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How Horizon 2020 is tackling Gender inequality

In Horizon 2020 Gender is a cross-cutting issue and is mainstreamed in each of the different parts of the Work Programme, ensuring a more integrated approach to research and innovation.

Three objectives underpin the strategy on gender equality in Horizon 2020:

  • Fostering gender balance in research teams, in order to close the gaps in the participation of women.
  • Ensuring gender balance in decision-making, in order to reach the target of 40% of the under-represented sex in panels and groups and of 50% in advisory groups.
  • Integrating the gender dimension in research and innovation (R&I) content, helps improve the scientific quality and societal relevance of the produced knowledge, technology and/or innovation.

In many topics across the work programme, it is explicitly requested that applicants take into account women as well as men’s needs and behaviours. In addition grant beneficiaries commit to promoting equal opportunities and a balanced participation of women and men at all levels in research and innovation teams and in management structures.

The ‘Science with and for Society’ Work Programme funds specific initiatives in support of the gender equality strategy. Support is given to Research Performing Organisations (RPO) and Research Funding Organisations (RFO) in order to:

  • remove barriers that generate discrimination against women in scientific careers and decision-making (supporting research organisations to implement gender equality plans), and
  • integrate a gender dimension in research content.

Funding is also provided to the development of a common framework to evaluate national initiatives promoting gender equality in research policy. A dedicated campaign aims at encouraging girls to study science and female students to further embrace a career in research. Research will be funded to analyse the impact of gender diversity in research teams on research and innovation performance.

These activities are targeted to researchers and innovators, research organisations, primary, secondary and higher education establishments, science museums, citizens and their associations or groupings, media, policy makers at national, regional and local levels, etc.

Expected impact

  • Reach a critical mass of universities and research institutions in Europe which implement long-term institutional change through gender equality plans,
  • Increase the participation of women in research, improve their careers and achieve gender balance in decision making,
  • Increase the scientific quality and societal relevance of produced knowledge, technologies and innovations by integrating an in-depth understanding of both genders’ needs, behaviours and attitudes. It also contributes to the production of goods and services better suited to potential markets.
09 Jun 2017