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STAGES - Structural Transformation to Achieve Gender Equality in Science
The FP7 project implemented by the Centre for Social Management and Community Development
UAIC Project Coordinator
Doina Balahur
Prof. univ. dr. Doina BALAHUR
Professor, PhD, Department of Sociology and Social Work, CSMCD
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FP7European Commission, Directorate General for Research and Innovation, FP7-SCIENCE-IN-SOCIETY 2011-1, STAGES, Structural Transformation to Achieve Gender Equality in Science (SiS.2011.2.1.1.-1)

Project co-funded by the General Inspectorate for relations with the European Union of the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance (IGRUE).

Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance
UAIC Research Group on Gender Equality in Science

UAIC Research Group on Gender Equality in Science is a multidisciplinary research team set up within the frame of the STAGES project in order to conduct scientific studies and evaluations on Gender Equal Opportunities in Romanian educational and research institutions, particularly at the UAIC (see the main objectives, research group members, research and publications).

Young Women Researchers -
Career Development

Steps towards excellence in science (see the profiles)

Young Women Researchers
Site visitors:
"Alexandru Ioan Cuza" University of Iasi

Centre for Social Management and Community Development
"Gender Equality in Science" -
a theme for PhD studies

Cover women technological Since 2013, "Gender Equality in Science" is a theme for PhD studies at the UAIC. Prof. dr. Doina Balahur, scientific coordinator for PhD in Sociology, announced the topics and the bibliography for 2014 candidates competition. As for 2013, the research will be carried out in cooperation with the FP7 European project STAGES at the UAIC. (more info here).

UAIC Network of Women in Academics and Research

On UAIC Network as a reflective practice

What are the role and the objectives of Women's Network in Academia and Research?

Prof. dr. Doina Balahur, coordinator UAIC STAGES project (WP 4), answers the questions asked by Elena del Giorgio in order to prepare a synthesis to be presented at the mutual learning session and IBSA meeting (in Rome, on the 28-29 October 2013)

E.d.G. - If I got it right, the Network was an action included since from the STAGES beginning in the Action Plan. Is that correct?

D.B.- The setting up of the UAIC Network of Women in Academia and Research was foreseen in our self-tailored Action Plan from the beginning as just the first action (4.1.1). We have prepared its creation during more than 4 months and, after several informal meetings, on the 5 July 2012, there were held the first formal Network's activities: the inaugural meeting and the Annual Workshop 2012 (see the website). Within the STAGES project Consortium, the UAIC Network was already presented - twice times - at our mutual learning sessions (in the spring meeting 2013 at Rome and then on the online session, 2 or 3 weeks later). At that time the UAIC Network was, so as you remember, the only one really working and therefore it served as a base of discussions for inspiring the other Project partners to overcome the difficulties with their own emergent networks.

E.d.G.- Where the aims already listed in the Action Plan? Did you add further aims considering participants' needs and suggestions? Were some initially planned aims left out for the same reason?

D.B.- The Objectives of the Network are, indeed, extensively listed on the web as the following ones:

  • Evaluating gender equal opportunities in academic, research activity and managerial positions at the UAIC.
  • Promoting active transfer of knowledge and exchanges with other networks, universities, national, European and international research bodies recognized for their outcomes in the field of gender equality in academics and science.
  • Negotiating strategies for improving gender equal opportunities at the UAIC.
  • Negotiating and improving work-life balance schemes for young researchers.
  • Increasing the visibility and recognition of women in academics and research from the UAIC.
  • Implementing training modules aiming at raising awareness on the benefits of gender equality at the UAIC.
  • Developing local, national and international media partnership in order to support the implementation of the Network's objectives.
I think that most of these aims were foreseen from the start, but surely some of them were also added after the consultations with the Network's members. Recently we have created a new organizational structure, the UAIC Centre for Gender Equality in Science, and some of these objectives will be gradually transferred to this specialized unit: for example, gender analysis and research reporting, gender equality plans drafting and their implementation monitoring, gender institutional evaluation and other tasks which suppose special competences to be acquired by training the staff. But we know that the staff specialization process takes longer time and, especially, need supplementary resources. Therefore I think that for the next period both structures have to jointly operate in the same direction, sharing common or complementary objectives within the framework of the UAIC-STAGES project that made possible their creation and functionality.

E.d.G.- How did you proceed to create the Network? (contacts with university offices for getting e-mails, formal agreement with university bodies, informal contacts...to what extent was it a bottom up process and to what extent a top down process?)

D.B.- I have directly contacted the most representative professors and researchers from the Faculties involved in the project because I know very well my University and almost every staff, and they also know me, after about 20 years since I am a professor and a researcher in the UAIC. But I have also sent emails about STAGES project to the whole academic community and I have informed all the colleagues about our intentions and plans. So, properly speaking there was neither "bottom up", nor "top down" process but rather free association based on the occasion to participate to an - I think - ambitious and relevant project (so as I always try to present it).

E.d.G.- I read that membership to the Network is open to women and men....is it open for people along the entire career range from PhDs to Full Professors? Or just to young researchers? Are fellows and post-doc with no stable contract included?

D.B.- It is open to ALL the academic and research staff of the UAIC from PhD students to Full Professors (and senior managers, vice-rectors inclusively). Among the over 40 current members, I think that about 30% are Full Professors, 40% are associate professors and senior researchers and 30% are PhD students. But the exact proportions are variable as some PhD students have already defended their thesis and now are looking for post-doc positions or have got other jobs outside the University. The new PhD students (with doctorate contract for the next 3 years) will take their place etc., so that there is some obvious variation in numbers and proportions.

E.d.G.- Does your Network have an ad hoc budget? How much? Is the budget entirely covered by STAGES or do you get extrafunding?

D.B.- Our Network has not an ad hoc budget. All its activities are entirely covered by the project, according to the financial plan. But the costs are not so great, because for many activities we receive for free some administrative and technical support from our University.

E.d.G.- Does your Network have a chair/President/Coordinator? Are there other formal roles (Secretary, etc.?) How are decisions in the Network made (who plans activities, organises things)?

D.B.- No, we avoid to design an organigramme, to elect or to appoint a president or other similar formal positions in order to keep a collegial and democratic atmosphere. The decisions are taken by consensus, after discussions on proposals advanced by the colleagues. We also have a good collaboration with other staff from the faculties and departments (especially Human Resources department) as well as from the UAIC Doctoral Schools and are open to their suggestions (for example to invite more guest speakers with expertise in gender equality in science from the best European universities). In some administrative tasks (i.e. technical organization of different events) we are usually helped by PhD students or other dedicated young researchers who consider their voluntary involvement in this project both interesting and useful for their career development.

E.d.G.- There is a list of members in the website. Are they all active or is there a core group being more active? If yes, how many?

D.B.- The list of active members on the website have to be completed with 10-12 new members who were participating since some time at the Network's activities (but they are not yet on the first published list). We want to make a new presentation format with a personal photo and short data presentation for each active member. Of course there is a core group who is more involved in the planning and the implementation of the activities, but as a rule all the members are invited and, usually, they take part at the more important events (of course if she/he is available at that time). In the core group of the Network there are 10-12 women full professors and 12-15 young people (whom you can see more frequently in the photos on the website).

E.d.G.- Are there Departments/Faculties more represented than others? If yes which one?

D.B. - I didn't remark a competition in this respect. Probably the Natural sciences have the best representation (as they are the main target of the project at the UAIC). But the door is open for all and there are members from social sciences and humanities as well.

E.d.G. - How many people attended the initiatives which already took place?

D.B.- If you look on the website, you could see that all the Network's activities are presented in a page entitled "Activities and events". There are about 20 actions directly organized by the Network that are presented in words and in images (more than 50 photos). Other around 15 UAIC-STAGES project's actions are presented in different other sections (with other about 100 photos). I think that almost 1000 people have attended these actions organized by UAIC STAGES project until now. At the same time more than 1100 visitors have read our website.

E.d.G.- Are you planning further initiatives? If, yes, what initiatives?

D.B.- Of course we are planning new initiatives. We have realized over 35 actions until now and we are only at almost midterm of the STAGES project. In the meantime, 6 new actions have been introduced over the 29 initially planned. For the next 2 years, I think we will have to count other 30-35 actions. Some of them are foreseen in the initial self-tailored Action Plan or were advanced this second year and will be continued, the other ones will be added as new/supplementary initiatives. What new initiatives will be introduced will depend on the available resources (both human and financial ones) as well as on the opportunities which will be evaluated during the progress of the project.

E.d.G.- How is the Network perceived? Did you have negotiation issues with other women/with the top management of the university/with men/other?

D.B.- I know that our Network is well perceived both by the beneficiaries (its members but also the academic community at large) as well as by the top management of our University that from the beginning has sustained the Network's activities. In June 2013, after a year since the setting up of the Network, the Boards of Rectors (Top executive management) has approved its institutionalization, as an association of women academics and researchers of the UAIC (together with the creation of the new organizational structure - the UAIC Centre for Gender Equality in Science - that just these days is officially inaugurated). We hope that the echoes of our successful activities will determine other new members to join us, but as a principle, the participation is completely free and personal values option-based, so that here, I think, there is not the case of any "negotiation", neither in the proper sense of this term, that is a "give-and-take" relation, nor in the sense of the sociological theories of symbolic interactionalism (which extended this sense to the all social relations about 30 years ago).(21.10.2013).

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