Blog

Gender equality benefits for the University
Gender equality benefits for the University
Vilius Alesius, Internal Communications Manager at Vilnius University

I work as Internal Communications Manager at Vilnius University in Lithuania, and I am proud to be a part of the SPEAR team since I am certain this will help our community to become more tolerant, diverse and of course aware of gender issues at all levels. Hardly anyone could possibly argue that unevenly divided societies are less sustainable. They are usually distinguished by higher rates of anti-social behaviour and violence. Countries and organisations that maintain greater gender equality are more solid and their people, i.e. citizens or employees, are healthier and enjoy better well-being. Therefore, I hope to contribute to this project as a communicator and I am looking forward to persuading more men to become proactive contributors to gender equality.

Transnational gender equality work
Transnational gender equality work
Peter Bjelskou, University of Southern Denmark

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
The critical friends approach
Sarah Beranek and Florian Holzinger, Joanneum Research

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?
Why are Communities Central to SPEAR?
Eva Sophia Myers, University of Southern Denmark

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.