Implementation

Project Activities

Identification, description and results of implemented / ongoing activities

Activiti 1 - Kickoff meeting

Description: This activity aimed to launch the project, bringing together the partners and representatives of the entities involved.


Results of activities carried out: The meeting that took place in July 2019 allowed to establish contacts between national partners, the UK scientific consultant and the donor country partner (RIKK) in order to plan the activities foreseen in the project.

Activity 2 - Secondary analysis of data on Gender Equality in Higher Education

Description: This activity foresees the analysis of the database of the Agency for Evaluation and Accreditation of Higher Education (A3ES) and comparative analysis of national statistics on Higher Education, EHS figures and international statistics on higher education, namely the databases provided by the Directorate-General for Statistics of Education and Science (DGEEC), the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), Eurostat and the publication She Figures.

Results of activities undertaken / ongoing: National and international statistics were analysed and several Outputs with preliminary results were prepared [Milestones 1a and 4]. The development of secondary analysis, in particular, was discussed in meetings with national and international partners, having deepened the characterization, by gender, of the universe of teachers and researchers and the identification of patterns of horizontal and vertical segregation in teaching and research, based on data from Portugal and other European countries. The data collected has been continuously updated by monitoring the dissemination of information by official institutions, with particular emphasis on the DGEEC. Regarding the main trends and results found so far, in Portugal:

  • Women's PhDs outnumber men's and there are many women in non-traditional fields (e.g. STEMS). The two fields with the highest percentages of women are Education and Health and Welfare, in contrast to Communication and Information Technology and Engineering, Manufacturing and Construction. Portuguese data are above the EU-28 averages (Source: She Figures, 2019);

  • Portugal has the smallest gender gap in publication output relative to comparators (Elsevier, 2021) and is one of the countries with a higher proportion of women in research (51.2%, Source: She Figures, 2019), but working in precarious conditions (11.4%, Source: She Figures, 2019);

  • In Europe, there is an increasing reliance on short-term project-based funding, which has contributed to imbalances between the number of PhD holders and the number of tenure-track positions in public science systems (European Commission, 2020). Portugal is one of the countries with the lowest per capita expenditure on research. Nevertheless, female human resources have increased in all areas of R&D (Eurostat, 2019);

  • In Portugal, women represent less than 30% of the boards of institutions in the higher education sector (Eurostat, 2019). In the EU, the proportion of women in the A position tends to be lower compared to men. Portugal has the academic hierarchy with the lowest percentage of women and men in the highest position of professional advancement;

  • In the last 20 years (DGEEC, 2020/2021), the employment of women in the teaching staff has increased, especially in public universities. The number of teaching staff in the private sector has decreased mainly among men. Asymmetric patterns are observed as: Women represent 1/4 of the highest position in the teaching career, however, they are underrepresented in decision-making positions in academia. Moreover, polytechnics have higher percentages of women in the faculty and the higher ranks of the academic career;

  • Women remain disadvantaged and under-represented in Programme Coordination Teams (both as Chairs and as a whole) (A3Es, 2019);

  • In 2019 (IPCTN) women represent half of the workforce allocated to R&D. The number of female human resources has increased in all R&D areas. Women are not the majority of R&D human resources in the Higher Education sector only in two scientific areas (Natural Sciences and Engineering and Technology);

  • In 2018 (FCT), women tend to be under-represented in the coordination of research units. Research units coordinated by women tend to have higher proportions of female researchers.

Activity 3 - Interviews with key informants in management positions in HEIs throughout the country

Description: Conducting interviews with key informants to collect their perspectives on how to promote gender equality in their institutions. [Milestone 1b]

Results of activities undertaken / ongoing: A total of 19 individual interviews were conducted with a sample of academic leaders and women with management positions in HEIs, aiming to understand the diverse perspectives on gender equality in Higher Education and the willingness to promote measures in this area. All interviewees were previously given the Information Sheet, in line with the pedagogical objectives guiding this action-research project, and gave their informed consent for the interview, which was recorded, carried out online and was summarised.

All interviews were transcribed, processed and subjected to a preliminary analysis that resulted in the identification of patterns and in the systematisation of a typology of leadership positions regarding the promotion of gender equality in HEIs. Two more interviews with key persons are planned, together with the interviews carried out in the HEIs of the case studies (with an expected total of 16 participants in leadership positions in these entities), whose data will enable the ongoing qualitative analysis to be strengthened and other themes and trends already identified to be explored in greater depth, namely in terms of academic paths and the obstacles and facilitating factors of careers from a gender perspective. Based on the ongoing qualitative analysis, this collection resulted in scientific outputs, concerning:

  • Construction of a typology of leadership positions in the promotion of Gender Equality (28 interviews):

  1. This typology allows us to capture and discuss different perceptions and readiness to promote and implement equality measures and plans;

  2. Positions of resistance, support or ambivalence towards the promotion of gender equality in higher education were identified and differences in terms of the disciplinary areas of training of the leaders as well as the "gender cultures" of their organisations were taken into consideration.

  • Analysis of successful Academic Women's journeys (11 interviews):

  1. In line with previous research and the literature review, the careers of successful women in the academic context were marked by numerous obstacles in achieving leadership positions and success. In this analysis the different scientific areas to which these women belong and the structure of opportunities created by the profound transformation of the Portuguese and European university landscape that has taken place over the last few decades were considered.

We found that the perception of the existence of a gender bias favourable to men increased throughout their careers and specifically when they began to occupy positions of power previously dominated by men. In contrast to male academic leaders, women showed a greater need to justify their career choices by considering work-life balance.

Activity 4 – I Webinar GE-HEI (First Interim Meeting)

Description: The I Webinar of the GE-HEI Project was held, with the intention of presenting and debating the preliminary results found. [Milestone 1c] The event took place on the 16th, 17th and 19th of November 2020 and was disseminated through the official website of the project, the ISCSP website, and the CIEG website, Facebook page and Newsletter, and on the Social Networks of the Directorate General of Higher Education. All sessions were recorded and the slides (in pdf format) are available on this website.

Results of activities performed / ongoing: Two team papers were presented at the 1st GE-HEI Webinar.

The first one, dedicated to the discussion of quantitative data, was entitled "A brief portrait of the faculty and management bodies of Portuguese HEIs from a gender perspective" .

The second, dedicated to the discussion of qualitative data, entitled "Perceptions on the promotion of GE in HEIs".

The preliminary results revealed the persistence of gender inequalities in Higher Education Institutions, this disadvantage being more evident at the top of the teaching career and in the top management positions of HEIs. Different availability of academic leaderships for the promotion of Gender Equality measures in HEIs was also identified. This event also contributed to the creation of a network of knowledge and discussion about what has been done and how Gender Equality can be promoted at institutional and systemic level.

Activity 5 - Case Study in four HEIs

Description: Conducting four Case Study in HEIs to understand how gender equality issues are situated in organisational and cultural practices and beliefs, how gender equality issues are perceived and to help promote change through knowledge and reflexivity [Milestone 3].


Results of activities carried out / ongoing: The planning of the Case Study related activities started in October 2019 and we were scheduled to start the fieldwork in March 2020, precisely at the moment when the Covid-19 Pandemic and the first major confinement in Portugal was announced. In response to this situation, it was necessary to readjust and adapt the entry into the HEIs and opt for a non-face-to-face contact format. These new conditions in the field had implications at various levels, generating a much longer time lag than planned.

Four HEIs were selected to carry out the Case Study, and a Focal Point was appointed in each institution to plan the activities and request specific data. The databases provided by the four HEIs were analysed, and Information Sessions were prepared and held to start the studies. The data collection phase took place remotely in all selected HEIs, with a total of 34 individual interviews with top and middle management and 12 focus groups with teaching, student and non-teaching staff. The Case Study at HEI 1 took place at a Public University, School of Management and Economics, and was concluded in April 2022.

The Case Study at HEI 2 took place at a Public Polytechnic, School of Engineering and Technology, and was concluded in May 2022. The Case Study at HEI 3 took place at a Public Univ., School of Engineering and was concluded in October 2022. The Case Study at HEI 4, took place at a Public Univ., School of Social Sciences, Education and Humanities, and is scheduled for completion in February 2023.

In the first three HEIs return workshops were held, to discuss the main trends found and the data collected on gender equality in the respective institution and the readiness for the development of measures. Following those three reflection moments, all institutions expressed their willingness to continue the work done through future collaborations with the CIEG research team. The preparation of the workshop for the fourth and last case study is currently underway, as well as the comparative analysis between the four studies and the triangulation of all information collected through other sources.

The results found will be presented through scientific outputs and at the International Conference of the project.

Activity 6 – II Webinar GE-HEI (Second Interim Meeting)


Description: The II Webinar of the GE-HEI Project was held, to present and discuss the preliminary results found [Milestone 2]. The event took place on the 2nd and 4th of February 2022 and was disseminated through the official project website, ISCSP website, CIEG website, Facebook page and Newsletter. All sessions were recorded and are available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QH5Vu7R54c (February 2) and at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2rETxFo1zg (February 4).


Results of activities carried out/in progress: Two papers were presented at the II Webinar of the GE-HEI.

The first, dedicated to the discussion of quantitative data, entitled "(Un)Gender Equality in Higher Education Institutions in Portugal and Europe, main trends".

And the second is dedicated to the discussion of qualitative data, entitled "Perspectives of key actors: Preliminary results of interviews with Leaders of Higher Education Institutions, Academic Women and case studies".

This event constituted another moment of communication and debate of the results found in the project, as well as of sharing experiences in a network made up of experts in this area of knowledge. The panel of commentators generously put forward proposals for developing the data presented in the first session (dedicated to quantitative data) and in the second session (dedicated to qualitative data). Both sessions were well attended and, as they were held online, reached not only national audiences but also international ones. It was also a moment of recognition of the need for investment in policies and more knowledge in the area of Gender Equality in Higher Education, to which this project makes a fundamental contribution.

This II Webinar, was attended by an average of 55 to 60 participants in both sessions.

Activity 7 - Development of gender equality criteria and others


Description: This activity aims to collect, systematize and develop a set of recommendations and guidelines for the inclusion of criteria and a gender equality perspective in Higher Education [Milestone 5]. Namely, the development of recommendations on the establishment of gender equality criteria for the evaluation and accreditation of higher education institutions and study programmes.

Results of activities performed/in progress: As a result of the activities conducted under the GE-HEI Project and the relevant fact that A3Es is a partner entity in this project, we can access relevant data, considering the process of accreditation and evaluation of the HEI and the Study Programmes Coordination Committees of the Portuguese HEI, with the gender dimension now being accounted for. The data analysed allowed us to verify gender imbalances in the External Evaluation Teams (both in the directorates and in the teams as a whole) of A3Es and the Coordination Teams of Study Programmes (both in the directorates and in the teams as a whole) of Portuguese HEIs. These conclusions led A3Es, as a partner in this project, to introduce relevant changes. Namely, A3Es started to include gender criteria in the choice of the External Evaluation Teams (as a whole and for Chairs) and to consider gender equality as a criterion to evaluate the quality of institutions, also introducing gender equality as a relevant domain in its Strategic Programme (for 2021-2024). In addition, the research of practices and lessons learned in the international context is also underway to prepare guidelines and recommendations for HEIs, along with the project's Information Sheet (which was disseminated in various institutional communication channels and among key actors in Higher Education).

Activity 8 - GE-HEI Final Conference

Description: International Conference of the GE-HEI project, to present and discuss the results found in the development of the activities planned and carried out.

Results of activities performed/in progress: Foreseen to take place on 13 February 2023, being in progress the preparation and organization of the event, namely the elaboration of the programme, invitations and outputs to present.

Activity 9 - Bilateral Meeting

Description: The Bilateral Meeting: GE-HEI - Gender Equality in Higher Education Institutions was a meeting between the national partners, the donor states partners and the project consultant in Iceland.

Outcomes of activities undertaken /in progress: The team presented three papers and participated in two discussions at this event.

On the first day, were debated "Major Themes in Gender and Higher Education Research" - The team participated with the paper The Changing Contexts of Gender Distribution in Portuguese HEI - Main findings and in the roundtable Comparing the Gendering of HE Institutions in Iceland and Portugal; and "From Policy to Practice" - The team participated with the paper Lessons learned and reflections about policy formulation and implementation in Portugal.

On the second day, under the theme "Mitigating Resistances to Gender Equality in HE", the team participated with the communication "Resistance to GE promotion: arguments and counterarguments" and in the discussion "Developing a Theory of Resistance to GE in Portuguese HE".

This event allowed us to deepen how measures and strategies to promote equality in HEI in Portugal and other countries have been promoted; to collect lessons learned to make the diagnosis of the main challenges and needs of the Portuguese Higher Education System; and to increase knowledge and allow comparison with practices from other countries, particularly from national partners, the partner from the Donor States and the Project Consultant.