The University of Valencia is implementing its Second Gender Equality Plan. The university has an Equality Unit created by resolution of the Governing Council on October 2007. The Equality Unit aims to implement the right to equal treatment and opportunities for women and men. This Unit prepares and develops the necessary programmes to promote equality policies at the university and coordinates specific actions that can be adopted by the different bodies, centres and services. For instance, in 2010 the Equality Unit presented a report on the integration of the gender dimension in the syllabus of the new degrees.
Within the University of Valencia there is also the Women´s Studies Institute where researchers, professors and students raise a critical review of the mainstreaming discourse, promoting cooperative relations with other scientific organisations and institutions and, above all, the development of alternative proposals in order to meet social demands, from an open perspective and according to the need to promote equality between men and women.
The Institute of Women´s Studies, offers a Master’s Degree and a PhD. Programme in Gender Studies. It also offers four courses on Gender Relationships open to all undergraduate students of the University of Valencia. The University of Valencia is divided in four main scientific areas: Natural Sciences – Engineering and Architecture, Health Sciences, Humanities, and Social Sciences. There is one specific Gender Relations course according to the scientific area:
- Gender Relations, Health and Society (for undergraduates in Health Sciences, except the Degree on Pharmacy).
- Gender Relations, Thought, History and Society (for undergraduates in Arts and Humanities, Education, Pedagogy and Social Education).
- Gender Relations, Politics, Citizenship and Society (for undergraduates in Law and Social Sciences, except Education, Pedagogy and Social Education).
- Gender Relations, Science, Technology and Society (for undergraduates in Engineering & Architecture, Pharmacy, Physics, Chemistry and Biology).
The University has been offering these four courses since 2012. It is a pioneer initiative in Spanish universities.
- To provide an opportunity to expand academic training by acquiring complementary transferable competencies to those specifically included in the syllabus.
- To allow the enrichment of the educational profile at any degree by providing knowledge and useful skills for the future professional performance practice.
- To promote educational innovation and interactive communication, since classes are delivered in a blended modality with a considerable proportion of online teaching and use of various audio-visual resources.
- To advance the university curricula in accordance with to the European Commission normative and to the Bologna Process incorporating the criteria of equality and gender mainstreaming in the academic and professional training for the European labour market.
- To encourage critical thinking, allowing further analysis of inequalities between men and women in public and private spheres and to extent the knowledge on contemporary social and cultural complexity.
The Institute of Women´s Studies is responsible for organizing the courses and the selection of teachers among the Institute professors and researchers.
The four courses share some common basic topics besides the specific content adapted to each main scientific field.
For instance, the main five topics of the Gender Relations, Science, Technology and Society s subject are the following:
- Gender in the mainstream of current European research.
- Key concepts of gender analysis in natural sciences and engineering. Main gender biases in scientific research.
- The gender perspective in the epistemological critique of the theories of science and of technological practices
- Making Women visible in science and engineering.
- Gender, globalization and diversity. Women in Science at the EU and Spain.
The value of each course is 6 ECTS credits out of the 240 total credits of any degree. Each course consists of 2-hour 14 classroom sessions together with 28 hours of complementary on-line activities (such as text readings, discussion of audio-visual resources, tutorials, forums and chats) and team/individual students essays.