GenderAct - A Project for Cultural Change and Gender Balance
Cultural change

Work for cultural change

GenderAct aims to contribute to creating a sustained cultural change, delivering increased gender equality and gender balance at MN-UiB. In order to achieve this, we will make research contributions to knowledge on gender and organizational culture, and the effects of their interrelationship. The work will be run together with motivated leaders, who will move from insight to action over the course of the project. Alongside this, initiatives will be introduced to improve the gender balance in senior scientific positions and in senior research management.

Main content

Programme for Leaders

GenderAct is housed within the Dean's management team at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. The team devised the current Action Plan for improved gender balance. The plan's first two action points are:

1. The faculty will improve the gender balance, with leaders at all levels having responsibility for achieving our goals.

2. Increase knowledge, both among managers and in the various academic communities, relating to why (for both structural and cultural reasons) fewer women stay on in academia.

These provide clear recognition of leaders' responsibilities, and underline our desire to work together for culture change through consciousness-raising within the management team. This consciousness raising will then see practical results through GenderAct's work. To facilitate the achievement of our goals there will be:

· Implementation of a management program during the project period (a total of 5 meetings, including start-up and continuation meetings), with the project's adjunct Professor and other academic resources being important contributors to both preparation and implementation.

· Systematic work in ordinary structures at the faculty and departmental levels

· Semi-annual reporting on project status and results to the Steering Group, Dean's management team and Faculty Board


Programme for developing Top research leaders

GenderAct is a participation project with financial support from NFR’s Balance Program. The main objective of the GenderAct project is to achieve a change that provides a long-term and sustainable gender balance at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. GenderAct aims to inspire and facilitate local gender-balance efforts at the institute-level and to assist our leaders towards cultural change by suggesting specific measures. The project wishes to strengthen women's identity as researchers and research leaders. Supporting the careers of future female research leaders is crucial towards closing the gender gap. As an active measure, we welcome applications to GenderActs´s Top Researcher Program.

Top Researcher Program

GenderAct´s Top Researcher Program targets women in permanent academic positions at the faculty who wish to enhance their leadership and management skills. The Top Researcher Program intent to contribute to more women submitting applications for external funding, more women being promoted to professor, and ultimately improve gender balance in academia. The program targets individual actions as well as colleague-guidance groups and joint gatherings, where the project's II positions and other academic resources (e.g. senior researchers) will be important contributors. The languages of instruction will be English and Norwegian.

The program is inspired by the FRONT project (UiO) and will build on their experiences.

Target group and requirements for participants

The Top Researcher Program targets women in academic, permanent positions at the Faculty: associate professors, early career professors, and permanent researchers with a TMS Starting grant, who are

  • motivated for the research leadership role, and
  • can commit to attend all five gatherings included in the program.

The program can have up to 12 participants. The Top Researcher Program is a development program that requires active participation both during and between the sessions.

Program content

The meetings/sessions will consist of theoretical input and everyday experience sharing where the participants' relevant encounters are emphasized. The program is organised as a series of five gatherings, and the topics discussed in the program have the following main areas:

  • career development
  • leadership
  • gender in academia
  • effects of gender on leadership
  • project management tools for researchers

Individual career development plans and tools for team building will also be offered. The participants' specific wishes and needs for skill development are weighted and will influence the final content. Participants will be divided into groups that will collaborate between the sessions. The groups will be constituted as heterogeneously as possible. These groups intend to be the most important learning units during the sessions, and will be used to exchange and process experiences, work with case/exercises, test management tools and support individuals’ professional development. The groups are facilitated by the program team.

Program team

  • The program is facilitated through GenderAct.
  • The program team consists of Professor Siri Øyslebø Sørensen, Associate Professor Eva Amundsdotter and project coordinator Kristin Sofie Farkas
  • Siri Øyslebø Sørensen is the program manager for the Top Researcher Program.
  • Other speakers

Time and place

The program has 5 sessions, on the following dates:

  1. 15 September 2021
  2. 27 October 2021
  3. 23 November 2021
  4. 15 February 2022
  5. 27 April 2022

The sessions will take place at a nearby hotel in Bergen.

Application and admission process

  • Prospective participants must submit the application form, a motivation letter, and their CV (maximum 2 pages) to the department management by the deadline.  Please see the attachments for further details.
  • The applications will be evaluated by the respective institutes. A shortlist will be sent to the Faculty by 4 July 2021.
  • The Faculty will determine the final list of participants.
  • Participants will receive a confirmation by 9 July 2021.
  • Confirmation for gender equality funds to the participants in the Top researcher programme will be sent in week 25.


Local equality initiatives

The action plan for improved gender balance includes:

The individual institute shall prepare its own measurement figures on gender balance and apply the tools available and adapted to that specific academic environment. Internal cultural development is a particularly important management responsibility.

Local equality initiatives

It is desirable and necessary to implement local balancing initiatives at all the institutes, and we aim to start this work in autumn 2021. It is important to ensure broad participation in this knowledge-based change and development work. Research group leaders will be a particularly important group in this work.

Work on tools and support for local equality initiatives will commence from the start of the project and will be a high priority throughout. As in the BALANSE project at NTNU "Equality from below", we will develop a "Handbook with measures for institutes that will improve the gender balance among scientific employees".  This will be an important tool for facilitating systematic work locally, at all the institutes.

Targeted and gender-neutral recruitment

The overall proportion of women in scientific positions at the MN faculty has a very clear gender imbalance: there are only 22 % women. The ratio has remained stable at 16 % of women in professorial positions, while it has fallen from 39 % to 30 % for women in associate professorships over the past two years.

From the faculty's action plan for improved gender balance:

Improved gender balance is an overall objective in all recruitment work

Questions concerning gender balance will be addressed at all steps in the recruitment processes. This must be documented in the case of each appointment.

The academic community must take active steps to identify potential female applicants.

If an adjunct associate professor position does not attract female applicants, the position should normally be re-advertised.

If no women are ranked in the shortlist, the Head of Department, in cooperation with the Dean, must consider whether the position should be re-advertised.

The faculty's action plan for improved gender balance makes it clear that equality issues should be a natural and important consideration at all stages of our recruitment processes. In this work, evidence-based awareness is required for all actors at all levels, with efforts then made to achieve the desired results. Our efforts will also be an important part of the Leader Program and local equality initiatives. Additionally, we will engage with the recruitment committees.

E-learning course about gender balance and unconscious bias in connection with the process of recruiting new employees: Improving gender balance through the recruitment process.