AI4GOV PROJECT AT EVENT ON INTEGRATING THE GENDER DIMENSION IN RESEARCH
On 29 March 2023, the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation hosted an event on How to address "Gender Equality and Gender Mainstreaming" in the Horizon Europe project application. Representatives of the European Commission and the Ministry briefed participants on the cross-cutting theme of gender equality and gender mainstreaming in research and innovation and presented the upcoming Horizon Europe calls on this topic. The event showcased good practices in integrating a gender-sensitive approach in the content of Horizon Europe projects. Dr. Alenka Guček from the JSI Department for Artificial Intelligence presented the project "Trusted AI for Transparent Public Governance fostering Democratic Values (AI4Gov)" and the methodology of the project aimed at an intersectional bias analysis (including gender dimension) to examine and understand the effect of bias on AI, big data and democracy by developing bias detector toolkit and a library of explainable artificial intelligence models. Participants agreed that gender equality and an interdisciplinary approach are key for achieving excellence in science.
JSI COLLEAGUE CHAIRS THE COMMISSION FOR EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES IN SCIENCE
In March 2023, doc. dr. Kristina Žagar Soderžnik, researcher at the Department of Nanostructured Materials at JSI, took up the position of Chair of the Commission for Equal Opportunities in Science for the mandate period 2023 - 2026. The Commission is an expert body of the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation with the important task of eliminating all forms of inequality in science and supporting a balanced representation of all, regardless of gender and other personal circumstances. Doc. dr. Kristina Žagar Soderžnik, an active member of the Science on the Street project, stresses the importance of inclusivity and equality in science:
"As a researcher of the younger generation, I am familiar with the issues of young people in science, both women and men and young parents. From my own experience and education at universities in Slovenia and abroad, I am aware of the importance of dialogue and the establishment of new norms in science for young and early career scientists. As a research team leader, I am aware of the many obstacles and pitfalls encountered by not only local but also foreign scientists who wish to gain employment and establish themselves in Slovenian institutions. This is why I am actively committed to equal opportunities for all in science, regardless of gender, race, age, or position. I hope that in the next four years, the Commission will help to bring about changes for a better future for women and men scientists. I believe that if we want to see change, we need to be vocal and visible about it. The role of Chair of the Commission is one way to be seen and heard."
We wish her every success in her new role!
GENDER EQUALITY DAYS
On 8 March, the Faculty of Arts of the University of Ljubljana hosted the opening event of this year's Gender Equality Days. Dr. Romana Jordan, Assistant Director for EU Affairs at the IJS, who coordinates the Athena project at the Institute, Prof. Dr. Milica Antić Gaber (Faculty of Arts, UL), Prof. Dr. Vesna Leskošek (Faculty of Social Work, UL) and Dr. Jovana Mihajlović Trbovc (ZRC SAZU) participated at the opening roundtable. They spoke about the constraints they faced in designing gender equality plans, which included obtaining gender-disaggregated data at the organisational level, and the challenges faced by women in academia, such as gender pay gap and career progression.
Dr. Romana Jordan spoke about the Institute's sustainable business model, which, by being sensitive to diversity, provides a supportive working environment for all. To this end, the JSI recruited a Gender Equality, Ethics and Conflict Resolution Officer shortly before the formal adoption of the Gender Equality Plan.
Read more about the event in the press release. Information on the upcoming Gender Equality Days is available on the Faculty of Arts website. (both in Slovene language)
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY
The International Women's Day celebrates the social, political, economic and cultural achievements of women around the world and calls for further action to achieve gender equality. The theme for this year's IWD, set by the UN »DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality« highlights the important contributions of women and girls in the fields of technology and digital education. Women's full participation in technology brings more creative solutions and innovations that better address women's needs and promote gender equality, however a persistent gender gap in digital access keeps women from unlocking technology’s full potential. The chosen theme aims to examine the impact of the digital gender divide on widening economic and social inequalities. It highlights the importance of protecting women's and girls' rights in the digital space and the issue of online and gender-based violence enabled by ICTs. On the occasion of 8 March, we congratulate our female staff for their many achievements and thank all our colleagues for their support in achieving gender equality at the Institute and in society at large.
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF WOMEN AND GIRLS IN SCIENCE
On 11 February we celebrated the International Day of Women and Girls in Science (IDWGIS). This year, it is dedicated to the role that women scientists have in developing solutions which support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals. On this occasion, on 16 February 2023 the Jožef Stefan Institute in cooperation with the U.S. Embassy in Slovenia held a lecture by Dr. Aubrey R. Paris, Policy Advisor on Gender, Climate Change & Innovation in the Secretary's Office of Global Women's Issues (S/GWI) at the U.S. Department of State, where she leads policy and public diplomacy efforts related to the nexus of gender and climate change.
Dr. Paris presented the domino effect of the climate crisis which has particularly significant effects on women and girls in regions of existing fragility or instability, such as increased risk of gender-based violence and displacement. She presented the two-pronged approach to the gender-climate nexus, which includes both addressing disproportionate impacts of the effects of climate change on women and girls and empowering women and girls as leaders and agents of change in combatting the climate crisis. Through a presentation of practical examples of women-led technological and programmatic solutions, Dr. Paris emphasized the contribution of women and girls worldwide to addressing challenges directly or indirectly linked to climate change and environmental degradation. Lastly, she stressed the importance of building networks of women and girls across countries, regions, or globally to share best practices and replicate effective solutions.
ATHENA PROJECT NEWSLETTER
The third issue of the Athena project newsletter is now available, which provides information on the events and activities JSI and our project partners have carried out over the past months.
TRAINING FOR JSI STAFF
The Gender Equality Plan Implementation (GEPI) Committee and the Horizon 2020-funded Athena project consortium organized a series of five training sessions for JSI staff in October and November 2022, addressing different aspects of promoting gender equality and strengthening an inclusive organizational culture at the Institute. External speakers and lecturers, as well as a number of colleagues, were involved in the delivery of the trainings and shared their knowledge and skills needed to promote gender equality in the work environment. As many as 200 employees learned about the impact and consequences of unconscious bias and discussed how to promote gender equality in the context of recruitment and career progression policies, decision-making and leadership processes at the Institute, and work-life balance. A training on the topic of ethics and integrity in scientific research was also organized.
Recordings of all events with English subtitles are available here.
ADOPTION OF THE GENDER EQUALITY PLAN
In October 2022, the Scientific Council of the Jožef Stefan Institute approved the Gender Equality Plan (GEP) for the JSI, which was prepared by the members of the Athena project consortium, based on several years of efforts by colleagues to introduce measures to promote gender equality at the Institute. In order to prepare an effective plan that will adequately address the key challenges and needs of the Institute in this area, a comprehensive situational analysis in the field of gender equality at the JSI was carried out. Recognizing that the success and effectiveness of the planned measures at the level of the organization requires the active involvement of all employees, the Gender Equality Plan Implementation (GEPI) Committee lead a broad discussion on the content of the plan through the JSI Scientific Advisory Boards, whose suggestions for the improvement of the document were duly taken into account. The plan sets forth a set of measurable and time-bound commitments and proposed actions to promote sustainable organizational change that will support gender equality and equal opportunities for all employees and contribute to a stimulating, inclusive and safe working environment for employees and students, thereby fostering research creativity and scientific excellence.
The English version of the plan is available here.
GENDER EQUALITY PLAN IMPLEMENTATION (GEPI) COMMITTEE
On 17 August 2021, within the activities of the European project Athena: Implementing gender equality plans to unlock research potential of RPOs and RFOs in Europe, the Gender Equality Plan Implementation (GEPI) Committee was established at the Jožef Stefan Institute. The Chair of the Committee, Prof. Dr. Barbara Malič, briefed the members on the content and objectives of the Athena project, as well as on the role and tasks of the Committee. The GEPI Committee is composed of representatives of different target groups of employees (the management, researchers, administration, Secretariat and young researchers). The Committee will play a key role in the introduction and implementation of institutional changes at the JSI, as well as in the successful implementation of the Athena project.
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