"If we want to achieve gender equality within a reasonable period of time, targeted initiatives should be introduced to increase the number of women in top research leadership positions," says NordForsk’s Director Arne Flåøyen.
According to a report by the Nordic Council of Ministers, there is a loss of women across the academic career pipeline, and all the Nordic countries have a relative underrepresentation of women among professors and in top research leadership positions.
In the Nordic countries, women are well represented at the PhD and postdoctoral levels but still disproportionally underrepresented at the professor level. Despite attempts to recruit and retain more women in academic positions, a strong gender disparity persists.
"As a platform for Nordic collaboration, the majority of our committee members are appointed by the national research councils in the Nordic countries. It goes without saying that this is difficult to control. However, we believe that by raising the awareness around gender equality we will impact the national research councils but also the Nordic research and innovation area as a whole," says Flåøyen.
NordForsk’s Gender Policy
NordForsk adopted a Gender Policy in 2013 with the aim to make visible how gender awareness improves the quality of Nordic research and research collaboration. Both gender balance among researchers and gender perspectives on research topics increase the quality of research and of policy decisions with implications for society.
"Our Gender Policy assures thatall committees, groups or panels appointed by NordForsk should include at least 40% of each gender. They should also include gender expertise on the research topic, concludes Flåøyen."
NordForsk strive to organize actions, mandates and processes so that all activities and all decisions regarding the governance of NordForsk’s funds at all levels consider how they affect gender equality.
"This is not easy, and we are collaborating with many different stakeholders on a national, regional and international level to reach our goals."
Proposals for Promoting Gender Equality in Academia
By issuing a joint statement with proposals for promoting gender equality in academia, the Nordic and Baltic Young Academies aim is to engage the new generation of researchers. The statement presents a number of prioritized proposals for all areas of academia: recruitment, promotion, research funding, work environment, mobility, scientific meetings and the peer-review process.
The statement is signed by The Young Academies of Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Lithuania and Estonia, as a result of the first joint meeting of these academies held in Stockholm 19–20 March 2019 with support from NordForsk and The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies (Östersjöstiftelsen). The collaboration creates a unique platform that opens up for interactions across borders, identifying common interests and strengthening our role in the wider European and global context.
"We look forward to continuing our collaboration with the Young Academies to develop our actions to increase gender equality in academia," concludes Flåøyen.