Anna Torres Garrote
The University launches its Equality Plan 2020-2025 to coincide with International Women's Day
In the words of UOC president Josep A. Planell, "The UOC's commitment to gender equality has gone from being an institutional goal to an objective shared by hundreds of people in our university community." As a result, a new roadmap has been developed to address the challenges posed by gender inequalities over the course of the next five years. The UOC is set to launch its Equality Plan 2020-2025 on 5 March to mark International Women's Day and, as Planell said, to highlight "the University's consolidated commitment to the fight against gender inequalities".
This fourth plan implemented by the University to reduce gender inequality is based on the following eight guiding principles:
- Gender mainstreaming: to integrate a gender perspective within all areas and processes of the University, focusing on the ways gender creates realities of inequality, designing actions that adapt to that perspective and stamping out discrimination.
- Knowledge transformation: to generate and deliver non-androcentric knowledge that promotes equality and does not generate inequalities. This includes the creation of content for courses, degrees, research projects and classroom activities.
- Non-discrimination: to identify, prevent and redress any possible discrimination based on sex, gender identity or sexual orientation in any area of the University.
- Equity: to provide equal opportunities for all and implement measures to ensure the effectiveness of that equality, ie, to make sure it is sustainable and transformative.
- Care perspective: to integrate the care perspective within the University, ie, to value and highlight the necessary activities related to family, which are traditionally ignored and excluded by the labour market and assigned solely to women.
- Recognition of diversity: to understand difference as a rich resource and encourage the use of narratives and language that question the complex nature of society and by which everyone feels represented.
- Feminism: to support equality in terms of rights and freedoms for all, regardless of gender.
- Continuous improvement: to collect data that will enable us to assess the Plan's progression and identify where we need to improve to continue to work towards achieving gender equality in all areas.
Examples of specific projects and actions
The University has developed some fifty actions on the basis of these key principles, including:
- A project to incorporate the gender perspective within all educational programmes, the aim of which is to intercede in the design process for course learning resources and content.
- A project to promote gender equality in entrepreneurship promotion programmes. This involves driving initiatives such as the organization of online workshops through the Hubbik virtual incubator platform in order to raise awareness about gender equality among entrepreneurs.
- A plan for specific gender perspective training for all University staff tailored to the relevant requirements of the different areas of work.
- A project to promote the prominence of female scientists as active agents of change in traditionally male-dominated fields. The UOC supports the Technovation Challenge; Code for Girls, an international technology entrepreneurship competition in which girls participate alongside volunteer women mentors from the UOC to create mobile applications to solve specific social problems in their local communities.
- Technology-related social mentoring and volunteering projects aimed at helping girls and adolescents develop skills in traditionally male-dominated fields. A new inclusive project called Code Club has been set up, which aims to provide access to computer skills to small groups of girls and boys from socially disadvantaged or low-income backgrounds by means of Scratch courses taught in local libraries in areas with schools serving disadvantaged students.
Gender equality, a key aspect of the 2030 Agenda
For the UOC's Vice President for Globalization and Cooperation, Pastora Martínez Samper, "Gender equality represents a key objective in the 2030 Agenda, not only because of its inclusion as a specific Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) in itself, SDG 5, but also due to the fact that all the SDGs set out some form of gender dimension that needs to be addressed." Moreover, in a context in which the 2030 Agenda stands as the universally agreed action framework for Spanish universities, she stressed that, "a commitment to gender equality has become an essential objective for our university".
In the vice president's view, one of the key aspects of this new plan is that it has been developed in a participatory way in conjunction with a variety of groups within the University, something she attributes to a "strategy that treats gender equality as both a collective responsibility and an individual commitment". Exactly one year ago today, around 200 people from the UOC community attended the #GenderUOC conference to collectively consider and reflect on the issue of gender equality at the University.
The mission of the Equality Unit
Established in 2006, the UOC's Equality Unit was set up to combat the gender inequalities identified in various analyses, the most recent of which, conducted in 2018, highlighted a number of key action areas, such as: vertical gender segregation among management staff, gender segregation among students, lack of training on gender perspective among all staff members, limited incorporation of the gender perspective within teaching programmes and a lack of awareness of usage criteria in relation to non-sexist language.
For Equality Unit coordinator, Maria Olivella, "The new plan emphasizes these issues as well as many others, making it an ambitious plan that seeks to position gender equality as a common value that is shared by everyone in the university community."
Pastora Martínez Samper
Vice President for Globalization and Cooperation
Expert in: Management and assessment of research, responsible research and innovation, and open science.
Knowledge area: Political science.