Data from the European Union (2015) show that in life sciences women have caught up with or even surpassed men at PhD and postdoctoral level. However, the picture is less positive for more advanced positions.
The reasons for this general imbalance are not well understood, probably many factors play a role, among them unconscious gender bias, recruitment & evaluation procedures, work life balance issues and also reluctance of women to aim for a career in academia. LIBRA develops strategies and actions aimed at these fields of action in order to ensure gender equality as well as gender balance, especially with a view to leadership positions, at EU-LIFE organisations.
Regarding the number of women in leadership positions, Institut Curie is already placed well above the national, EU-28 and EU-LIFE average, but would like to continually improve the professional equality between men and women at the institute and in science in general.
In the framework of LIBRA and supported by a gender expert organisation, Institut Curie has developed a Gender Equality Plan (GEP) that implements innovative actions to boost the numbers of women in leadership positions, enhances the work life balance of all employees and raises science excellence by including sex and gender dimension in research. The GEP was designed based on an in-depth assessment, through a participatory and mutual learning process. It provides targeted measures to create institutional changes in recruitment, career development, training, and work life balance and also provides actions concerning the aspect of the sex and gender dimensions in biomedical research.
The actions are implemented over a period of 2-and-a-half years and monitored through-out. A special plan will be devised to ensure the sustainability of the achievements.