Transnational gender equality work
As we endeavour to promote gender equality in nine European academic institutions, the SPEAR project partners must establish a firm foundation of mutual understanding. We accomplish this by developing clear lines of effective communication across institutional, cultural, and national boundaries, and among very different political and historical contexts. This collaboration entails more than merely transnational dynamics: within larger national cultures, multiple versions and subvarieties exist. Furthermore, we are all individuals with professional and personal identities and idiosyncrasies - we may be separate from certain aspects of our national mainstream cultures, and deeply entrenched in other parts of them. There are many aspects to consider in this organic process between peers, to ensure that we are in synch.
The critical friends approach
Critical friends often play important roles in our life by challenging and supporting us. The same can be said about their role in evaluations. In the SPEAR project, we made a deliberate decision for this special kind of evaluation approach in order to challenge, support and empower our partner organisations on their way of becoming more gender inclusive organisations. With this approach, we do not set the focus on judging and ranking the organisations depending on their progress, but on the identification of strengths and opportunities as well as highlighting room for improvement from an external perspective and providing assistance when needed.
Why are Communities Central to SPEAR?
Structured reflection together with peers facing the same issues offers one of the most efficient ways to build skills, expand practical, strategic and political capacity to empower actors within organizations to address complex and systems-wide problems without clear boundaries, definitions, actors or even clear objectives. In other words, joint, structured reflection – on what worked and what could be improved, how intentions are met, how to engage people who can make a positive impact – makes us better at adequately responding, maneuvering, and designing intelligent (re)solutions in countering complex issues. Collectively sharing our problem definitions as well as potential resolutions may become key to our change efforts.
Getting started with Communities of Learning and Communities of Practice at next SPEAR meeting in March
So let’s look further into what these two concepts mean for our project.
A journey to an academic institution where women and men are equal
Reflections on the Kick-off meeting of the SPEAR project. Part 3
As the kick-off was taking place in Odense, the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen, the organizers could not have passed the opportunity to present his legacy to the consortium in an engaging way – during the dinner the partners had to detect any gender/social bias indication hidden in one of writer’s stories.
Reflections on the Kick-off meeting of the SPEAR project. Part 2
The kick-off agenda also included an introductory presentation about the project and its structure given by Ms. Myers, followed by the presentations on H2020 regulations for project implementation as well as Policy Perspective on Gender Equality in EU R&I delivered by Ms. Simona Misiti, Project Advisor and Ms. Anne Pépin, Senior Policy Officer respectively. The participants learned about H2020’s approach to the Gender Equality and relevant supported activities aimed at facilitating institutional change through Gender Equality Plans.
Reflections on the Kick-off meeting of the SPEAR project. Part 1
On January 23-25, 2019, eleven partners from nine European countries gathered in the Danish city of Odense to kick-start the implementation of SPEAR – a four-year Horizon 2020 project supporting and implementing plans for gender equality (GEPs) in research and academia.
The coordinator, the University of Southern Denmark (SDU) chose an engaging and creative approach to the meeting structure – all three days were filled with brainstorming exercises, culture presentations, interactive discussions, personal interviews and sharing personal impressions on relevant issues.
Launch of SPEAR
SPEAR (Supporting and Implementing Plans for gender Equality in Academia and Research) is a Coordination and Support Action project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Science with and for Society (SwafS) programme. Despite numerous EU-wide projects aimed at improving gender equality (GE) in academia, challenges persist, and GE practitioners and change agents experience fatigue and lack of support structures. SPEAR will initiate institutional change in nine European research performing organizations (RPOs) by implementing gender equality plans.