Equality Committee

The QUSTom project has implemented a dedicated action plan to permanently embed its commitment to gender equality in the actions of the project committed with the goals of Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025.

“Working together, we can make real progress by 2025 in achieving a Europe where women and men, girls and boys, in all their diversity, are equal – where they are free to pursue their chosen path in life and reach their full potential, where they have equal opportunities to thrive, and where they can equally participate in and lead our European society” Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025, European Commission.

Gender Equality Committee

Participant Organisation
Josep Casellas BSC – CNS
María Paz Baghetti BSC – CNS
Claudia Gras Frontwave Imaging
Torsten Hopp KIT
Martina Murovec ARCTUR
Anton Aubanell VHIR
Oscar Bates IMPERIAL

Committee tasks

Advocating for raising awareness
of gender equality issues,
both internally and externally.

01

Developing and implementing
a gender diversity
strategy
.

02

Ensuring leadership
and accountability for various
initiatives within the gender
diversity strategy.

03

Monitoring the progress
and impact of the gender
equality strategy.

04

Roles of female participants of the QUSTom project

  • Lead Engineer: 2
  • Project Manager: 3
  • Business developer: 1
  • Innovation Manager: 3
  • Regulator Manager: 1
  • Researcher: 6
  • Dissemination Manager: 2

Gender balance in QUSTom project

Why is it a priority to strengthen the integration of the gender dimension in research and innovation?

Adds value to research in terms of excellence, creativity and business opportunities

Helps researchers and innovators question gender norms and stereotypes, and rethink standards and reference models

Leads to an in-depth understanding of diverse gender needs, behaviours and attitudes

Addresses the diverse needs of citizens of the European Union and thereby enhances the societal relevance of the knowledge, technologies and innovations produced

Contributes to the production of goods and services better suited to new markets

Source: European Commission, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, Gendered innovations 2 : how inclusive analysis contributes to research and innovation : policy review, Publications Office, 2020, https://data.europa.eu/doi/10.2777/316197

1) Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC):

Policy: 

1. Gender and Diversity Equality Plan

The BSC-CNS reiterates therefore, its commitment to the establishment and development of policies that integrate the equality of treatment and opportunities between men and women, without direct or indirectly discriminating for reason of sex or other aspects (nationality, race, religion…). In each and every one of the ambits in which the activity of this institution is developed, from the selection of new personnel to internal promotion, including training, working conditions and employment, working health, the regulation of working hours and conciliation or salary policy, we assume the principle of equality of opportunities between men and women and the principle of diversity, complying specially with indirect discrimination, understood as “the situation in which a seemingly neutral disposition, criteria or practice, places a person of one sex or another personal characteristic such as nationality or age in particular disadvantage regarding people of another sex, other nationalities or ages”.

2. Excellence Career Opportunities

BSC is committed to transparency and equal opportunities in all its recruitment processes. For that, BSC was awarded the HR Excellence recognition for HRS4R – Human Resources Strategy for Researchers in 2015.
BSC wants to promote a challenging work environment where equal opportunities, ethics & integrity, work-life balance, career prospects and the best work conditions are met. One of the main component of this Excellence in HR award is called the OTM-R: Open, Transparent and Merit-based Recruitment. It ensures that the BSC provides equal opportunities, accessible to all and in a vision of continuous career development.

3. Protocol for prevention and intervention in cases of discrimination or harassment

Exposure to a situation of harassment or discrimination is considered a very significant psychosocial risk and can have severe consequences on a person’s physical and mental health. The BSC-CNS expresses its commitment to achieving safe working spaces and working relations based on freedom and respect. Therefore, it states its position of zero tolerance towards harassment and clear and categorical disapproval of offensive, discriminatory and/or abusive behaviour and attitudes.

Links: 

– Gender and Diversity Equality Plan
– Excellence Career Opportunities

2) Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)

Policy:

1. Work-life balance and organisational culture

A good work-life balance keeps you healthy, makes you happy, and increases your motivation to do your job. We help you to balance conditions of your private life with your job
Job and Family. Compatibility of job and family is the prerequisite for equal opportunities of women and men at work.
Parent-child Office. In case of short-term childcare problems, use our Parent-child Office that is equipped with a PC, telephone, internet access, diaper-changing table, cot, and toys.
Childcare Services: Child care facilities, Holiday care, Finding childminders

2. Gender balance in leadership and decision-making

KIT’s Equal Opportunities Officers provide assistance in all matters relating to equal opportunities (discrimination, sexual violence, stalking, compatibility of job, studies, and family, etc.). KIT promotes equal opportunities for men and women as stipulated by law and continuously works towards the elimination of disadvantages and discriminatory structures. A very important strategic goal is to significantly increase the proportion of women in management positions.

3. Integration of the gender dimension into research and teaching content

Long-term objectives
• More women in leading positions at KIT
• Gender balance in science and technology
• Fair career opportunities for women and men
• Work-life balance
To reach these objectives, KIT strives to:
• Create optimum conditions for women
• intending to work in or working in leading positions
• Increase the percentage of women in leading positions in science and administration
• Increase the percentage of female students in mathematics, informatics, natural sciences and engineering
Enhance quality management for all measures ensuring equal opportunities

4. Measures against gender-based violence including sexual harassment

The aim of the working group of Sexualized Violence and Harassment at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. is to raise awareness for this topic in all areas and to provide support, since everyone has the duty to care and behave responsibly regarding the topic of sexualized violence.

Links: 

– Work-life balance and organisational culture
– Gender balance in leadership and decision-making
– Integration of the gender dimension into research and teaching content
– Measures against gender-based violence including sexual harassment.

3) Frontwave Imaging (FWI)

Policy:

Currently, Frontwave Imaging S.L. has implemented active policies on equality issues and is working on a Gender Equality Plan.
The following measures are currently in place:
– Gender balance: 50% women and 50% men.
– Equal pay for equivalent roles and responsibilities.

Links: 

In process

4) Vall d’Hebron Institut de Recerca (VHIR)

Policy:

1. Work-life balance and organisational culture

Parental leave policies: apart from the mandatory parental leave time after birth, both parents can ask for flexible working time arrangements and a part-time position if needed during the first years of the children’s lives to have a comfortable life-work balance.

Ease for familiar conciliation: The center has an in-house kindergarten available for the use of the employees, which contributes to the overall familiar conciliation.

Support for caring responsibilities: Those workers who have caring responsibilities and care for other dependants (people with disabilities and elderly relatives) can ask for a temporary leave and a part-time job reduction.

Reintegration of staff after a career break: with active mentoring and support. A systematic effort is being made in the institution to reach homogeneous respectful, open, and welcoming working culture between teams and departments.

Hiring policies and HHRR politics: The selection process for any job position offered in the institution is open and public and must be accessible on the institution’s webpage with a job description and the expected requisites of the candidate.
Before starting an external candidate search, the responsible of the department considers if there is any individual in the team that can be interested in the position and fulfils the requisites for the job offer; if so, the responsible of the department has to communicate to the human resources team the will to fill the position with an internal promotion. The human resources team will consider the candidates and evaluate their suitability for the position.

2. Integration of the gender dimension into research: Gender equality in research and teaching content is one of the six European Research Aras (ERA) priorities. In our institution, we follow a model based on the Integrative approach (Becker, Jansen-Schultz, Lortendiek, and Schäfer (2006)) based on implementing a gender approach and equality policies in the research methods as well as the basics of teaching and communication efforts in our institution, a University Hospital Campus. Also, our institution is part of an equality observatory that evaluates the fulfillment of these criteria.

The regulatory context of the region has developed several laws to integrate the gender dimension in research and teaching content which rule our daily activity: Law 17/2015 for effective equality between men and women (DOGC, 2015).

Links: 

Equality Plan

5) Arctur

Policy:

1. Gender and Equality Aspects

A prosperous workplace is achieved when people are able to access and enjoy the same rewards, resources and opportunities regardless of gender, sexuality, personal disabilities or beliefs as well as ethnic, religious or socioeconomic background. For this reason, diversity is nurtured among employees and opportunities are available to everyone.
Arctur provides equal pay for work and removes barriers to equal participation of women in the workforce. Hence, more than half of the management staff in the company is female even though that might not be typical for the IT sector. At Arctur women represent 34% of all employees. Furthermore, in the top management position women represent 67%, meanwhile in the middle management 45%.
In addition, continuous professional and personal growth is promoted in various forms as well as mentorship and sharing knowledge between co-workers. Moreover, the company prides itself on employing many young talents and thus employs 40% of personnel under the age of 35, many of them are younger than 25 years.

Arctur continuously awards a scholarship to students and support them by offering internships, coaching and hands-on training. Flexible working options are offered to allow employees to accommodate their health needs, caring responsibilities i.e. balance their work and family life as well as their personal preferences. This enables persons with disabilities to equally participate in the work processes and at the same time ensures personal satisfaction and high motivation among the workforce. All this is possible due to the company culture that empowers and values each and every employee, is equality oriented and does not tolerate any type of discrimination.

Links: 

Gender and Equality Aspects

5) IMPERIAL

1. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy
ICL efforts to develop an effective EDI strategy build on existing work that involves many people
and many different streams of activity. The most visible components of this work are perhaps external benchmarking schemes including the Athena SWAN awards, the Race Equality Charter, Disability Confident Employer status and the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index.

Actions
College leadership: To ensure that all members of the College senior leadership are fully equipped to lead on equality, diversity and inclusion matters by including specific training on how to recognize and address issues of equality, diversity and inclusion.

Talent development
ICL will review how we identify and nurture talent from under-represented groups and, where necessary, create mechanisms to ensure these are effective – including mentoring programs targeted at staff from under-represented groups and reverse-mentoring opportunities for managers to better understand minority perspectives.

Recruitment
ICL will extend the ‘Know Your Pool’ approach to cover all protected characteristics in staff recruitment processes.
Procurement and services:
ICL will widen the influence of our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion by ensuring that it forms part of our relationships with suppliers, sub-contractors and commercial customers (e.g. organizations that hire our facilities).

Research:
ICL will incorporate consideration of equality, diversity and inclusion in the design of research projects that have a direct impact on people.

2. Gender and Ethnicity:

All jobs are evaluated by trained assessors using the internationally recognised Hay job evaluation system and we are currently in the process of training more HR staff to support this. This system ensures a sound and consistent judgement on the grading of individual jobs.

Anonymised recruitment option is now available for hiring managers when appropriate.

Review the language and material used in recruitment and use strategies to make it more attractive and inclusive to diverse and underrepresented groups.
They have implemented a gender de-coding tool in recruitment to avoid deterring women from applying for roles or promotion due to hidden bias in language.
Ensured that search agencies are briefed on the College’s requirement for them to identify the widest range of possible candidates.

Implemented feedback surveys to review the applicant experience and record where possible the reasons candidates decline an offer of employment.
Data provided to implement workforce planning, enabling departments to identify current or future problem areas and take action to address them.

Imperial has joined BB Stem Black British in STEM (BBSTEM) which aims to increase the representation of Black scientists in industry and in academia and inspire young Black people to pursue STEM subjects in university and beyond.

Links: 

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy
– Gender and Ethnicity

“‘Sex’ refers to biology. In humans, ‘sex’ refers to the biological attributes that distinguish male, female and intersex. In non-human animals, ‘sex’ refers to biological attributes that distinguish male, female and hermaphrodite. In engineering and product design research, sex includes anatomical and physiological characteristics that may affect the design of products, systems and processes”, (Comisión Europea, Dirección General de Investigación e Innovación,  2020, p.11).

Defining sex for engineering and design

“In engineering and product design research, sex includes anatomical and physiological characteristics that may affect the design of products, systems and processes” (Tannenbaum, Ellis, Eyssel, Zou, Schiebinger, 2019, pp.138). “Many devices and machines have been designed to fit male bodies. For example, military and commercial cockpits were traditionally based on male anthropometry, which made it difficult or even dangerous for some women (or small men) to be pilots. Office building thermostats, which are based on male metabolic rates, may set temperatures too low for many women” (Comisión Europea, Dirección General de Investigación e Innovación,  2020, p.12).

“It is also important to understand differences within groups of women, men and gender-diverse people. Many period-tracking apps fail users who have irregular cycles” (Tiffany, 2018).

“Gender refers to sociocultural norms, identities and relations that (1) structure societies and organisations and (2) shape behaviours, products, technologies, environments, and knowledges” (Schiebinger, 1999; Ridgeway and Correll, 2004, as cited in Comisión Europea, Dirección General de Investigación e Innovación, 2020, p.14).

Gender attitudes and behaviours are complex and change in time and place. Importantly, gender is multidimensional (Hyde et
al., 2018) and intersects with other social categories, such as sex, age, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation and ethnicity.

Three related dimensions of gender (based on Comisión Europea, Dirección General de Investigación e Innovación, 2020)

As social beings, humans function through learned behaviours. How we speak, our mannerisms, the things we use and our behaviours all signal who we are and establish rules for interaction. Gender is a set of organising principles that structure behaviours, attitudes, physical appearance and habits.

  • Gender norms are produced through social institutions (such as families, schools, workplaces, laboratories, universities or boardrooms), social interactions (such as between romantic partners, colleagues or family members) and wider cultural products (such as textbooks, literature, films and video games). Gender norms refer to social and cultural attitudes and expectations about which behaviours, preferences, products, professions or knowledges are appropriate for women, men and gender-diverse individuals, and may influence the development of science and technology.

Gender norms

  • Gender identities relate to how individuals or groups perceive and present themselves in relation to gender norms. Gender identities may be context-specific and interact with other identities, such as ethnicity, class or cultural heritage.

Gender identities

  • Gender relations relate to how we interact with people and institutions around us, based on our sex and our gender identity. Gender relations encompass how gender shapes social interactions in families, schools, workplaces and public settings.

‘Intersectionality’ describes overlapping or intersecting categories such as gender, sex, ethnicity, age, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation and geographical location that combine to inform individuals’ identities and experiences. “Researchers and engineers should not consider gender in isolation; gender identities, norms and relations shape and are shaped by other social attributes”(Buolamwini and Gebru, 2018).

Works cited: 

Buolamwini, J. and Gebru, T. (2018), ‘Gender shades: intersectional accuracy disparities in commercial gender classification’, Proceedings of Machine Learning Research, 81, 77–91

Hyde, J. S., Bigler, R. S., Joel, D., Tate, C. C. and van Anders, S. M. (2018), ‘The future of sex and gender in psychology: five challenges to the gender binary’, American Psychologist, 74(2), 171–193.

Comisión Europea, Dirección General de Investigación e Innovación, Gendered innovations 2 : how inclusive analysis contributes to research and innovation : policy review, Publications Office, 2020, https://data.europa.eu/doi/10.2777/316197

Tannenbaum, C., Ellis, R.P., Eyssel, F. et al. Sex and gender analysis improves science and engineering. Nature 575, 137–146 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-019-1657-6

Tiffany, K. (2018), ‘Period-tracking apps are not for women’, Vox, 16 November.

In QUSTom: principles and good practices

Method: analysing gender 

  • Gender stereotypes can affect clinical care in several ways. First, researchers should pay attention to language and gender norms in diagnostic procedures.
  • Second, gender relations between the healthcare provider and the patient can affect prescribing patterns and treatment outcomes. Age and race can also play a role.

(Chang & Yang, 2021)

Mission area: cancer – ‘Conquering cancer: mission possible’ 

  • Mission Board, include representatives from groups with sex and gender-specific knowledge, such as the Gender in Oncology task force of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO). To ensure equal access and benefits to all European patients and citizens, sex and gender must be considered in cancer studies, cancer data analysis and modelling of treatments.

(European Commission, 2020)

Data

  • Sex is an important biological variable. All data collection and reporting must be sex disaggregated to facilitate future meta analyses.
  • Gender is an important cultural variable. All data collection and reporting must be gender-disaggregated to facilitate future meta-analyses.
  • If big data and machine learning techniques will be employed for low-cost population risk prediction, sex/gender bias in the source data needs to be investigated and corrected for.
  • Polygenic risk score development needs to be based on sex-disaggregated data and possibly lead towards gender-sensitive risk counselling.

(Lee, 2018)

Prevention

  • Cancer prevention strategies should be gender-sensitive. This applies to the screening location (e.g. workplace versus primary care physician), delivery of information and facilitation of healthy lifestyle choices.

(European Institute for Gender Equality, 2016)

Diagnosis 

  • Gender-specific barriers to access to early diagnostic and minimally invasive treatment technologies need to be removed in all EU Member States.
    XR technologies are increasingly used for diagnosing and managing patients. These technologies may improve women’s health, for example by aiding early diagnosis of breast cancer or managing the symptoms of menopause.

(European Commission, 2020)

Treatment 

  • The proposed European Cancer Patient Digital Centre needs to be equally accessible to all citizens, transcending possible inequalities in digital literacy.
  • Sex and gender-specific risk factors should be recorded.
  • The future network of comprehensive cancer infrastructures needs to include expertise on sex/gender in oncology.
  • Innovation and implementation of new technology in the field of cancer need to be gender-sensitive to guarantee equal access and benefit for all.

(European Commission, 2020)

Quality of life 

  • Quality-of-life (QoL) measurements of patients, survivors, family members and carers need to be gender-sensitive. Cancer may affect the QoL of women, men and other genders differently, which needs to be considered for optimal support. Pain
  • The prevention of chronic pain related to cancer should integrate sex analysis into treatments and develop gender-sensitive approaches to pain management.
  • Pharmacological pain management needs to be gender-sensitive and sex-specific to improve patients’ outcomes and QoL.

(Laghousi, Jafari, Nikbakht, Nasiri, Shamshirgaran, & Aminisani, 2019)

Personalised treatment

  • Personalised medicine approaches for cancer need to be sex-specific and gender sensitive to ensure equal access and benefits for all patients
Sources:
Chia-Heng Chang & Fan Yang | (2021) How Gender Stereotypes Impact Health Information Seeking Intention: Insights from an Implicit Association Test, Cogent Social Sciences, 7:1, 1999614, DOI: 10.1080/23311886.2021.1999614
European Commission, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, Pita Barros, P., Beets-Tan, R., Chomienne, C., et al., Conquering cancer : mission possible, Publications Office, 2020, https://data.europa.eu/doi/10.2777/045403
Lee S. K. (2018). Sex as an important biological variable in biomedical research. BMB reports51(4), 167–173. https://doi.org/10.5483/bmbrep.2018.51.4.034
EIGE. (2017). Gender in Health. DOI: 978-92-9493-614-1
Laghousi, D., Jafari, E., Nikbakht, H., Nasiri, B., Shamshirgaran, M., & Aminisani, N. (2019). Gender differences in health-related quality of life among patients with colorectal cancer. Journal of gastrointestinal oncology10(3), 453–461. https://doi.org/10.21037/jgo.2019.02.04
European Commission, Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, Gendered innovations 2 : how inclusive analysis contributes to research and innovation : policy review, Publications Office, 2020, https://data.europa.eu/doi/10.2777/316197

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