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This is how the university bill seeks equality: specialized units, parity and preference in hiring

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The preliminary draft of the Organic Law of the University System (LOSU), approved this Tuesday by the Council of Ministers, introduces new features to advance gender equality through the creation of units that will coordinate policies in this area, positive action in the allocation of places, the promotion of parity in research projects, the fight against sexual harassment, and the criteria when preparing the budgets of the institutions and for obtaining public funding from the campuses. These are the main news on the matter:

Specific units

All universities will have to create, if they do not already have them, gender equality units. These “will be in charge of coordinating and mainstreaming the development of university policies for equality between women and men, as well as the inclusion of the gender perspective in the set of activities and functions of the university,” the text indicates. The campuses must have a university policy gender equality plan, another for gender equality in human resources, a protocol against sexual and gender-based harassment, as well as a remuneration record for all contracted and civil servants to reduce the wage gap.

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Organs of power

The preliminary draft prepared by the Ministry of Universities, directed by Manuel Castells, affirms in his explanatory memorandum that “in certain areas” of the University “an evident gender bias persists, especially in the upper echelons”. The law emphasizes that all the collegiate bodies of the universities, as well as the commissions for the allocation of places and for the evaluation and selection of research projects must have a “balanced composition”.

Eva Alcón, rector of the Jaume I University of Castellón and delegate of the Presidency of the Conference of Rectors and Rectors (CRUE) for Equality Policies, avoids pronouncing on the text, that the body where the highest academic leaders meet is still studying . But he adds: “Universities are not alien to society, and it still has a way to go to be a much more egalitarian society. Everything that is to advance in equality matters is welcomed by the universities and society ”.

Positive action in the allocation of places

In order to promote equity among teachers, the norm allows “establishing positive action measures in competitions for access to positions for civil servant teaching and research personnel and hired to favor access for women.” “For this purpose”, Article 52 continues, “reservations and preferences may be established in the contracting conditions so that, under equal conditions of suitability, people of the sex less represented in the teaching body or category in question ”.

Carmen Fenoll, president of the Association of Women Researchers and Technologists (AMIT) has not yet been able to study the draft, but highlights that both in research and in the university “there is a very clear underrepresentation, particularly in hard sciences and engineering, but also surprisingly in many fields of medicine ”. And in parallel, continues the professor of Plant Physiology, “there is a brutal vertical underrepresentation, since women barely reach 25% of professors. 30 years ago that percentage was around 10%, so it is clear that something more needs to be done to make things move forward ”.

Promotion of the principal investigators

In the universities, the law states, “the promotion of scientific projects with a gender perspective, gender parity in research teams, and mechanisms that facilitate the promotion of a greater number of female principal researchers will be encouraged.” The president of AMIT considers that, in a context of underrepresentation such as the one that affects women in the scientific and academic sphere, the term parity is not appropriate: “We ask that there be at least 40% women, because it is beginning to there are teams made up mainly of women who are penalized for not having men ”.

Budgetary impacts

Budgeting will include “gender impact reports” (as well as an environmental impact analysis). And among the parameters that will form part of the financing by objectives (that part of the public funds that universities receive based on the fulfillment of certain milestones considered strategic by the Administrations) will appear “gender equity” along with others such as the improvement of teaching, research and knowledge transfer.

Family conciliation

The universities, according to the preliminary draft, “will analyze the uses of academic time to detect and correct possible inequalities due to gender” and “must promote joint responsibility in care and ensure the effective exercise of the rights to reconcile work and life. family member of his staff ”. In addition, “they must apply criteria that ensure the effective equality of all people in the application of the dedication regime and access to mobility programs.”

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