Final conference of GEECCO and TARGET

CHANGErs Jennifer Dahmen-Adkins (RWTH, Germany), Ernesta Grigalionyte-Bembič (NIB, Slovenia), Janne Haack (IFAM, Germany), Sandra Karner (IFZ, Austria), Veronika Meskova (UNIZA, Slovakia), and Anita Thaler (IFZ, Austria) participated at the final conference of our two 'bigger sisters' GEECCO and TARGET on March 11, 2021.

Bente Knoll explained the Do's and Don‘ts of integrating gender equality in STEM fields along the GEECCO pillars Engineering, Communication and Commitment, emphasising the importance of participatory methods and avoiding gender stereotypical ("pink tool") solutions. Donia Lasinger from the Austrian WWTF argued that the role of research funding organisations (RFOs) depends on the context (small-big; private-public; applied-basic science) and that starting with pilot initiatives can help as door openers. We can relate to this, we worked with so called "quick actions" to start our GEP implementation in higher education and research organisations.

But, having to implement GEPs is not enough, Roberta Schaller-Steidl from the Austrian science ministry pointed out. We have to constant monitor the actual achievements, so research performing organizations (RPOs) which are further along in this process improve even further and starting RPOs learn how to do it.

A strong management support (like our transfer agents) and an engaged CoP (what we are building in CHANGE too) helped Paola Bello (EU Funding Officer, Fondazione Regionale per la Ricerca Biomedica) and her RFO to aim higher; summarizing that collecting data, starting a dialogue and challenging (also your own opinion), are the key for change.

Brigitte Ratzer, the coordinator of GEECCO, finally reminded us to include intersectional gender perspectives into technology research, use existing knowledge (there is a "myriad of literature", no need to perpetuate stereotypes) and to be aware that this all needs resources (RFOs have to be aware of this, she emphasized). The upside are better, user-friendly artefacts, like gender equal research and academic institutions are better working environments for all.


Illustration was taken from GEECCO's video on 'Robots in our society' which you can find here: