distinguish between the gender dimension in research content and gender balance in research teams are not the same. The gender dimension refers to the content of research, whereas gender balance in research teams is another Horizon 2020 objective. It refers to the composition of the personnel primarily responsible for carrying out the research and/or innovation activities. Applicants to Horizon 2020 are encouraged to promote equal opportunities in the implementation of their action and to ensure a balanced participation of women and men at all levels, in research and innovation teams and in management structures. Gender balance in research teams also comes into play as a ranking factor to prioritize proposals with the same scores.
It is even more important to realize that the gender dimension does not mean women issues! It relates to the cultural values and social roles that societies assign to women and men. They affect research as often the norms relate to men only, and a few times to women only, and male and female traditional roles are used without further investigation. The gender dimension is not a static concept but a dynamic one.
Including the gender dimension in WPs topics adds value to innovation, creativity, excellence and returns on investment. The programme should encourage the employment and development of women scientists where they are under-represented as it is in physics.
Prof. Ana Proykova, Future and Emerging Technology Advisory Group and Gender Advisory Group, Horizon2020