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The role of funding policies and the use of quota

Webinar N°6 within an series of nine webinars on gender equality and diversity


16:00 - 17:00

The allocation of financial support for research by academic institutions or by funding agencies may have a major impact on gender equality in science and research. This webinar explores the potential and limitations of gender quota in the recruitment and financial support of women in academia.

male and female scientists on dark red background
Image: pixelfarm

Quotas to promote gender equality in research

Dr. Simona Isler, Gender equality officer, Swiss National Science Foundation, Switzerland

Inequality in science has an impact on society: the perspectives, needs and experiences of women are less likely to play a role in knowledge generation. Therefore the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) decided to introduce gender quotas in its evaluation bodies and the National Research Council. This measure should bring more visibility to women in science, give higher priority to concerns that are relevant to women and improve collaboration thanks to more diversity. In addition, the SNSF is hoping its quota will encourage partners in academia to follow in its footsteps. The talk will firstly elaborate on the reasons for the introduction of the quota and secondly give an insight into the reactions and discussions provoked by that decision.

Exploring quotas in academia

Dr. Gerlind Wallon, Deputy Director of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO), Heidelberg, Germany

The use of gender quotas in academic hiring and awards is one tool that could mitigate disparities in the number of women and men at the highest levels of academic research. The use of such quotas, however, is controversial. Especially in academia where merit is a very important but ill-defined concept, the use of quotas may be seen to be undermining a merit system. On the other hand, at least in some fields, the current merit system seems to have favored men, so using quotas might help improve the system. EMBO has carried out a study, which included a two day workshop with experts to explore the use of quota in academia and beyond.

The role of funding policies and the use of quota