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Signatures sought for gender-equality manifesto

Researchers have launched a petition urging the European Commission to address gender equality issues in science.

The “Manifesto for Integrated Action on the Gender Dimension in Research and Innovation” calls on the Commission to “ensure that the gender imbalance is corrected” in the EU’s research funding programme 2014-20.

It argues that inequalities affect research quality and should be tackled by governments, funding agencies and universities.

At the time of writing, about 1,650 people had signed the manifesto. The founding signatories aim to reach 2,020 signatures by the end of February, in order to present the petition to the Commission as “2020 votes for a better Horizon 2020”.

The manifesto says, “Evidence demonstrates that the assertion that science is gender neutral is not the case. When gender is not taken into account, research often results in different health and safety outcomes for women and men.

“Researchers also need to question how to ensure that the products and services they help develop benefit both women and men.”

In particular, it says, these issues should be considered as part of the research design and process, in creating balanced research teams, and in enabling scientific and leadership training.

Plans to modernise European universities should include measures similar to Marie Curie actions [EC funding schemes for the mobility of researchers] to enhance the recruitment of women researchers, including women research leaders.

The manifesto was drafted by research professionals following the European Gender Summit in Brussels last November.