Accepted Paper:

The Challenging Measurement of Gender Equality in the Academia  


Anne-Sophie Godfroy (Université Paris Sorbonne )

Paper short abstract:

Based on the experience of the GenderTime EU-funded project, the paper will reflect on the multiple tools tested to monitor and measure gender equality. It will question their relevance and the paradoxical outcome they produce: being at the same time drawn in data and lost in terra incognita.

Paper long abstract:

From the experience gained in the GenderTime project (EU FP7 2013-2016), the paper will present the methodologies tested to monitor, to measure and to assess the outcomes of several gender equality plans (GEPs) developed in several European research institutions.

After an overview of the different strategies experienced, inspired from various fields from quality assurance to statistics and to sociological qualitative research, challenges raised by the implementation of GEP's tools will be discussed, with a focus on data and on relevance for the implementing institutions. Despite lots of positive and self-satisfying assessments, blind and good-willing implementation is not enough.

Regarding the data, we are at the same time drawn in data and lost in terra incognita. If there are lots of available reliable data regarding human ressource management, data on research activity itself is either poor, or not available, or time consuming to analyse due to the lack of common classifications and databases. Surprisingly, connections between gender equality and scientometrics are almost inexistant.

In terms of relevance, the GEPs have been implemented with a focus on STEM, because of the underrepresentation of women in those fields. The issues of equality in other disciplines are neglected or unexplored. Moreover, GEPs suppose institutions and researchers are highly motivated by ranking and competition. But this model does not correspond to most institutions and individuals.

As a conclusion, we propose some perspectives for better and more relevant data and alternative models of excellence, leading to alternative measurement of gender equality.

Panel T045
New Collective Practices of Measurement, Monitoring and Evidence