Gender equality in research is one of the important topics in European research area and will have a special attention also in the next framework programme, Horizon Europe. The current state of gender equality in Estonian research has not reached the equality of men and women in terms of their position and opportunities. Some figures illustrating the situation can be found in the statistics on gender balance in Estonian research. Estonian Research Council (ETAg) is now taking steps to raise awareness of the subject matter and is participating in support actions to help to narrow this divide.
Gender Equality Plan for ETAg
In September 2020, Gender Equality Plan for ETAg was adopted. There exists a great gender imbalance across academic positions, the proportion of women in the decision-making bodies regarding research policy is modest, and considerably more men apply for and receive research grants than women. In order to improve the indicators of gender equality, it is imperative to tackle these issues systematically. The aim of the Estonian Research Council is to pay more attention to the aspects of gender in all its activities, and thus contribute to promoting gender equality in the Estonian research landscape.
Supporting early stage women researchers
Since summer 2020, ETAg is participating in the international mentoring programme FELISE that aims to support early-career women researchers to advance in their academic careers and in their participation in decision-making bodies. The programme lasts for seven months, and there are 5 young women researchers also participating from three Estonian universities. They are brought together with senior researchers, to share their experiences, address problems and expand ideas on how to tackle personal and institutional barriers in their academic career path. This programme is a pilot activity of the project GEARING-Roles. The participants, both mentors and mentees, see an added value in the fact that this programme is international, but also interdisciplinary. More information can be found also in the news article at ETAg homepage (in Estonian only).
Additionally, there are currently two comprehensive studies conducted on the relevant subject matters:
the first study is analysing the current situation of the gender equality in Estonian research landscape, to idetify the reasons behind the problems. The aim is to create basis for possible improvement activities. The results are to be expected by the 1st quarter of 2021. More information is available in the news at Estonian Research Information system (ETIS), in EE only.
The second survey is more broad and is being conducted on the general gender wage gap in Estonia, as we have one of the biggest wage gaps in EU. Again, the reasons behind it and possible ways to improve the situation are studied. More information is available at the project homepage (in EE only).
Taking care of the visibility of our female researchers
Estonian Research Council has been also nominating the Estonian female researchers to international women researchers´ database AcademiaNet, to raise visibility of our exceptional researchers and broaden their career prospects. More information in the news at ETIS, (in EE only).
While we want to support researchers in their career paths, it is important to be aware - and raise awareness - of the possible gender gaps in our research landscape, be it related to the positions of researchers or gender aspects considered in the research. We are hoping to see improvements, step by step, also in Estonia.
In case you need more information on any matters above, please contact us at: