On 29 April 2021, the first European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) Connect was held to contribute to the ongoing debate on the topic of advancing gender equality and to offer a platform for participants to discuss and network. The event brought together a wide range of ambassadors of gender equality, including researchers, innovators from COST Actions, and European Union policy stakeholders.
As a core value of the European Union, gender equality is a key principle to strive for in European research and innovation. In order to take scientific excellence to the next level and deliver science-based solutions to the many urgent and pressing global challenges, it is essential to fully tap into the European talent pool of researchers and innovators. This necessitates an inclusive approach to the talent pool and a concerted effort to close the gender gap and ensure that women can develop their talents fully. While significant progress has been made over the last decades, we are still a long way from achieving full gender equality. The COST Connect event centred around the challenges of getting more women to participate in research and innovation, particularly in leadership positions, and advancing gender mainstreaming in research and innovation organisations.
Participants specifically discussed the structural barriers that prevent women from pursuing a career in research and innovation; the gaps in policy approaches that are currently in place; what can be done to make research careers more attractive to female researchers; and what can be done to better support female researchers in their career progression. Some key points of discussions included the importance of providing access to childcare facilities; ensuring effective work-life balance policies for women and men; and removing (unconscious) gender bias and gender stereotypes.
More information on the event and useful resources on the gender equality: https://www.cost.eu/news/first-ever-cost-connect-on-advancing-gender-equality-in-research-and-innovation-discusses-how-to-accelerate-progress/