The need for gender research
Gender research focuses on a number of areas of great importance for politics, social policy, economics, technological development and innovation in Europe. Research on gender related violence, possibilities of combining work and family life, gender biased business administrations, women’s participation in the IT industry and development of medicines are only a few examples.
Gender research therefore generates new knowledge to meet societal needs and catalyses the delivery of a European policy objective (criteria 1: Contribution to EU policy objectives).
In the European countries, gender research has developed into a multidisciplinary field of great scientific excellence since the 1970’s. At the European level, the most important networks are AOIFE (Association of Institutions for Feminist Education and Research in Europe), with more than 80 members in 26 European countries, and the EU supported ATHENA (Advanced Thematic Network on Higher Education in Women’s Studies).
Hence, the potential for excellent research at the European level is strong (criteria 2: European research potential).In the EU funded R&D programmes, efforts have been placed on increasing the number of women participators.
The Women and Science unit within DG Research has carried out important work in trying to achieve gender equality in EU funded research. One of the outcomes has also been the need for research on gender equality problems to grow, so as to improve the knowledge base. Gender equality problems are found nationally, at the European level, and globally. Therefore, there is a need for gender research funding at all levels (criteria 3: European Added value).
The Swedish Secretariat for Gender Research would like to emphasize the importance that gender research becomes a thematic priority in FP7. This will crucially improve the possibilities of launching transnational and comparative investigations of gender systems and gender identities in different European countries.We welcome the establishment of a European Research Council for basic research.
However, when the council is established, it will be important to take into account the views on evaluation and excellence put forward in the report “Gender and Excellence in the Making” (EUR 21222).
Yours sincerely, Anne-Marie Morhed Director, PhD in Sociology
Swedish Secretariat for Gender Research