Equality between women and men is not only a fundamental value of the European Union (EU) but would have a strong, positive GDP impacts growing over time as well as ensure higher level of employment and productivity. To reach EU gender equality objectives effective mechanisms, policies and actions challenging structural discrimination and stereotypes present in our societies must be put in place.
The ATHENA project, funded under the Horizon 2020 programme, aims at removing barriers to the recruitment, retention and career progression of female researchers; addressing gender imbalances in decision making processes and generating a cultural change to avoid future gender bias and discriminatory practices in 8 research organizations in Europe. The consortium, coordinated by Consulta Europa Projects and Innovation, counts with the participation of 6 Research Performing Organizations from Slovenia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Bulgaria and 2 Research funding organization from Canary Islands, in Spain, and Azores in Portugal. The project will support those organizations in developing and implementing Gender Equality Plans to enable a cultural and institutional change and achieve a gender equal participation of researchers, professors and administrative staff.
To achieve this, ATHENA will first conduct an assessment of procedures and practices already in place in partnering organizations, together with an analysis of the national legislation and policy frameworks. In parallel, it will put in place a participatory process aimed, on one side, to understand the needs and preferences of the students and staff and, on the other side, to train them and build their capacities to address gender inequalities and apply principles of diversity and inclusion.
The methodology and practices developed by the project will be made available to other research performing and funding organizations across Europe to contribute to a more gender equal and inclusive European Research Area and unlock research excellence across the whole European territory.
ATHENA has started on February 1st this year and will last for 48 months. Representatives from the project partners convened to the online kick-off meeting held on 3rd and 4th February and planned further in detail project activities responsibilities distribution. The kick-off meeting has counted with the participation of the European Commission services (DG for Research and Innovation) and the Research Executive Agency, as well of representatives of the SPEAR and CHANGE H2020 sister projects.