gender action plan

History

Ghent University has undertaken actions aimed at gender equality since 1980. However since 2014 those actions were implemented in an integrated Gender Policy, including through Ghent University’s Gender Action Plan [1].

Statistics

Gender statistics at our university being made since 2004, have shown a strong gender discrepancy horizontally as well as vertically. The first imbalance turned up disciplinary, in which disciplines within the so-called hard sciences (engineering and architecture) indicated a predominance of male students in contrast with the so-called soft sciences disciplines (Psychology and Pedagogy) who are attesting an overweight of female students. However the overall intake of female students at our university reaches 58%[2]. Although actions to equate gender segregation and further studies to map the various intake streams with intersectional statistics will be needed, the Ghent Universities Gender Plan decided to set the dominant focus of actions upon the vertical gender discrepancy. This second focus or vertically gender discrepancy within university Ghent has been localized trough staff policy. Even in the so-called soft study disciplines demonstrating an overweight at female students, the lecturers remained mainly male (4 out of 5). Therefor the focus of the gender mainstreaming has meanly been on staff management.

Gender neutral recruitment and selection procedures

Instruments were created for gender neutral recruitment and selection procedures. Post-doctoral fellows could join into a mentoring program and enjoy individual career guidance. Furthermore, UGent implemented a new career policy for full professorship taking gender factors into consideration.

Gender balanced representations in Councils and Commissions

Due to the severe underrepresentation of women in executive committees and boards with decisive authority, from the 1st October 2014 a new decree has come into force. This decree prescribes the constitution of all councils, guaranteeing at least 1/3rd of members being women.

Combining work with family commitments

Besides this implementation the diversity and gender policy cell of the UGent proposed actions for a more equilibrated balance between work and private life for both women and men. As such, there is a pending inquiry to replace pregnant lecturers structurally and centrally.

Gender and Diversity Studies

Finally, in 2013 Ghent University (as the first University in Flanders) appointed a professor for gender studies and at the start of the academic year 2014-2015 an Inter University Master of Arts Program in Gender and Diversity was launched. Ghent University is marked by an active gender policy, further developing and  improving gender mainstreaming through evaluation and exchanging good practices with other partner universities. 


[1] According to the VLIR-agreement (the interuniversity charter of a of 19th juin 2013) Ghent University has been through a first implementation phase by means of a Gender Policy Plan.

[2] Situation on december 2014