Gender Equality in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are, within the European framework, a matter the equal representation of women in research and innovation and the inclusion of gender aspects in research and innovation content. Gender Equality it refers to a range of issues such as equality in employment, tenure, and wages as well as equality in research participation and research content. Gender Equality is both a core priority area within the European Union and a UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG5).

Our study relies on data collected as a document study of 122 European HEIs, of which four fifths included Gender Equality in their main strategic documents and policies. The study evaluates the Gender Equality policies and strategies within the HEIs. The documents were analysed with respect to the above understanding of what Gender Equality includes, while also remaining open to new elements. This work led to the subcategorization of Gender Equality work into to following categories:

1)Culture and behaviour

2)Work-life balance

3)Career advancement

4)Women in leadership

5)Gender aware science

6)General Gender Equality

The graph below shows how the HEIs work with Gender Equality; whether they have an approach based on establishing aims, on supporting work on Gender Equality, or if their approach is a combination of supporting work on Gender Equality while also having incentives to work with Gender Equality.

“Culture and behaviour” is the most utilised policy area, with three fourths of the HEIs mentioning this. Examples of these policies includes having a unit dedicated to working with Gender Equality, having guidelines on sexual harassment, or expressing aims to be a gender inclusive workplace.

“Work-life balance” is an important aspect of Gender Equality work, as it enables especially women’s scholastic career, by e.g., providing childcare at campus or allowing for flexible work- and teaching hours.

“Career advancement” and “Women in leadership” are connected parts of women’s representation in all levels of research, from attracting female students to hiring female professors.

“Gender aware science” is a matter of the inclusion of gender aspects in research and innovation content. Typically, it is often a matter of including gender aspects into existing scientific fields, methods and content, or a matter of supporting gender studies as a separate field.

The work on Gender Equality in European HEIs happens through a diverse range of policies and strategies. Some HEIs works with a broad range of Gender Equality elements, while others focus more intensively on a subset of issues. However, the general aim to create a better organisational culture is evident at most HEIs, indicating that most HEIs acknowledge the need for a Gender Equality strategy.

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