How do you understand “gender” in Biosciences research?
Our focus on gender is intersectional as it overlaps with other important roles women and men undertake:
The gender of the researcher: it is important to bear in mind the number of male and female staff at the Intercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology UG & MUG (IFB) and of different obstacles to their research careers that might result from gender stereotypes that influence the concepts of what men/women should and shouldn’t do.
The gender of the student: we are aware of IFB being a faculty with a majority of women, so we know it is good to design the teaching programmes in such a way as to attract also more male students and give equal chances for both genders.
The gender and the management level in institutions: it is necessary to highlight that gender stereotypes have a strong impact on leadership structure, so we understand the meaning of tailored training in leadership skills.
The gender and role-models: in our opinion well promoted roles models of both male and female scientists encourage researchers to take up new tasks and that work-life balance has a positive effect on facilitating gender equality in institutions.
What are the current standarts and actions to achieve better gender equality in Gdansk University and in Poland in general?
The University of Gdańsk has experience in introducing the standards of gender equality policy promoted by the EU. Researchers take part in projects financed by external funders which focus on implementing gender equality standards (e.g.: PAR Migration Navigator). In other research projects, also in biosciences, gender equality issues have also to be monitored and gender mainstreaming has been implemented, although the required level of insight and intervention requirements differs from funder to funder. Moreover, Gdańsk as the fourth city in Poland is to introduce the Equality Charter as a standard for citizen actions and city management, so the University of Gdańsk hopes for a large support to structural changes in this respect.
What are you aiming for with the implemention of the STARBIOS2 actions towards better gender equality for the Department of Biotechnology at the University of Gdansk?
STARBIOS2 actions are a strong and potentially influential attempt to facilitate a structural change and build an environment that will be known as an open place where diversity and equal chances for both women and men is an important value. Based on research results, we know that this will make a contribution to IFB’s success in innovative bioscience research and scientific international cooperation. Taking into account the „leaky pipeline” phenomenon that is also visible at IFB as there are a lot of women starting their scientific careers at the Faculty but less women than men in e.g. group leader positions, we aim at strengthening women’s career development in order to fully gain from the potential that can turn into excellent research results in biotechnology.
What kind of actions are you going to establish to fulfill your objectives?
We investigate the needs for support in career development, taking into account the gender perspective. Based on this we formulate recommendations, and plan to provide training and career development tools for both women and men. Moreover, we will support other initiatives that can support career development and work-life balance.We also want to “showcase” successful women researchers in bioscience and will do this through invited lectures and seminars.
Who is involved, from Gdansk university, in the Action Plan, in order to complete your final objective?
The STARBIOS2 Team at UG cooperates with numerous internal stakeholders, such as UG and IFB authorities, Technology Transfer Office, Science Office, IFB researchers, especially scientists passionate about activating career development. In the area of action within Gender equality we benefit from the experience of our colleagues from the Faculty of Social Sciences, who were integrated into our team.
Read our last Q&A with the University of Gdansk on Societal Engagement.