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GENDER EQUALITY: AN ANSWER TO CRISIS? Claudia Padovani Lorenza Perini SPGI, University of Padova.

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Presentation on theme: "GENDER EQUALITY: AN ANSWER TO CRISIS? Claudia Padovani Lorenza Perini SPGI, University of Padova."— Presentation transcript:

1 GENDER EQUALITY: AN ANSWER TO CRISIS? Claudia Padovani Lorenza Perini SPGI, University of Padova

2 TABLE OF CONTENT o Gender equality : concept construction o Gender and crisis: challenges or opportunities? o Case study 1: Gender and science o Case study 2: Gender and media o Concluding remarks o Glossary o Further resources o Contacts


4 Gender equality is the measurable equal representation of women and men. Gender equality does not imply that women and men are the same, but that they have equal value and should be accorded equal treatment. The United Nations regards gender equality as a human right. It points out that empowering women is also an indispensable tool for advancing development and reducing poverty. The importance of gender equality is highlighted by its inclusion as one of the 8 Millennium Development Goals that serve as a framework for halving poverty and improving lives as agreed upon by the international community.Millennium Development Goals

5 PERSISTING CULTURAL AND SOCIAL BARRIERS? Diversity in practice (with a smile...)

6 GENDER AND THE CRISIS: CHALLENGES OR OPPORTUNITIES? ‘Despite the growing debate over the causes of the crisis, less attention is paid to its material impacts, and very little to gender considerations’ (Vertova 2012: 123)


8 Since 2008 the European industrial output has diminished of 10.8%, the construction sector has shrank of 20%, private investments have gone down of 14.5% between 2007 ad 2011 Impact on the labour market: unemployment rate of 12.2% (ranging from 4.3% in Austria to 26.1% in Spain) The efforts made by MS to restore public finance have led to austerity measures and cuts in crucial sectors like health, care and welfare

9 IMPACT ON WOMEN AND MEN there has been a levelling down of gender gaps in employment, unemployment, wages and poverty over the crisis; but… the labour market behaviour of women over the crisis has been similar to that of men; buffer are now young people threat that fiscal consolidation may ultimately reduce welfare provisions and related employment with associated gender equality impacts The European Economic Recovery Plan made no mention of ‘gender’, ‘women’ or ‘equality’ …

10 RECOMMENDATIONS #1 Gender mainstreaming and reconsidering the formulation of gender equality indicators Integrating gender mainstreaming in anti-crisis packages Monitor the risk that fiscal consolidation may significantly erode welfare provisions Boosting female entrepreneurship Increase surveillance and heighten public awareness of cases of violations of maternity and women’s rights.

11 Addressing sectorial segregation and stimulate women’s vocation in sectors like ICTs, transportation, science > case study 1 Enhancing women’s participation in decision making in policy design of anti-crisis measures AND on company boards > case study 2 RECOMMENDATIONS #2


13 CASE STUDY: GENDER AND SCIENCE The underrepresentation of women in science and technology Under 30% of the physcists, engineers and computer scientists in the world's knowledge based economies are women. Only about 12% of science-decision-making positions in universities and the private sector in the world's knowledge-based economies are held by women Why Europe needs more women in Science and Technology? Women remain a minority in scientific research, accounting for 33% of researchers in the EU in 2009 (2006: 30%). Although the proportion of female researchers varies considerably between countries, there is a clear pattern of female under- representation everywhere.

14 CASE STUDY: GENDER AND SCIENCE Legislation and documents From the treaty of Rome to the EU strategy a lot of projects and researches have been made in order to highlight the underrepresentation of women in almost every field of science and technology… Numbers …Now we know a lot of things on this issue and most of all we have numbers, we have data and we can compare situations, countries and almost everything….

15 CASE STUDY: GENDER AND SCIENCE The importance of statistics and numbers With statistics disaggregated by gender we can build indicators and indexes, i.e. instrument of knowledge. Thanks to numbers we have discovered gender pay gap, a lot of gender discrimination in labor market, the phenomenon of gender violence, especially domestic violence. So numbers count! But… problems still persist!

16 CASE STUDY: GENDER AND SCIENCE Despite growing recognition, problems still persist, discrimination and underrepresentation of women in science and research is a salient problem, not only in EU but all over the world.

17 CASE STUDY: GENDER AND SCIENCE There is a general problem of wasting talent in global recession: Europe cannot afford this anymore. Europe in crisis needs to get the best out of its research and innovation system Promoting gender equality in research increases the international competitiveness and the research workforce in general.

18 CASE STUDY: GENDER AND SCIENCE Three steps of the European Union strategy  Fixing the women: strategies to increase the number of women choosing science as a field of study and in decision making. Stressing on non neutrality of science can play a big role in finding new strategies, new ideas, new interesting solutions.  Fixing the institutions: make institutions aware of the importance of considering gender a resource. Changing the structure of the institutions in order to become women’s friendly (best practices)  Fixing the knowledge: making people aware that gender is a positive and useful social construction and doesn’t mean “for women” but is “for all” because it enables every body to see things differently, from another point of view.

19 CASE STUDY: GENDER AND SCIENCE But knowing things is not enough! Is just 50% of the piece, the rest is communicating what you have known! Even when YOU KNOW, communicate can be the hardest part of the work And even the EU sometimes fails in indicating a clear strategy….

20 CASE STUDY: GENDER AND SCIENCE A wrong way of saying things: lets watch this EU video promoting women in science: The European Commission's video Science It's a Girl Thing! was an unfortunate, although well meaning, marketing blunder which takes away from the commission's excellent website to attract women to science.Science It's a Girl Thing! Taken down almost as soon as it was put up, the response to this video shows that topic of women in science is still attracting a high level of interest (good) although in this case for all the wrong reasons. Selling science with sex only feeds into the continuing media focused hyper- sexualization of our society - and especially of our young women - something we really don't need any more.

21 CASE STUDY: GENDER AND SCIENCE A good way of conveying the message: L’Oreal in collaboration with Unesco: video promoting women’s careers in ScienceUnesco: video promoting women’s careers in Science

22 CASE STUDY: GENDER AND SCIENCE The Grand Challenges of the EU 2020 Strategy (i.e. energy, climate change, aging, health) have a strong gender dimension, which, if ignored, can result in missed opportunities for innovation in research and in development of markets. Not including gender perspectives in addressing the core EU2020 themes means that chances for increasing the broad acceptance of new technologies within Europe will be lost. Without strengthening the inclusion of women and integrating the gender dimension within the Innovation Union, its aims to deliver higher levels of employment, productivity and social cohesion, and to strengthen Europe’s knowledge base, are simply not achievable.

23 CASE STUDY: GENDER AND SCIENCE There is a strong research evidence that shows how the integration of gender analysis in research processes can lead to Innovation. Ignoring how sex and gender bias limit creativity and diminish excellence in research will create barriers to the full realization of the benefits that society expects from its investment in science and engineering. Thirty years of research have revealed that sex and gender bias can be socially harmful and expensive …

24 CASE STUDY: GENDER AND SCIENCE Crisis as an opportunity: The example of Gendered Innovation ProjectGendered Innovation Project Innovation, education and research are key components of the Europe 2020 strategy which aims to boost the EU economy over the next decade. In a changing world, the EU aims to become a smart, sustainable and inclusive. Among the milestones set out in the meta European Research Area ERA, shows the following: “We Will Know That ERA is a shared responsibility [between science, policy and society] When We see in 2030 [...] half of all scientists and research policy makers, across all Disciplines and Science at all levels of the system, are women (Preparing Europe for a new Renaissance” [ERAB 2009], pg.18).

25 CASE STUDY: GENDER AND SCIENCE Among the innovations in the field of gender, the project mention for example the case of the pregnant mannequin, computer-simulated for testing of motor vehicle accidents, which provides the information needed to create a model for the effects of impact at high speed on the fetus and design adequate safety belts. An example of application of a technology that introduces the gender dimension in a scientific prototype.gender dimension in a scientific prototype


27 CASE STUDY: GENDER AND MEDIA In relation to all forms of inequality and sex-based discrimination in employment in the media sector, media enterprises should, as any other employer, participate actively in positive action programs on gender equality at work as well as adopt various strategies and implement best practice…within the scope of such a positive action plan, women should be actively promoted into senior positions in media companies…. European Commission Advisory Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men (2010), Opinion on “Breaking gender stereotypes in the media”, Brussels.

28 GENDER AND MEDIA IN EUROPE EIGE (EIGE/2012/OPER/07) Study on Area J of the Beijing Platform for Action: Women and the Media in European Union and Final Report: Advancing gender equality in decision-making in media organizationsStudy on Area J of the Beijing Platform for Action: Women and the Media in European UnionAdvancing gender equality in decision-making in media organizations 28 countries, 99 media organizations, focus on: o women in leadership positions o mediapolicies and mechanisms in place at national level o examples of good practices


30 GENDER EQUALITY POLICIES (99 media organizations in 28 European countries) Policy/ProvisionPublic/MixedPrivateTotal Equality opportunities/diversity policy91019 Gender Equality policy/code of conduct10414 Code Of conduct (mentions gender)6511 External code of conduct (general)325 Implementation and monitoring mechanisms Committee responsible for (monitoring) equality policy9615 Equality/Diversity Officer9413 Equality/Diversity Department639

31 GENDER EQUALITY MEASURES (99 media organizations in 28 European countries) Practical measuresPublic/MixedPrivateTotal Policy on sexual harassment Dignity at work policy10919 Policy on maternity leave10717 Policy on paternity leave9615 Harassment Advisors325 Policy on parental leave101 Equality awareness training for staff639 Leadership/management training for women426 Trainee positions for women303

32 TO SUM UP  horizontal and vertical segregation, glass ceiling effects, constrains to carrier improvement  male culture and domination and lack of family friendly environment  structural inequalities still persist and cultural norms continue to exert considerable influence on recruitment and promotion practices  rarely the normative standards formalized by the international community and the EU are translated into national and organizational provisions  there are variations within the region, so that the situation for some women in some countries is more positive (Eastern European and Nordic countries) and still problematic in other countries (Malta, Italy, Ireland)  the use of different languages remains a problem, particularly to networking and sharing of good practices  in spite of existing connections, there is still not enough dialogue amongst the different stakeholders: media professional organizations, media outlets and federations, academics and institutions


34  Danger of flawed research or diminished relevance of results as well as less diversity in media and communication  Missing innovation and market opportunities  Unfulfilled use of human capital (women scientists and women communicators) in a competitive global R&I economy  Increased societal distrust of, and reduced support for, science and its institutions as well as media systems

35 The crisis may well be an opportunity but clear gendered visions must emerge and policies and programmes must be designed and implemented based on existing evidence and informed by the voices and perspectives of the many stakeholders involved in gender-aware social transformations

36 GLOSSARY Gender : Gender refers to the social construction of women and men, of femininity and masculinity, which varies in time and place, and between cultures. The notion of gender appeared in the seventies and was put forward by feminist theorists who challenged the secondary position of women in society. It departs from the notion of sex to signal that biology or anatomy is not a destiny. It is important to distinguish clearly between gender and sex. These terms are often used interchangeably while they are conceptually distinctive.

37 GLOSSARY Equal opportunity indicates the absence of barriers to economic, political and social participation on the grounds of sex. Such barriers are often indirect, difficult to discern and caused by structural phenomena and social representations that have proved particularly resistant to change. Gender mainstreaming is the systematic integration of the respective situations, priorities and needs of women and men in all mainstream policies with a view to promoting equality between women and men.

38 FURTHER RESOURCES o Gender and the economic crisis: challenges or opportunities? o European Parliament Library briefing Feb 2013 European Parliament Library briefing Feb 2013 o European Commission Synthesis Report Dec 2012 European Commission Synthesis Report Dec 2012 o EWL and Oxfam An Invisible Crisis? March 2010 EWL and Oxfam An Invisible Crisis? March 2010 o Case study: Gender and Science [Erab 2009] Preparing europe for a new renaissance. A Strategic View of the European Research Area. First Report of the European Research Area Board – [Fox Keller, 1985] E. Fox Keller. Reflections on gender and science. Yale University Press, New Haven and London, [She Figures 2012] She Figures.Statistics and indicators on Gender Equality in Science, EU2012. [Schiebinger, 1999] L.Scienbinger Has feminism changed science? Harvard University Press. Cambridge, [Schiebinger, 2008] Londa Schiebinger (Ed). Gendered Innovations in Science and Engineering. Stanford University Press, society/document_library/pdf_06/ _Gendered%20Innovations_web2.pdf society/document_library/pdf_06/ _Gendered%20Innovations_web2.pdf o Case study Gender and media o Final EIGE Report on Advancing gender equality in the media Final EIGE Report on Advancing gender equality in the media o European Council Council conclusions - "Advancing Women’s Roles as Decision-makers in the Media” European Council Council conclusions - "Advancing Women’s Roles as Decision-makers in the Media” o EIGE summary fact sheet and indicators EIGE summary fact sheet and indicators

39 Claudia Padovani – Lorenza Perini – CIRSG Women and Media in Europe Next Generation Global Studies Department of Law, Politics and International Studies University of Padova

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