Gender Budgeting as an instrument for managing scientific organisations to promote equal opportunities for women and men – with the example of universities

Executive Summary

Structural disadvantages and the waste of female talent have been diagnosed for all states in the European Community by several studies of the European Commission. Women are still faced with a so called glass ceiling which hinders them to get into high positions. This phenomenon is often also described as a „leaky pipeline“ as with every step in the scientific career the proportion of women decreases dramatically. Even though women nowadays constitute half of the students or sometimes even more, they do not have a strong voice in decision making processes and curriculum development. This applies for countries with significantly different historical backgrounds or in cases with comparably high numbers of highly qualified women. Additionally, while the proportion of researchers of the total labour force has been increasing, the gender gap regarding work conditions and salaries is widening. Female scientists often work in much more precarious working conditions than men. The proportion of temporary employments in scientific organisations has a clear effect on the proportion of women working in these organisations: the more temporary jobs in the institutions, the higher the proportion of women.

Parallel to this annoying situation Gender Mainstreaming has become an important issue in the debate on reforms for the higher education sector during the last years of the former millennium. Thus the European Commission called upon the member states to implement gender equality measures and the Commission insisted on a gender action plan as an obligatory request for an application in the 6th Framework Programme on Research and Technological Development. One request was the development of Gender Mainstreaming instruments for the scientific field and another was the implementation of a gender watch system.

The trans-national EU-Project „Gender Budgeting as an instrument for managing scientific organisations to promote equal opportunities for women and men – with the example of universities“ is embedded in this context. The question this project focused on is: how can Gender Budgeting be applied as a powerful instrument in the budgeting policy of an organisation? The intention is to show which dimensions and which phases of the budgeting process have to be considered. Furthermore, some basic steps for a systematic integration of gender issues into the budgeting process were developed.

We follow the definition of Gender Budgeting by the Council of Europe which is also used by the European Union:

Gender budgeting is an application of gender mainstreaming in the budgetary process. It means a gender-based assessment of budgets, incorporating a gender perspective at all levels of the budgetary process and restructuring revenues and expenditures in order to promote gender equality.

Three teams from Gdansk (Poland), Vienna (Austria) and Munich (Germany) worked together. We started with an analysis of the national framework for women and men in science and the financing of the university sector in Austria, Germany and Poland. This was followed by an analysis of the specific situation of women and men and of the process of budgeting at the three cooperating universities, the University of Gdansk, the University of Augsburg and the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration. On the basis of these findings we developed instruments and measures for the implementation of gender budgeting in scientific organisations. As part of the support action we adapted a selection of instruments and measures to the specific situation of each cooperating university. By comparing the three countries and the cooperating universities we were able to extrapolate our findings and to contribute to a future European gender watch system.