Karolinska Institutet has been awarded €1.6 million by Sweden’s Council for Gender Equality for the equality project “Mentor4Equality”. The aim is that equality in the university will be increased by learning from equality programmes in business.
“Gender should not determine your academic career. To [ensure] medical education and research is of high quality, it is important that we can retain talented and successful researchers at the university,” says Harriet Wallberg-Henriksson, President of Karolinska Institutet.
In Mentor4Equality, a group of graduate students and a group of postdocs will, together with their mentors, try to identify, describe and analyse different structures and mechanisms that lead to inequality, and formulate ideas and actions aimed at making the Karolinska Institutet more equal.
Key issues which the project will highlight are the factors influencing women in pursuing research careers, asking: What are the conditions and opportunities for women and men to pursue careers in science? Do they differ? What can we learn from those who are standing at the crossroads between continuing in academia and choosing another career?
All those taking part in the project will receive training in gender equality, and then individually and in groups examine and map their own research from a gender perspective. The project framework will include measures and practices it is proposed to implement in order to level the playing field for young researchers’ careers at the Karolinska Institute, irrespective of gender.
Approximately 60 percent of graduate and doctoral students at the Karolinska Institute are women. This distribution has been constant over the last decade. During the same period, the proportion of women assistant professors has increased gradually and the sex ratio is now within the range of 40-60 percent. There has been less change at professor level, with the proportion of women professors increasing from 15 to 21 percent.
The project Mentor4Equality will be run over two years, starting in autumn 2010 and completing in spring 2012.