Since the average wage gap between women and men in science and research is still 17%, the European Commission (EC) is funding the RESET project – Joint redesign of equality and scientific excellence. One of the motives of the initiative is gender equality in science. The University of Porto is one of the seven European institutions that it integrates.
The goal is simple: to identify and remove systemic and cultural barriers to the full participation of women in science and research. Although significant advances in gender equality have been made in the past few decades, “worrying” inequalities persist, says European Commission representative in Portugal Sofia Colares Alves. “For example, women are still much more represented in the labor market in lower-wage sectors and under-represented in leadership positions,” adds the same source.
According to the European Commission, in addition to the still visible average wage gap, only 24% of women hold top academic positions. In addition, of the total number of entrepreneurs in the European Union (EU), only about a third are women, with women making up less than 10% of patent holders.
The potential of women is “extremely” not fully exploited
The same records also show that while there are more women than men in Europe, only 16% of European start-ups are funded by women. “As a result, the creativity and entrepreneurial potential of women are extremely underutilized,” emphasized the representative of the European Commission in Portugal.
With this in mind, RESET intends to use the building of a community “in which men and women, boys and girls in all their diversity are free to go the path they choose in life, have the same opportunities for personal fulfillment and participate can lead in European society on an equal footing ”, describes Sofia Colares Alves.
With the participation of seven European universities, the initiative will transform partner institutions into living laboratories for the implementation of gender equality plans designed by all stakeholders in local and national ecosystems. Therefore, research organizations, higher education institutions, municipalities, industry, non-governmental organizations and citizens’ groups can participate.
In addition to the University of Porto, the universities in Bordeaux (France), Łódź (Poland), Oulu (Finland), the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece), the Ruhr University Bochum (Germany) and Sciences Po Paris ( France). The project, which started at the beginning of this year, is financed by the EC “Horizon 2020” program with a total budget of three million euros and is included in the European Union’s strategy for gender equality 2020-2025.