As part of the WE4LEAD Women's Empowerment For LEADership and Equity in Higher Education Institutions project, a CBHE ERASMUS+ project co-funded by the European Union, Isabelle Régner, Vice-President for Gender Equality and Anti-Discrimination at Aix-Marseille University and WE4LEAD project coordinator in collaboration with the University of Sousse, co-sponsor of the Work package Formations, trained some 30 future trainers from partner universities in implicit gender biases.
What are implicit gender biases and how do they affect our behavior and performance? How do they influence recruitment and promotion decisions?
Answers to these questions, as well as familiarization with a robust protocol for sensitizing juries to implicit bias derived from social cognition research and its implementation at partner universities, were at the heart of this interactive training course.
All participants were able to become aware of the gender biases embedded in their individual memories by taking the Implicit Association Test.
The training of trainers, who will in turn work in their universities, represents a concrete tool developed within the WE4LEAD project to increase the number of women in top decision-making positions in higher education establishments.
Implicit gender biases are powerful automatisms acquired over time, which are present in most individuals, women and men alike, and which can influence even the most rigorous juries.
The WE4LEAD project launch conference at collaborators' universities was held on December 14 at Aix-Marseille Université, Université Libanaise, Université Antonine, Université de Constantine 3, Université Autonoma de Madrid, Université de Sousse and Université de Tunis El Manar, and on December 15 at Sapienza University in Rome. The event was a great success.
A morning rich in exchanges and inspiring perspectives was held at the Aix-Marseille Université headquarters in Marseille on December 14, at the WE4LEAD project launch conference. The event focused on the promotion of gender equality in higher education, the concrete actions proposed within the framework of the WE4LEAD project, and the reaffirmation of the commitment of our university's governance to pursue the efforts already made.
By 9 a.m., the energy and attention of the audience of over 60 representatives of the governance of components, departments and laboratories, as well as the majority of vice-presidents on duty, was palpable as they listened to the opening words delivered by Éric Berton, President of Aix-Marseille Université, Aurélie Biancarelli-Lopes, Deputy Mayor of Marseille in charge of higher education, student life and research, Jean-François Marchi, Vice-President for International Relations, and Isabelle Régner, Vice-President for Gender Equality and the Fight against Discrimination, and coordinator of the WE4LEAD project. Their enthusiastic and concrete support for this crucial project set the tone not only for the day ahead, but also for the work to be done by all partners with the aim of increasing the number of women in the highest decision-making positions within our universities.
A highlight of the event was the screening of video speeches by the rectors of the WE4LEAD partner universities, confirming their commitment, determination and support for the project, and giving an overview of the expected spin-offs and the Mediterranean dimension of this collaboration. Another powerful symbol: the WE4LEAD project launch conference was held at the same time at all the partner universities.
At mid-morning, President Éric Berton signed the WE4LEAD Project Charter, confirming Aix-Marseille Université's ever-stronger commitment to gender equality, which also includes the success of this project. Next, Isabelle Régner, Vice-President for Gender Equality and the Fight against Discrimination, and project coordinator, presented the WE4LEAD project, its objectives, concrete actions and tools already in place, and the roadmap for the future. She unveiled the cross-disciplinary team active in the project's working groups within Aix-Marseille University, and the trainers on implicit gender bias. The ambition and unique, innovative role that the WE4LEAD project has to play in transforming the governance of partner universities and beyond were at the heart of her speech.
The morning continued with a stimulating round-table discussion, illustrating the actions carried out at Aix-Marseille Université as part of the WE4LEAD project and gender equality. The topics discussed, such as the Service pour le Respect et l'Égalité (Service for Respect and Equality), making selection committees aware of implicit gender bias, and the parity indicators in the Rapport Social Unique (Single Social Report), captured the interest of all. A rich exchange, punctuated by many questions put to both Isabelle Régner and the participants in the round tables, made it clear that the issue of Gender Equality resonates with the whole of AMU, and that the WE4LEAD project is not only legitimate but also inspiring for all those wishing to make a concrete commitment to this cause. Within AMU, the WE4LEAD project will stimulate regular exchanges with governance, components, laboratories and departments to implement, institutionalize and perpetuate actions in favor of gender equality.
The event came to a close, after a group photo, over a convivial lunch that enabled participants in the event to continue informal discussions on the content of this successful morning and the WE4LEAD project.
The launching of the Erasmus+ project "Women's Empowerment for Leadership and Equity in Higher Education Institutions" (WE4LEAD), co-organized by the Réseau Francophone des Femmes Responsables dans l'Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche (RESUFF) of the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF), the Lebanese University (UL) project co-sponsor and Antonine University (UA), took place on December 14, 2023 at the UL Rectorate.
The event brought together academic leaders including the Minister of Education and Higher Education in Lebanon, the Director General of Higher Education, the Head of the National Erasmus+ Office in Lebanon, the Representative of the National Committee of Lebanese Women, Rectors and Vice-Rectors, teachers, researchers and government officials to promote gender equality in higher education institutions in Lebanon.
. The ceremony featured speeches, video presentations and discussions on project objectives, partnerships and expected outcomes. Speakers emphasized the importance of international collaboration in the capacity-building process to increase women's access to the highest decision-making positions, given that gender inequality deprives HEIs and society of half their intellectual capital and human resources. The speakers also emphasized the project's economic impact, whether through job creation or a recruitment policy that takes into account only the skills of individuals, not their gender.
. In this sense, WE4LEAD, which aims to empower women in HEIs, is also an ambitious project with the aim of disseminating its results beyond the project's partner universities and promoting their adoption by other organizations, thus ensuring their valorization and sustainability beyond the project's duration.
In conclusion, the WE4LEAD project is seen as an essential step towards a more inclusive working environment for women in HEIs in Lebanon.
On December 14, 2023, the WE4LEAD (Women's Empowerment For Leadership in higher education and research) project launch conference was held in Tunis, attended by the 2 project teams from the 2 Tunisian partner universities, Universite de Tunis El Manar and Université de Sousse.
In addition to the 2 presidents of the 2 universities and the project teams, the conference was attended by the Vice President of RESUFF, representatives of the Ministries of Higher Education, Women, Finance, the Center for Research, Studies, Documentation and Information on Women (CREDIF), the Center of Arab Women for Training and Research (CAWTAR), associations of women mathematicians and representatives of student clubs, as well as local television and radio. After the opening speach and presentation of the Project by the National Coordinators, Ms Halima OUANADA and Ms Boutheina Benhassine, the two presidents solemnly signed the Charter of Commitment to support the objectives of the WE4LEAD project and to ensure the sustainability of its results and deliverables. A Workshop to achieve synergy between all participants resulted in a series of recommendations and a draft agreement between the Ministries of Finance, Women, Higher Education and the 2 universities of Tunis El Manar and Sousse.
The WE4LEAD project launch day, held on December 14, 2023 at the University of Constantine 3-Salah Boubnider, was an opportunity, following the opening ceremony by Rector Hamdouche Riad, to provide participants with relevant information on the project and to gather their reactions and comments. During the conclave, which lasted half a day punctuated by a coffee break, participants progressively followed presentations of the project and its context; a stage of discussions and exchanges on the project's modus operandi which led to a good understanding of its expectations.
Four papers were presented. The first was on the importance of the project and its context, presented by NEO Algerie, the second was presented in turn by the Project Coordinators, describing respectively the roles and responsibilities of the University of Constantine3, the third was given by Madame Tir Ilhem; president of the association Equité Academique. The final speakers focused on the difficulties faced by working women.
The launch conference of Sapienza University of Rome was held on Friday, December 15 from 10 am in a beautiful room of the Rectorat (Aula Organi Collegiali).
For governance were present:
- the Vice-Rector who is also the Coordinator of the Gender Equity Plan group, Giuseppe Ciccarone,
- the Pro-rector for the Fourth Mission and Relations with the Student Community, Chair of the Scientific Technical Committee on Diversity and Inclusion, Mr. Fabio Lucidi (who is also a member of the Executive Committee of the WE4LEAD project),
- Anna Maria Giannini who has just been elected President of the Board of Directors of the Sapienza Department, delegate of the Rector for Equal Opportunities, member of the Single Guarantee Committee (kind of Gender Equality Unit) and Director of the Separtement de Psychologie, supported by the WE4LEAD project
- Federica Giandinoto, technical staff representative and member of the Unique Guarantee Committee (Gender Equality Unit).
We also had the pleasure of having the participation:
- by Senator Susanna Camusso ,
- Commissioner of the Communications Regulatory Authority, Elisa Giomi
- and RAI Director for Sustainability – ESG (Environment , Sustainability , Governance) Roberto Natale.
The Head of the Statistical Service of the Ministry of University and Research, Mr Paolo Micozzi and two members of the same service, Mrs Teresa Morana and Mrs Simonetta Sagramora participated in the work (connected from the Ministry) and presented data on Female Male differences within Italian universities,.
Among the participants we had the pleasure to welcome representatives of study programs and departments particularly concerned by the subject of the work , as (without wanting to quote them all) Mrs Paola Panarese , president of the master’s program “Studies of Gender, Cultures and Politics of Media and Communication”, Mrs Lara Benfatto , as representative of the Director of the Department of Physics , Mrs Francesca Bozzano of the Department of Earth Sciences , as well as PhD students, trainees and post-docs.
On December 14, and simultaneously with universities in 5 of the 6 WE4LEAD participating countries, the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid held the project launch conference in the boardroom of the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters. The project team was accompanied by 32 representatives from various decision-making bodies at university level: vice-rectorates, information management and equality units, deans, vice-deans and department heads, research institutes and associations, as well as ministerial officials responsible for the evaluation of teaching staff and the situation of women in Spanish higher education establishments.
The presidencies or vice-presidencies of the partner universities took part, and experiences from the northern and southern shores of the Mediterranean were shared through pre-recorded videos. Inaugurated by the UAM's Vice-Rector for Internationalization, the Director of the UAM's Instituto Universitario de Estudios de la Mujer, the UAM's Gender Equality Unit and the Director of its Planning Office, the event was a wonderful opportunity to share experiences, challenges and solutions, to publicize the existence of the project, its objectives and results, and to create synergies to move forward with the implementation of its actions, notably the evaluation of its impacts on the basis of indicators already developed and training in implicit gender biases and their fundamental role in the discrimination that underpins women's lesser access to positions of representation and decision-making.
The Coordination Meeting, held from July 4 to 6 in Sousse, Tunisia, was an opportunity for consortium members to meet and discuss a range of issues relating to project management and coordination, quality assurance, communication and dissemination, gender data evaluation and training. Over the course of the three days, participants were able to discuss the deliverables expected for each Work Package, as well as the working methods of the project's Quality Committee. The meeting was a great success, strengthening collaboration between the various project partners.
From June 5 to 9, 2023, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid hosted the "Index Calculation System" workshop of the We4Lead project. As the first training meeting of the project, this event brought together the nine partner universities, as well as representatives from the Tunisian Ministry of Education, creating a platform for international exchange and collaboration.
Experts and partners engaged in the promotion of equality in higher education and leadership. The exchange enabled the development of a common data collection and analysis system to assess the impact of the project.
The workshop was a unique opportunity to share best practices and build a more equitable future together. Participants engaged in in-depth discussions to explore the gaps observed and analyze their origins, focusing on the gender perspective.
In addition, key indicators and statistical tools were presented to identify inequalities.
The launching meeting of the Erasmus+ WE4LEAD project was held from 27 till 29 March 2023. The meeting included discussion sessions on the coordination and management of the project and the program of planned activities between the partners.
The launching meeting spanned three days and its opening session was attended by Eric Berton / President of Aix-Marseille Université, Denis Bertin / Director of Aix-Marseille Université - Institut d'études avancées, Isabelle Régner / vice-president in charge of gender equality (AMU), Christine Logier / director of international relations (DRI AMU), Mauve Carbonell / director of Réseau Téthys, Camille de Garidel-Thoron / director of Réseau Téthys and Pôle Projets et Réseaux Stratégiques.
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