Highlights of the LifeSciCoP under the umbrella of ACT

During the last about two years, the CoP had monthly telcos with nearly always a complete participation. This shows how much the peer group is valued by its members. The CoP also extended to its wider community (staff of the member organisations) by offering a wellbeing webinar series, aiming at helping the staff to cope better with the pandemic, or by running a survey amongst the members of the institutional Equality, Diversity and Inclusion committees.

All 12 member institutions have their own Gender equality strategies which were implemented independently from the CoP. The benefit of the CoP lies in the knowledge gain, experience exchange amongst its members, as well as synergies for organising joint activities. Here we want to share a view highlights:

1. Co-ownership of CoP governance

After identifying a clear vision and objectives, the CoP consolidated by creating four working groups (WGs) for a are more focused approach.
• Active and diverse institutional committees
• Institutional commitment
• Policy Implementation and follow-up
• Gender aspects in research evaluation
The WG structure allows the CoP members to co-own the governance of the CoP and drive its activities with only minor support of the CoP facilitator.

2. Created expertise in dealing with resistance to gender equality

The CoP organised a workshop (together with Gender Academy, https://ge-academy.eu/) for its members on the focus topic resistance. Participants of the meeting learned:
• To explore and reflect on the different forms and categories of resistances
• To be more confident with experiencing resistances
• About analytical tools required to deal with resistances
• To develop practical tools and strategies to address resistances in their own institution

3. Engaged with the community

With the ongoing pandemic, CoP members were especially worried about gender equality. In the press it was intensively discussed that the pandemic has increased the inequalities between genders, reinforcing traditional divisions of roles. The consequence of this was that women took on more caring and household responsibilities which reduced their productivity in their job.
The LifeSciCoP organised an online webinar series about wellbeing and how to cope with the pandemic in home office. The webinars were open to all staff of the CoP member organisations. About 300 attendees connected, and exchanged about their current challenges.

4. Created expertise for Human Resource staff

The final online workshop in the LifeSciCoP supported by ACT was targeted to Human Resource personal and Gender equality officer. The topic was the new Human Resource paradigm for “the new normality”. The CoP members shared the concern, that the process of getting people back into the office might be a similar sensitive topic as managing the pandemic itself and that it should be managed with care, to not allow to increase of the gap between genders even more.
We invite Desiree Dickerson to reflect with us together our experiences during the pandemic, our expectations for the future, including the diversity and inclusions perspectives. From each CoP member we invited one additional participant from HR, in total we had 21 participants from 13 institutions around Europe who joined us at our Return to Work Workshop on 7 October. The mayor question around remote work challenges as HR and what are the needs and wants of our people was discussed intensively in smaller break-out sessions.

5. Assessed Gender Equality at the member institutions

One mayor achievement is, that the members discussed the GEAM survey and hold it at hand as one tool to assess the status of gender equality in their institutions. The launch and running of the survey was done in collaboration of some of the members who did not have such a tool in place yet. And it was translated into Portuguese by ITQB our Portuguese member.