Guidelines for promoting gender equality

4/2/2015

These guidelines relate to the composition of reviewing and decision-making bodies, selection of external experts and distribution of research support.

RJ's task is to fund research of top academic quality. Assessments of applications must be objective and concern this quality only.

RJ's starting point is that women and men have an equal ability when it comes to contributing to and carrying out, as well as assessing, academic research. The endeavour to attain gender equality is therefore a matter of quality and fairness.

Ways of promoting gender equality or parity among RJ's employees lie outside the scope of these Guidelines and are, instead, covered in the gender-equality plan applying to RJ's Secretariat.

Aims

  • RJ shall have gender parity in its reviewing and decision-making bodies, i.e. the Board, Finance Committee, review panels, sector committees etc. The same objective applies in recruitment of external experts.
    The objective is for each group or category to be composed of 50 % men and 50 % women. Since attaining this target may be difficult, especially in small groups, all the members of the review panels (RP 1–4 and the Programme Group) are treated as a single category and all the members of the sector committees as another. Statistics on expert advisors are kept for projects, programmes and infrastructure for research. In this context, gender parity is considered to prevail in a category when neither gender makes up less than 40% of the total.
  • RJ shall both make it possible and make sure that the proportions of women and men among those who apply for grants correspond to the proportions among the researchers who are potential applicants.
    According to statistics issued by the Swedish Higher Education Authority, the gender distribution in the population of researchers with social sciences and humanities PhDs in Sweden is 44% women and 56% men.
  • For men and women alike, the success rate (successful applications as a proportion of all applications) should reflect application pressure, and the same amount of funds should be awarded in comparable situations.
    Before the review panels decide on their recommendations, they should take note of the success rate for women's and men's applications. Any deviations from the above principle should be reported to the Chief Executive (CE) who, in the documentation for the Board's decision, will report on the applicants' gender ratio both at the application and at the grant decision stage. For example, regarding the size of grants awarded and 'comparable situations', applications from a man and a woman with the same qualifications, career age or scope of research application should be awarded funding of the same size.
  • Forms of support and calls for applications, and also assessment criteria and review procedures, should be designed in such a way that researchers have the same chances of receiving grants irrespective of their gender.
    The fact that design may result in bias with respect to gender equality should be considered before calls are issued. Where a call, for example, contains rules about a maximum number of years that may have passed since applicants obtained their PhDs deductions must always be made for time spent on parental leave, sick leave and the like.

Monitoring and possible measures

Implementing active measures pursuant to Sweden's Discrimination Act, in the form of analysis and monitoring of activities in terms of gender equality, is fundamentally important. In conjunction with grant decisions, the gender distribution of both applicants and grantees should be reported.

In addition, once a year, there must be reporting of the proportions of men and women who, in the capacity of project leaders (applicants) or project participants (funded by means of the grants awarded), apply for and receive RJ's regular research support, i.e. for infrastructural projects, programmes and projects. The approval rates must be calculated in such a way as to reveal whether there is any gender bias in the review process. Analysis of career age (the number of years that have passed since a person gained a PhD) should cover all project participants who receive funding. This annual monitoring must include the external experts as well. The main results are to be given in the Annual Report and posted on RJ's website. Comments must be made on any deviations from the aims defined above.

Where necessary, the CE should present recommendations for action to the Board. The action proposed should be shaped in response to the specific results of the analysis and may, for example, involve measures to boost the number of applications from applicants of the underrepresented gender.

Responsibility for verifying compliance with gender-equality guidelines

RJ's Board is ultimately responsible for making sure that gender equality is promoted within RJ's sphere of activities, and for the nature of these guidelines. The CE is in charge of ensuring that work for gender equality is conducted in accordance with these guidelines, and that the members of decision-making and reviewing bodies, and also RJ's employees, are familiar with them.