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About

Polish Science Contact Agency ‘PolSCA’ of the Polish Academy of Sciencesand Information Office of the Wielkopolska Region in Brussels are pleased to invite you for the event WiSER - Women in Science and European Research!

The keynote speech will be delivered by Mrs. Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education, Youth and Sport, followed by two panel discussions.

The main objective of the WiSER is to bring together decision makers, and practitioners representing universities, research institutes and various stakeholder organisations to discuss opportunities and challenges in implementing gender-balanced policy in academia and research culture. A particular attention will be paid to current policies and instruments, like recent developments relating to the ERA and the forthcoming Horizon Europe. Also, expect to see a glimpse into the best practices fostering an institutional change in terms of strengthening the gender equality in European science and research. 

We believe that the WiSER virtual event could serve as a viable contribution to the process of co- creation and co-ownership. Consequently, the event shall eventually lead to the physical workshop among stakeholders in 2021, where a mutual learning process could be continued. Polish Science Contact Agency PolSCA and Information Office of the Wielkopolska Region in Brussels are already looking forward to it!

Gender equality is a core principle of the European Union, but it is not yet a reality, also in the academia and research area. The ‘She Figures 2018’ report underlines that gender inequalities persist: women represent very slightly over one third (33,4%) of the total population of researchers and the proportion of women in higher education institutions in Europe is only 22%. The coronavirus pandemic reveals that women in academia are disadvantaged more strongly than men – the number of academic papers or grant applications submitted by women has significantly dropped because of the additional lockdown childcare or increase in domestic chores. On the other hand, a significant change has been observed in Poland regarding a number of women holding the position of a rector. In the previous two terms of office only 5 women served as Polish universities’ rectors, currently there are 14 (11 of them lead university for the first time).

Equality between women and men has been actively promoted by specific EU R&I policies. In Horizon 2020 (H2020), gender-equality is a cross-cutting issue, as the programme aims to support gender balance in research teams, decision-making bodies and advisory groups and to integrate the gender dimension in research and innovation content (sex - and gender-related studies). Many initiatives on gender equality were also funded under ‘Science with and for Society’ H2020 programme.

Despite these efforts to reduce gender inequalities, a common approach on more inclusive policy in research is still needed. On 5th March 2020, the European Commission announced ‘A Union of Equality: Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025’, which sets out policy objectives and actions to make concreate progress on gender equality in Europe. Horizon Europe (HE), the next EU framework programme for research and innovation, is explicitly addressed in this strategy by introducing new measures to strengthen gender equality. A requirement to submit a gender equality plan by public and private R&I organisations might be one of these measures. Funding for gender and intersectional research will also be available in Horizon Europe. According to the Communication on the new European Research Area, published on 30th September 2020, gender equality in research is one of the key priorities of a new ERA. The European Commission will strive to work closely with Member States and stakeholders to bring new solutions to promote gender equality in the field of R&D. The ERA intends to strongly support women participation in various fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and to promote female entrepreneurship.