January 30, 2020

Gender Equality in Academia and Research? Getting there!

Gender Equality is identified as a continued problem in the EU, with women suffering a great deal of disparity in access to leadership positions as compared to their male counterparts, also in the academic world. SPEAR (Supporting and Implementing Plans for Gender Equality in Academia and Research) is a structured response to this situation.  

Funded by Horizon2020 (SwafS), SPEAR is a four year project running from January 1st 2019, with a total budget of € 3 mio. The consortium consists of 11 partners: two non-university partners and nine European universities, among which are two YERUN members: University of Southern Denmark, SDU (project coordinator) and NOVA University Lisbon. The aim of the project is to develop and implement institutional changes at university level to attain gender equality in Research and Innovation and to improve women’s academic career prospects and leadership representation. 

Vice-rector Elvira Fortunato, responsible for the SPEAR project at NOVA


“As a University that is oriented towards addressing the most pressing issues facing our society it is imperative that we consider the matter of gender equality. In the context of SPEAR we are working with our project partners to assess and identify gender inequalities and find innovative ways to remove the barriers that women face in academia, in order to create an Equal Opportunities office according to the Strategic Plan of NOVA University Lisbon. Moreover, as a woman professor and scientist, I am particularly committed to strengthen the gender dimension in research content.”



The main objectives of the project are:

  • To implement Gender Equality Plans according to the EU’s framework; that is systematic and structured approaches to institutional change to advance gender equality.  This includes:
    • Engaging stakeholders, develop measures to overcome bias and barriers in recruitment and advancement procedures and practices
    • establishing gender disaggregated datasets in order to be able to continuously and systematically monitor developments and gaps
    • carryingout impact assessments/audits of procedures and practices to identify and overcome gender inequalities;
    • identifying and implementing innovative strategies to correct discrimination;
  • To sustain and support wider communiities and networks for gender equality in European universities. 

A central approach in SPEAR is to tailor interventions to existing needs and contexts. 

More information here.

Contact person at SDU: Eva Sophia Myers, leader of SDU’s Gender Equality Team, executive 

Contact person at NOVA: Prof. Elvira Fortunato, Vice-Rector

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