Book launching: Gender Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Academia: A Conceptual Framework for Sustainable Transformation
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Prestige is both a research and an intervention project financed by the BALANSE Program, Research Council of Norway, and UiT The Arctic University of Norway. The project has a twofold goal: (1) advance knowledge on gendered quality assessments and implicit biases by uncovering how they impact career opportunities and the distribution of power and resources in research; (2) promote research-based organizational changes at the UiT by creating mechanisms for fostering gender balance in top positions.
UiT The Arctic University of Norway has the highest share of women in academic top positions among the comprehensive universities in the country. After decades of research and systematic measures for improving gender balance in the organisation, UiT has increased the share of women in professor positions from 9% in 2000 to over 40% in 2023. As of June 2020, women lead 43% of the research groups at UiT (85/196).
A closer look into the data, however, still reveals great numerical disparities within and across the different fields of knowledge, disciplines, and research traditions. Within the STEM-fields, for example, men hold 82% of the professorship positions and account for 80% of the research group leaders (Faculty of Science and Technology and Faculty of Engineering Science and Technology combined).
There is therefore a current need at UiT for creating monitoring mechanisms that are able to capture these internal disparities and their variations. This will enable UiT to improve gender-aware management in the organisation and to move forward with the implementation of more specific and effective measures for gender balance.
Prestige Project collaborates with the UiT’s administration for developing such mechanisms by uncovering how gendered quality assessments and implicit biases affect career opportunities and the distribution of power and resources for men and women at UiT. For accomplishing this goal, Prestige Project advances in four research fronts: Conceptual Analyses, Quantitative Research, Qualitative Research, and Normative Analyses.
Our hypothesis is that the gender gaps can be explained by a gap of “prestige”. “Prestige” is understood as an impression of respect and admiration based on a reputation for high quality, competence, success, and social influence. So understood, it seems that “prestige” has been more strongly associated with men and that biases have hindered women’s opportunities even in an institution with a strong tradition of promoting gender balance such as the UiT.
With this in mind, Prestige Project aims at mapping and deconstructing the gendered impressions of "prestige" within and across the institution’s structures and further provide research-based normative guidance for UiT on how to achieve a more gender equal organization beyond numerical parity.
Prestige Project is hosted at the Centre for Women’s and Gender Research at the UiT in close collaboration with UiT’s Equality and Diversity Committee. It is jointly financed by the Research Council of Norway and UiT and runs from 2018-2021. The project is led by Kenneth Ruud, the Deputy Chancellor for research and development and leader of the Equality and Diversity Committee at UiT. From 2018-2019, the project had been coordinated by Sigfrid Kjeldaas, Postdoctoral fellow at Genøk, and it is now (2020-2021) coordinated by Melina Duarte, Associate Professor of Ethics at the Department of Philosophy and Researcher at the Centre for Women's and Gender Research.
Contact us if you want to engage in the project and share your ideas. In spite of a period of social reclusion, our network is constantly growing in online platforms.
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The BalanceXplorer and the Balancinator are free and open source softwares originally created in 2020 by Lilli & Matthias Mittner. They allows anyone to build coloured plots to visualize distribution of men and women by inserting simple excel sheets instead of writing programming code.
The Balancinator apps operationalizes gender balance as binary between men and women. When interpreting the plots we encourage to acknowledge that there might be more than two genders in your organization and that representation of men and women is only one of many indicators for gender equality.