New European charter to promote gender equality in the university sector

Posted on: 22 August 2018

A new European charter to promote gender equality in the university sector was launched in Trinity College Dublin today, Wednesday, August 22.

The new charter, which seeks to build a stronger commitment to gender equality in higher education and research institutions, was developed by a consortium of seven European universities led by the Trinity Centre for Gender Equality and Leadership.

The charter forms part of an EU Horizon 2020 initiative entitled the SAGE (Systemic Action for Gender Equality) project. It was launched at a major European conference on Gender Equality in Higher Education, which is taking place in Trinity this week.

The SAGE charter sets out a series of 12 principles that support structural, cultural and political change to eradicate sexism, bias and other forms of discrimination in research and higher education, and advance an intersectional and inclusive concept of gender.

The seven participating institutions in the SAGE project are Trinity College Dublin; Queen’s University Belfast; Università degli Studi di Brescia, Italy; Kadir Has University, Turkey; Instituto Universitário de Lisboa, Portugal; Sciences Po Bordeaux, France; International University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Professor Eileen Drew, Director, Trinity Centre for Gender Equality and Leadership, commented: “The Gender Equality in Higher Education conference provides a perfect opportunity to launch a much-needed Charter to encapsulate the challenges, and responses to them, in driving gender equality across European universities and research bodies. The Charter underpins the key principles that will pave the way for the gender agenda.”

“Starting with the SAGE partners, we are seeking the endorsement of Trinity College Dublin, followed by the International University of Sarajevo and other partner institutions. This campaign will culminate in 2019 with SAGE Ribbon Day that we hope will be celebrated across European Universities.”

Principles included in the charter include a commitment to improve gender balance at all levels of academic careers; to eliminate the gender pay gap; to mainstream gender equality awareness and best practice in the daily operations of the institutions; to promote family-friendly policies and work-life balance and to eradicate bullying, sexual and moral harassment.

It is hoped that the charter as well as workable self-assessment Gender Equality Plans (GEPs), which have been developed by the seven participating universities, will be adopted and replicated across EU higher education and research institutions to help advance a culture of gender-balance in third level and research institutions.

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