Imagining the world of computing as if Steve Jobs had been a woman requires a considerable degree of guesswork, since we do not know for sure precisely which aspects of this world would be different from how they currently are. Nevertheless, during the last three decades, research has taught us a great deal about the gender relations of science and technology, and provided a firm basis for practical action to advance gender equality. The problem is, though, that this growing body of information is scattered, and for many reasons it is not always easily accessible.
We are therefore very pleased to announce today the beginning of a new four-year action on gender equality in science which we are co-ordinating in the Gender and ICT Programme at the IN3. The ‘GenPORT’ project will exploit the numerous resources that try to advance gender equality in science, technology and innovation. Although the wealth of gender and science resources developed in Europe over the last decade offers enormous potential for knowledge sharing and informed action, these resources are dispersed, and have varying degrees of visibility and usability. Globally, too, major gaps in the dissemination of past and present knowledge persist, while new knowledge is constantly being produced. This information needs to be offered in accessible, timely, and useable ways to enhance the potential for its exploitation. This is the purpose of the GenPORT project, which will develop an online community of practice on gender equality in science, technology and innovation.
«Although the wealth of gender and science resources developed in Europe over the last decade offers enormous potential, these resources are dispersed, and have varying degrees of visibility and usability»
Exploiting the Open University of Catalonia’s established expertise in developing online resources, the project will create an internet portal to provide an open entry-point to the high-quality research, policy reports and practical resources on gender, science, technology and innovation which already exist, and to new resources as they are generated. The main gender and science policy environments in the EU, US, Australia and beyond will provide the platform for developing the collection worldwide. Policy support will also be provided through research syntheses and ICT-enhanced policy briefings.
Since it will support a community of practice, the portal will be interactive and dynamic. We will achieve this dynamism by ‘crowd-sourcing’ the portal: we want to draw stakeholders in, share knowledge, create web tools to add value to resources, and exploit social media to boost the impact of the key messages coming from the latest research and policy insights.
«GenPORT will showcase a vast array of resources and innovative user interaction to boost practical and policy action by illuminating the contribution of gender equality to science excellence»
On-line community activities will be at the centre of the portal. We are also planning physical meetings and stakeholders’ events to create synergies for increased collaboration between members of the community of practice. Our aim is that this portal, showcasing a vast array of resources and innovative user interaction, will boost practical and policy action by illuminating the contribution of gender equality to science excellence. It will link closely with EU activities to promote structural change in science and research, specifically those being undertaken through the EU COST Action GenderSTE, which under Inés Sánchez de Madariaga’s leadership is also concerned with policy action for gender equality in science. In the US, the portal will exploit and promote the work being done under the National Science Foundation's ADVANCE program, among others.
We have received funding for this action from the EU FP7 Science in Society Programme under the theme ‘Creating a transnational community of practitioners (Internet Portal)’. Five partners — GESIS in Germany, Fondazione Giacomo Brodolini in Italy, Matej Bel University in Slovakia, Örebro University in Sweden and Portia in the UK — will work with us to develop the portal over the next four years. In the longer run, we aim to make the portal self-sustaining through the contributions of community members, so that its resources are permanently available to the gender and science community.
We are convinced that a shared vision, and shared information to achieve it, are vital elements in creating a society where the question posed in this blog no longer carries any meaning.
We are keen to hear from you, whether you are an academic, policy maker, employer, professional association, or have another type of practical interest in this field and would like to be involved in this project by contributing your resources, ideas, news, and expertise. You can reach us at the addresses below: