The conference “THE ROLE OF WOMEN IN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF EUROPE” was held on the 25th of March 2015 at Cardinal Stephan Wyszynski University in Warsaw. It was organized by the Team for Best Practice. Scientists and representatives from numerous organizations were invited to discuss and share information about women’s work, career development and how these factors contributes to the process of sustainable development. This conference aimed to prove that there is need of discussion about the perspectives and opportunities in the area of research and development to performance on gender equality, and to find ways of ensuring a work-life balance by developing and implementing family-friendly policies, and strengthen the dialogue between research institutions, universities and social partners.
The subject of this conference had been limited to the context of sustainable development policy, inviting researchers from different disciplines. The main effect of the conference was to stimulate discussions on the role of scientific women in contributing to viable solutions for human wellbeing, social inclusion and environmental sustainability. Inspired by The Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Development gave an example why women choose scientific careers and how it contributes to sustainable development.
I replaced Indre Vareikyte to present her EESC opinion on the subject in the context of a debate on women in sustainable development.
I described my role in the EESC and how it leads me to recognise the discrimination faced by women in society – shared the EESC opinions on Female Entrepreneurship and Women on Boards and contribution, business case, economic and social case in context of sustainable development.
I introduced the recommendations of the EESC opinion of women on science by sharing case studies of my experience at the L’Oreal UNESCO Women in Science awards in Paris :
- Laureate for Africa and the Arab States, Prof. Rajaâ Cherkaoui El Moursli. High Energy Physics and Nuclear Physics. Professor, Mohammed V- Agdal University, Rabat, MOROCCO, was honoured for her key contribution to the international effort that led to the detection of the Higgs Boson, the particle responsible for the creation of mass in the universe.
- Laureate for Asia-Pacific, Prof. Yi Xie. Inorganic Chemistry. Professor, University of Science & Technology of China, Hefei, CHINA, was honoured for her significant contributions to creating new materials a few atoms thick with promising applications in conversion of heat or sunlight into electricity.
- Laureate for Europe, Prof. Dame Carol Robinson. Physical Chemistry, Mass Spectrometry. Professor, University of Oxford, UNITED KINGDOM, was honoured for creating a revolutionary method for studying how proteins function, particularly membrane proteins, which play a vital role in many life processes.
I further highlighted that to drive change the following recommendations should be considered.
- The future of the European Union depends on research and innovation and Europe needs 1 million more researchers by 2020 to stay competitive in the world. Research could also create 3.7 million jobs and increase annual EU GDP by EUR 795 billion by 2025 if the target of investing 3% of EU GDP in R&D by 2020 is achieved .
- Promoting gender equality and equal opportunities for women and men is a commitment of the EU in all its policy areas, including research and innovation (R&I). Data available at European level show a striking imbalance between women and men in the European research sector .
- Gender balance is crucial for a well-functioning research system. To achieve their policy objectives for research, the Member States and the EU as a whole must use all the human capital at their disposal.
- Common guidelines on institutional change to promote gender equality in universities and research institutions,
- Remove legal and other barriers to the recruitment, retention and career progression of female researchers; address gender imbalances in decision-making processes and strengthen the gender dimension in research programmes.
- Developing and implementing awareness programmes aimed at attracting more girls into STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and more women into research.
- Collecting and disseminating sex-disaggregated data related to research and innovation within the Eurostat framework.
- Member States, together with public/national research institutions and the social partners, should explore ways of ensuring a work-life balance by developing and implementing family-friendly policies for both female and male researchers.
- Members States should support and strengthen the dialogue between research institutions, businesses and related social partners.
- Institutions and universities to ensure gender balance in their decision-making, selection and other relevant departments.
- More dialogue with publishers and editors of scientific publications in order to remove gender bias from and increase female scientists' contributions to scientific publications, editorials, reviews and survey articles.
Finally I highlighted the inequalities which Europe turns a blind eye to especially : domestic violence, gender pay gap, stereotyping of women in media and the lack of the collection of gender disaggregated data.
Following speakers highlighted Women on Boards, the business case studies for Poland; Women in the media ; Domestic violence and the notion of “gender” in society.
Other speakers included:
Professor Claudine Hermann, European Platform of Women Scientists
Europe and women scientists –The Commission and EPWS points of view
Professor Lady Margaret Scotford Archer, University of Warwick
Model of women academic career
Professor Renata Siemieńska-Żochowska, University of Warsaw
Men and women different academic career model
Ph.D. Hanna Machińska, The Council of Europe Office in Warsaw
The main challenges for women in XXI century-the Council of Europe perspective
Ph.D. Monika Gabriela Bartoszewicz, Centre for the Thought of John Paul II
Making a better world: the feminine touch
Ph.D. Aneta Gawkowska, University of Warsaw
Personalist Sustainable Development According to New Feminists
prof. Beata Szluz, University of Rzeszów
"Being a woman" - The Image of the Modern Woman
Ph.D. Magda Urbańska, University of Rzeszów
Legal and institutional instruments which enable combining professional and family
roles applied in Poland
Mariusz Marcinkowski, Covenant of Warriors
A men’s role in building women’s career
Ph.D. Klaudia Śledzińska
Activisation model of women in science
Thank you for the opportunity to present the EESC work on Women Entrepreneurship and Gender Equality in Europe.
Please do not hesitate to contact me for any further information firstname.lastname@example.org.