Do women and men have the same preconditions for conducting research?

This is the question for a new study of gender equality among researchers in Sweden that the Swedish Research Council will be conducting during 2021. On 29 January a questionnaire was sent to around 4 800 researchers, with questions about their working conditions.

Different hypotheses from scientific literature about lack of gender equality will be tested against new data from Statistics Sweden, to investigate whether there are clear gender patterns, and what explanations might be behind any differences. An important component of the study is a questionnaire, which is being sent out to around 4 800 researchers, with questions about their working conditions.

“We hope to get answers to questions that cannot be answered via statistics, such as the factors that impact on women’s and men’s abilities to carry out research within their employment in higher education,” says Stina Gerdes Barriere, project leader for the analysis work.

The questionnaire includes questions about how researchers regard their preconditions for working as researchers and teachers. The questions relate to work environment, access to external research funding, mentorship, and other factors. Another question is about how the careers have developed for researchers who applied for a research grant from the Swedish Research Council during the "establishment phase", that is just after they had obtained their doctoral degrees. Are the grant forms aimed at junior researchers fit for their purpose? Do they work equally well for women and for men?

The responses to the questionnaire will be analysed together with data from Statistics Sweden and the Swedish Research Council, and with interviews and literature in the area.

The results from the gender equality study are expected to be completed in early summer. They will then be summarised into a report, and discussed at a webinar that will be open to all interested parties.

The questionnaire is aimed at persons who were awarded a doctoral degree no earlier than 2009, and who have applied to the Swedish Research Council for a project grant or for a grant targeted specifically at researchers during the establishment phase. The deadline for responses is 12 February 2021.

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