Gender Diversity Impact
Research, in any field, requires robust enquiry and evidence. Gathering information, and compiling statistical data, can be hugely important in identifying problems, and providing solutions. However, data-gathering and their subsequent use is not an unbiased exercise. The tools used to gather data can have inbuilt assumptions and prejudices. What is measured, and how, can have a fundamental impact on research results. For example, in the field of equality, examining gender balance and how it affects the performance of research teams is more than just a tick-box exercise of counting numbers of women and men within teams. Parity in a group can be achieved without reaching the goal of equality. This might be the case in a team where there are equal numbers of women and men, but where they are unequally distributed for example in senior positions or among those with caring responsibilities.
Research by the Centre addressed this issue, and has resulted in the devising of a ground-breaking new way of measuring some of these factors through a Gender Diversity Index (GDI) that can be used either at team or organisational level. This was developed in response to the European Union’s strategy to support excellent science, industrial leadership and tackle societal challenges and funded by the EU Horizon 2020 programme.
The GDI allows work-teams to examine the outcomes of gender power relations and how these are composed. Although only completed in 2018 the GDI has already attracted significant levels of interest from research funding organisations, including the European Commission 2019 Work Programme of the Horizon 2020 Science with and for Society call (SwafS) and the Mexican Research Council. The performance of teams, and their gender make-up, is of particular interest to economic sectors which drive innovation and production, and where women have been historically under-represented including Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM objects).