There is still much to be done to reduce to zero the gender gap in our society, but the first step to seeing a change is to be part of the change. In this context, EMSO ERIC, fully committed to achieving gender equality, celebrates International Women’s Day on March 8th, as in many countries around the world to recognize women for their abilities and achievements regardless of their ethnicity, religion, culture or economic status. And on this occasion, EMSO is pleased to share its progress one year after the official implementation of the first document dedicated to guaranteeing gender balance within the European consortium.

An ambitious Gender Equality Strategy that EMSO ERIC began to define already in 2017, and which led, at the end of 2021, to the elaboration of the official document “EMSO ERIC Gender Equality Plan (EE GEP)”, a precise action plan to promote gender balance. EE GEP was signed by the EMSO ERIC Director-General and duly approved by the 17th EMSO ERIC Assembly of Members on the 8th of March 2022.

With GEP approved and published, EMSO ERIC started implementing the recommendations set in the plan, both internally to the EMSO organization and externally, in the main international initiatives and projects in which the ERIC is involved.

Based on an active action for gender equality in recruitment and professional progression and with the scope of supporting the gender equality dimension in EMSO ERIC recruitment procedures, gender balance is promoted in all selection procedures for the positions opened in 2022 for EMSO ERIC Central Management Office (CMO); attention is paid to the composition of the recruitment committees as well as to the assignment of the organizational positions. In the past year, almost 70% of the newly hired staff personnel have been women. A new mentoring initiative was also implemented for these new recruits, facilitating their integration into the CMO.

Moreover, to promote gender balance in leadership and decision-making, gender balance in accessing selections for higher education courses and training was ensured. Indeed, 2 CMO people were selected to attend a specialized Master´s course on Research Infrastructures, of which one woman and one man.

In the frame of the work-life balance dimension, EMSO ERIC actively supported the reconciliation of private life and work times, through smart working agreements between DG and the permanent staff of the CMO.

EMSO ERIC encouraged gender balance in the related organizational research culture, both in EMSO transnational access programme and in EU-funded projects.

In the frame of the just-ended ERIC Forum project (GA n. 823798), where EMSO ERIC participated as a beneficiary, in June 2021 it was established a Gender Equality Working Group (GE WG), initially triggered by the newly established GEP eligibility in Horizon Europe. Through the GE WG, the Forum offered an open environment for personnel, mostly unfamiliar at the time with gender equality and GEP development, to exchange good practices and support each other with their plan development. At the end of January 2023, a proposal was submitted that included the follow-up of the GEP action and, in the case of funding, the intention is to continue the work already done to strengthen a strong commitment to existing gender equality.

As part of the eRImote project (GA n. 101057557) the equal opportunity officer was appointed during the Kick-off meeting, involved in monitoring board member appointments, outreach to experts, and disseminating the project to improve gender balance.

In the frame of the EMSO transnational access programme, in 2023 calls the gender balance was set as the first prioritization criterium in case of equal score.

Further actions will be developed in the next forthcoming months.

For more information about the EMSO ERIC Gender Equality Plan, click here

Author: Valentina Tegas, EMSO ERIC