In many countries, women face more barriers and biases to pursuing research and academic careers than men. Only 28% of researchers worldwide are female and this gender gap is also evident in the few female academics in leadership positions within institutions.
In 2015, INASP partnered with the University of Dodoma in Tanzania to develop and conduct a gender sensitization workshop in response to concerns about gender inequalities within the institution. This led to the development of a Gender Mainstreaming in Higher Education Toolkit, and enabled the team in Dodoma to begin a process of gender mainstreaming within their university.
The project was run as part of the Strengthening Research and Knowledge Systems programme.
"Of the 694 current academic staff members only 175 are female. In the whole university, only five Tanzanian women have reached senior academic levels, and there are no women in a senior leadership or College principal positions."
As a partner with INASP’s AuthorAID project to embed research-writing training, the group wanted to work with INASP to address the gender gap at the university. INASP supported the team to develop and run a workshop entitled “Getting out of the Box – Creating a gender platform at UDOM”.
The main objectives were to create awareness of gender issues, to sensitize women academics on the importance of creating a balance between work and home, and to initiate a process to address some of the gender gaps at the institution.
Following the initial workshop, during 2016 the team at Dodoma ran focus group discussions with staff, students and leadership to explore the gender gaps further and to gather data to inform the development of a gender and sexual harassment policy. Since developing the policy, the team are working to set up a gender unit which will ensure the implementation of the policy across the institution and will continue to monitor the gender gaps and barriers.
Gender Mainstreaming in Higher Education Toolkit
Realising that other institutions could learn from the work conducted by the academics at Dodoma, INASP worked with the team to develop a Gender Mainstreaming in Higher Education Toolkit.
Building on the experience and learning resulting from the University of Dodoma’s work, the toolkit provides the materials and resources to run a gender sensitization workshop within an institution.
Six modules cover topics from exploring gender concepts to considering gender in a higher education context, to developing an initial action plan based on the workshop outcomes.
While this toolkit is aimed at those interested in gender mainstreaming in higher education, many of the activities, materials and resources can be easily adapted to the context of other institutions interested in challenging gender inequalities.
In 2017, INASP supported the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in Ghana and the Open University of Tanzania to run gender sensitization workshops, using the toolkit.
Blog: Mind the gap: Creating agents of change to address gender inequity in research
Blog: How INASP’s ‘Gender Mainstreaming in Higher Education’ Toolkit is helping to shift mindsets
Blog: Applying a gender lens to the production of research and knowledge