Network on Ethnicity and Women Scientists (NEWS)

Funded by: European Commission


January 2006 to December 2007

PSI researchers:

Background, summary and aims

Background and Aims

There is recognition at an EU level that groups and networks of women scientists and policy makers play an important role in ensuring the implementation of a gender mainstreaming approach in research policy. The NEWS project explores the position of ethnic minority women pursing careers in teaching and research in the Member States of the enlarged European Union. This includes migrant and refugee women and second and third generation women from ethnic minorities employed by universities and research institutions. NEWS seeks to step up the science/society dialogue and to address the role of women in science through the promotion of gender and ethnic diversity in European science. In so doing it aims to contribute to an increase in the knowledge base on women in science and make visible and improve the position of this constituency of women belonging to the European research workforce, to help facilitate greater diversity.

Project Design

The NEWS project involves collaboration between seven European countries and one Eastern European candidate country for EU entry. The participating countries are Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal, the United Kingdom and Bulgaria. The project involves data collection, network building and the stimulation of public debate. Secondary evidence womens' educational attainment and professional career experiences, across all scientific disciplines, will be gathered leading to national state of the art reports, a national comparative synthesis report and a policy paper. A network on gender and ethnic diversity will be developed, linking with existing networks in the seven participating countries as well as the recently established European Platform of Women Scientists. The Network Co-ordinator is Nouria Ouali who is based in the Multi-disciplinary research group on Gender and Migration at the Free University of Brussels. NEWS will promote a public debate at national and European level on the issue of gender and ethnic diversity in science.

Importance of Research

There is growing policy recognition of the importance of human resources in European science. In 2001 the European Council of Barcelona decided to increase the EU research effort up to 3 per cent of GDP and the European Commission estimates that 700,000 new researchers will be needed by 2010. NEWS will bring new insights on the way to promote gender equality in research and science policies, complementing the work of the Helsinki group through the promotion of greater understanding of how the interaction of gender and ethnicity impacts on equal opportunities in research and teaching careers. It will promote exchange of experiences, good practices and policies in such a way that national and European research policies can be reinforced.

Further information

Further details can be found in this project description document by NEWS coordinator Nouria Ouali of the Free University of Brussels [pdf format].