The EU Council Conclusions concerning various issues related to the development of the European research area (ERA), as adopted by the Competitiveness Council at its meeting on 26 May 2010, stressed the need to further progress in the reinforcement of the integration of the gender dimension in European research and it endorses the other recommendations proposed by the Helsinki Group (HG) in its Position Paper, Gender and Research beyond 2009, where the group, composed of national representatives (policy makers and gender experts) from the 27 EU Member States at that time, invites the European Commission to renew its commitment to mainstreaming gender in research, both by ensuring the inclusion of the gender dimension in research priorities and funding programmes and by monitoring the participation of women in research funded by the Framework Programmes.

The EU Council, in its December 11th 2012 Conclusions1, clearly underlined that “the integration of a gender dimension into the design, evaluation and implementation of research needs to be improved to effectively foster research and innovation excellence”.

►Conclusions on the progress report from the Commission on European Research Area (ERA) 2013: (25th February 2014)

these conclusions invite the Member States to step up the efforts to systematically mainstream gender equality and the gender dimension in R&I policies and programmes

►Conclusions on the European research area Progress Report 2014.: (5th of December 2014)

one of these conclusions is that the Council “notes the persistence of gender bias in careers, of gender imbalance in decision-making roles, as well as the lack of a gender dimension in most of the national research programmes. Invites therefore Member States to support gender mainstreaming and equal opportunities”.

►Council Conclusions on the ERA Roadmap 2015-2020 (9351/15): (May 29th 2015)

these conclusions adopted the ERAC (European Research Area Committee) Opinion on the ERA Roadmap 2015-2020 (ERAC 1208/15) which calls on the Member States and the Commission to start the implementation of the top action priorities identified in the ERA Roadmap and, therefore, in respect to gender equality and IGAR it calls to “translating national equality legislation into effective action to address gender imbalances in research institutions and decision making bodies and integrating the gender dimension better into R&D policies, programmes and projects”.

The ERA Roadmap has been developed to facilitate and reinforce the efforts undertaken by the Member States. The ERA Roadmap 2015-2020 identifies a limited number of key implementation priorities which are likely to have the biggest impact on Europe’s science, research and innovation systems if all the members of the ERA Partnership get them right. Visible progress must be made by the Member States by 2020 and it should be possible to demonstrate this progress on all ERA priorities. In regards to the gender equality and gender mainstreaming in research priority, the ERA roadmap states that: “… the gender dimension in research content is commonly overlooked. Addressing these issues will also reinforce the attractiveness of Europe to high quality researchers”.

►Competitiveness Council Conclusions on advancing gender equality in the ERA (14846/15): (December 1st 2015)

It reaffirms the Council´s “commitment to enhance gender equality in the ERA and recognises that the implementation of the ERA Roadmap and the priority on gender equality offers an excellent opportunity to translate national equality legislation into effective action to address gender imbalances in research institutions and decision making bodies and integrate the gender dimension better into R&I policies, programmes and projects” (as stated in the 29th May 2015 Council Conclusions).

Consequently, the Council invites Member States and research-funding organisations “to provide incentives to encourage research performing organisations, including universities, to revise or develop gender mainstreaming strategies, gender equality plans including the gender dimension in R&I content and programmes and mobilise adequate resources to ensure their implementation.

The Council also invites the Commission to continue to strengthen the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of all gender equality objectives in Horizon 2020 relating to gender representation in research teams, decision-making as well as the gender dimension in research content, at all possible stages of the research cycle; and calls on the Commission to explore the possibility to provide more comprehensive, transparent sex-disaggregated data and gender indicators on participation of evaluators and researchers as well as of the integration of the gender dimension as research subject in projects and programmes funded by Horizon 2020. Additionally, the Council invites Member States in collaboration with the Commission to make full use of mutual learning exercises, including within the framework of ERAC, and the exchange of good practices in the field of gender equality in R&I; taking into account the recommendations from the Helsinki Group, and the outcomes of projects on this topic funded by the EU framework programmes, such as the GENDER-NET ERA-Net.

  • 1. Council of the European Union (December 11th, 2012), Conclusions on A reinforced European Research Area Partnership for Excellence and Growth, 3208th Competitiveness Council meeting: http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/en/intm/134168.pdf