The Nordic region - a step closer to gender balance in research?

Joint Nordic strategies and measures to promote gender balance among researchers in academia

image of The Nordic region - a step closer to gender balance in research?

Nearly 80 per cent of all professors in the Nordic region are men. Gender balance in academia is therefore an important research policy issue. Hitherto it has been scarcely debated on a joint Nordic level. This report shows the status and the development in the field. The report gives examples of successful practices and highlights research policy challenges that are important to analyse in a gender and equality perspective. Given the lack of comparative investigations and research on the gender balance in academia in the Nordic region, there is a need to develop Nordic cooperation in this field. The report concludes with a number of recommendations in order to consolidate the issue of gender balance in academia as a joint policy- and research field in the Nordic region.

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Nordic research policy challenges in a gender equality perspective

Today the research and university policy landscape is under significant pressure to change. Among the new challenges are the trend towards autonomy in academia, the excellence in research initiatives, innovation policy and internationalisation. As a result of these new research policy focus areas, the gender equality efforts in academia have become more diverse and complex in recent years. Although gender equality is a stated objective in academia in the Nordic countries, there are very few comprehensive studies of university and research policy in a gender equality perspective. The intention exists, however. For instance, the Finnish government’s gender equality programme for 2012–2015 states that the overall objective is to include the issues that concern women’s research careers and gender equality in all science and university policy. A common challenge is to incorporate a gender equality perspective in new areas and instruments that are introduced to strengthen research, whether these comprise excellence in research initiatives, innovation or internationalisation.

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