SPEAR’s Cycle of Policy Reflections

SPEAR’s Cycle of Policy Reflections

We are very proud to launch SPEAR's cycle of policy reflections for EU-level policymakers and university alliances and networks.

Based on the important discussions at SPEAR’s final conference on the link between inclusive gender equality and a wider democratic agenda, we put these reflections forward well aware of an urgent need for strong and resilient advocacy and a concerted capacity to foster and provide research-based
knowledge and qualified input to the political debate.

From the perspective of our research-based practice, we bear witness to the necessity of holistic and sustained approaches, policies and frameworks for bringing about required structural change. This involves concerted, explicit and coordinated efforts to counter anti-gender tendencies with open eyes and responsible action.

SPEAR’s Cycle of Policy Reflections is our contribution to important developments on the policy level in the EU within four areas:

  1. Careers in Academia: Recruitment, promotion, career development. Given the persistent gender inequality and loss of talent in Academia, a revision of the concept of academic excellence to align with gender equality and inclusiveness is required. This in turn calls for clear criteria for assessment of research applied in selection processes in Academia; fair, systematic and transparent decision-making processes; explicit ways to sponsor and ensure access to and equality in career-enhancing activities; conducive employment conditions and gender-equal salary at all career levels; and an academic culture which explicitly values inclusion and equality, as well as reflection, diverse contributions, collaboration and creativity.
  2. Work- and study environment and sexism in Academia. A growing body of evidence shows a correlation between poor work and study environments in Academia and threats to creative output of high quality on the one hand, and the prevalence of sexist, even misogynistic, behaviour and harassment on the other. Countering sexism is increasingly seen as a key to mitigating brain drain,
    exclusion and inequalities. SPEAR calls for countering sexism in recognition of the connections between quality, innovative environments and inclusive equality, and therefore SPEAR advocates for legislation, policies and resources that strive for a safe, respectful, inclusive and creative Academia.
  3. Gender mainstreaming and Gender Equality Plans. Inclusive gender equality (GE+) is vital for higher education and other research organisations if we are to meet current and future challenges in comprehensive, competitive, fair, responsible and ethical ways. But GE+ does not happen without clear and operable requirements and objectives.
  4. Integration of the Gender+ Dimension in Research, Innovation and Teaching. Making gender and sex analysis integral to research, innovation and teaching content is a powerful way to include a broad range of perspectives and to strive for innovative results of high quality, as well as sound, safe and relevant outcomes and impact. For teaching, the integration of the gender+ dimension applies to designing teaching content – topics, examples, materials, methods – and carrying out bias-aware practices in interactions, assignments and assessments.

Gender equality work in Academia is multifaceted and complex and requires a holistic approach and a honed reflective capacity. Our intention is to strengthen and lend our support to already ongoing and important developments in the political arena in the EU concerning inclusive gender equality.

Download the four documents here.