In many countries, women face more barriers and biases to pursuing research and academic careers than men. Only 30% of researchers worldwide are female and this gender gap is also evident in the few female academics in leadership positions within institutions.
Having previously worked with INASP to embed research-writing training within their institution, the University of Dodoma in Tanzania wanted to work with INASP to address the gender gap at the university.
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.
The University of Dodoma team were keen 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.
INASP partnered with the University of Dodoma to develop and conduct a gender sensitization workshop in response to concerns about gender inequalities within the institution. The project was run as part of the Strengthening Research and Knowledge Systems programme.
INASP supported the team to develop and run a workshop entitled Getting out of the Box – Creating a gender platform at UDOM.
Following the initial workshop, 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.
Outcomes and impact
The action plan created as a result of the workshop series resulted in the development of gender and sexual harassment policies, the creation of new strategies to address campus safety in computer labs and after dark, and the development of a team of gender champions who support gender awareness across the university.
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.