Female Empowerment in
Science and Tecnology Academia
Handbook On Resistance
To Gender Equality In Academia
Festa Resistance And Gender Main Causes & Indicators Main Forms & Symptoms Recommendations Analysis Of Stories Conclusion & References

ANALYSIS OF STORIES ENCOUNTERED IN FESTA

In this chapter of the handbook we analyze the incidents of resistance recorded by the consortium members. The narration by the author who experienced the resistance is presented in the left column of the page while in the right column some of the key concepts and recommendations related to the story are offered. The concepts and recommendations listed in the right column are chosen from the ones given in the other sections of the handbook.

START UP / INITIATION
No Funding For Gender Equality Work
The first period when we experienced resistance was at the time when the FESTA project was initialized. The suggestion to become part of a European team writing a proposal came from another European University via email. This was quite close to the submission deadline, and it was not possible to form a full consortium, but the foundation was laid by three partners. We would call this structural resistance to change from the organization itself. This was expressed through the fact that gender equality work in the organization at the faculty level was unfinanced, i.e., the people appointed to work with gender equality work were expected to do that without compensation and without any budget for activities. This means that a personal commitment was required and a willingness to put other things aside. The following summer, the university that had made the initiative arranged a meeting to start preparing for the next call. One of our team members went there with financial support from that University. Even for a very specific purpose like this, which might lead to a later influx of money, there was no funding from the own institution. Finally, another person and in the late summer she became involved in the project. She was partly financed by the central administration and could do this within her job description and her participation was sanctioned from there.
Recommendations
Provide evidence about the success of interventions related to gender issues.
Introduce the project more as an endeavor dealing with the general university environment rather than solely with gender or women
Establish contacts with key persons (role models, position holders, etc.) and strategic units (HR departments, staff units for personnel development, etc.
Define clearly what kind of change is intended actors who may resist, in which ways they may resist and for which reasons
Women Are Not Born For Science
During a kick-off dinner one of the participants commented nastily on a point our team member had made about career programs at our university during a presentation earlier that day, saying that no matter how much we thought that women could be trained for a career in science there was never going to be any room for them, simply because women are not cut out for science. He then launched into a long and heated monologue about women not being born and bred for maths and science studies giving several examples of how he thought males were suited for science and women not, for instance, women had done nothing during their childhoods other than play with dolls thereby losing all rights and skills for science, whereas boys played and practiced with mathematical, mechanical and electrical toys, thus becoming ready and worthy.





Introduce Gender To High-Level Management
The FESTA team decided to inform our institution's management about the start of the FESTA project. We decided to meet each director of the three main departments personally, in order to explain the FESTA content to them. We met a resistance in organizing these three meetings, writing a lot of e-mails: it happened, for example, that a fixed meeting was postponed at the last minute or it happened that we only had an answer to our e-mail after some weeks. In conclusion, we needed 9 months to meet the three directors.






Recommendations
Be prepared to use alternative approaches such as choosing a different interviewee, refraining from recording to guarantee confidentiality, contacting people by different ways i.e. mail, phone, in person, conducting an individual interview instead of the focus group interview
Map the institution/people and the context better
Establish contacts with key persons (role models, position holders, etc.) and strategic units (HR departments, staff units for personnel development, etc.
Give priority to reach people whom you already know in different departments as well as those engaged in gender equality
Resistance Against EU Projects
In connection with a proposal writing process we gathered a group of women and men - 6 people representing different positions from postdoc to associate professor - in order to cover basis or a foundation and initial thoughts of the project.

The first resistance already showed up when arranging the first meeting: why do we need a gender project? Is it useful? And in general the group showed resistance against yet another project, especially EU-projects and their applicability and usefulness. The expressed resistance was due to fatigue of projects in general and administrative measures. And also fatigue of signal involvement by select few women: hand-washing measure so that the Dean may "check that box".
WHO?
Recommendations
Provide evidence about the success of interventions related to gender issues.
Provide and make visible up-to-date quantitative data on gender equality indicators in the organization
Utilize current national developments, events, policies regarding gender equality for the project initiatives,
Utilize current national developments, events, policies regarding gender equality for the project initiatives, Enhance the gender awareness and willingness to dedicate more resources of the university management by organizing trainings/briefings by male and female gender experts
Organize enthusiastic kick-off meetings to engage the whole institution
Map the institution/people and the context better
Fear Of Feminism
Since September 2012 we have been organizing FESTA presentation meetings with selected departments of the institution. In the contact process with the head of departments, I strongly felt that it was much easier to communicate with female professors. Although one male head of department paid particular attention to the project, he gave the impression that he approached it as an obligation to get rid of, rather than an interesting project to work on. Another significant observation was that female academics do not seem to be feeling comfortable in the meetings mentioned above. We guess that they are anxious about being perceived as 'feminists'. In some countries, feminism may occasionally connote negative meanings.
Recommendations
Provide evidence about the success of interventions related to gender issues.
Provide and make visible up-to-date quantitative data on gender equality indicators in the organization
Engender scientific excellence and promote the good for all perspective
Develop measures for ensuring a commitment to gender mainstreaming and an organizational culture that values gender equality
Utilize current national developments, events, policies regarding gender equality for the project initiatives,
DATA COLLECTION
Standing In Front Of An "All Is Well"- Wall
We had a focus group interview with the selection committee of a hiring process we analyzed for FESTA. During the interview with four committee members they told us that there were no problems or difficulties. The committee consists of two professors and two students - other members of the committee e.g. research fellows had no time to participate - and they all agreed, although different status groups were represented. After the interview we thought that maybe they did not want to tell us the whole truth – or they could not see the gender bias in the course of the selection process.
WHO?
Recommendations
Engender scientific excellence and promote the good for all perspective
Achieve transparency and accountability in all academic recruitment and selection processes, and to ensure a fair and diverse representation in committee membership
Resistance To Reflect One's Own Role
I had a telephone call with a professor in order to set the date for an interview with him. I explained the idea of FESTA to him and the specific concern to investigate gender and excellence issues in appointment procedures for professors, which we would like to examine by looking at concrete examples.  He refused my request to interview him together with the other members of the selection committee in question. He argued that he has assured the applicants of total confidentiality.  He also did not believe my assurance that we are obliged to guarantee confidentiality. Moreover, he was also against the idea of discussing the decision process in a concrete selection committee if a candidate had been appointed to the professorship. However, he was willing to participate in an interview in which he spoke about his general experience with selection processes, selection committees, the judgment of excellence, gender issues in science etc. without addressing a specific selection process. I conducted the interview. The interview was not recorded though.
WHO?
Recommendations
Achieve transparency and accountability in all academic recruitment and selection processes, and to ensure a fair and diverse representation in committee membership
Delicate Matter Of Sharing Information
We tried to get the necessary information on hiring/promotion processes by writing a formal letter to general secretariat of our university yet we did not get any reply. We decided to acquire the necessary information via our personal connections. The professors, whom we asked for help, wanted to cooperate with us and did not reject our requests directly. However, since the information we were asking was highly confidential, we again did not find a chance to take steps forward. Even if we had a chance to get all the knowledge on a specific hiring or a promotion process, the professors would not be convinced to be interviewed about such a specific case. When we were trying to reach the necessary information, we got the sense that it is impossible to ask questions to a professor on a specific hiring/promotion process that he/she was involved as a candidate or as a jury member. We believe there was a resistance because of the confidentiality of hiring/promotion processes. We do not believe that there was any resistance related to gender-based issues.
Recommendations
Be prepared to use alternative approaches such as choosing a different interviewee, refraining from recording to guarantee confidentiality, contacting people by different ways i.e. mail, phone, in person, conducting an individual interview instead of the focus group interview
Engender scientific excellence and promote the good for all perspective
Achieve transparency and accountability in all academic recruitment and selection processes, and to ensure a fair and diverse representation in committee membership
No Need To Hide Hostility
During one of our interviews about "gender and excellence", a male associate professor was opposing every question referring to gender by providing negative or irrelevant comments. His behavior was quite provocative and it looked like he had agreed to participate in order to challenge the gender points, value and the expected impact of the project.
WHO?
Recommendations
Find external influential sponsors that can create positive impact inside and outside of the institution and contribute to the prestige of the project
Introduce the project more as an endeavor dealing with the general university environment rather than solely with gender or women
Not All Women Cooperate
In our visit to one of the selected departments, we had the chance to meet a woman scholar who holds a position as an associate professor. Her initial reaction was highly positive. She told us that she is willing to help us regarding the project when necessary. After a while, I sent her an e-mail and asked for an appointment for an interview. Her response was negative in a way that she did not give an appointment. However, she repeated that she is willing to help the project.
WHO?
Recommendations
Be prepared to use alternative approaches such as choosing a different interviewee, refraining from recording to guarantee confidentiality, contacting people by different ways i.e. mail, phone, in person, conducting an individual interview instead of the focus group interview
Engender scientific excellence and promote the good for all perspective
Develop measures for ensuring a commitment to gender mainstreaming and an organizational culture that values gender equality
Introduce the project more as an endeavor dealing with the general university environment rather than solely with gender or women
Negativism And Low Interest About Gender Equality
One of our respondents (a male associate professor) had politely agreed to participate in our survey about the level of gender awareness at the university. Nevertheless, during the interview he seemed to be quite indifferent providing only very short answers to all questions without even thinking over the issues raised (e.g. "yes", "no", "I don't know", "don't have any opinion on that", "never thought of it", "don't want to comment", etc.). The interview lasted around 10 minutes. He was quite reserved and didn't want to give any comment on the interview itself or the FESTA as a project. He left the meeting still being very polite but wordless. There was also another similar case with a male associate professor, who, at the end of the interview, said that he had agreed only because he had been asked by a very close friend. He also confessed that he didn't agree with the gender assumptions, on which the project was based.
WHO?
Recommendations
Employ different strategies such as personal contact, altering the characteristics of the source, nature or content of the message itself
Find external influential sponsors that can create positive impact inside and outside of the institution and contribute to the prestige of the project
Use a positive and encouraging language and clear, attractive, comparative information (e.g. data, findings, etc.) in in all the communication processes
Introduce the project more as an endeavor dealing with the general university environment rather than solely with gender or women
Provide evidence about the success of interventions related to gender issues.
Be prepared to use alternative approaches such as choosing a different interviewee, refraining from recording to guarantee confidentiality, contacting people by different ways i.e. mail, phone, in person, conducting an individual interview instead of the focus group interview
Keep gender equality issues on the organizational agenda and make gender initiatives more visible
Provide and make visible up-to-date quantitative data on gender equality indicators in the organization
Develop measures for ensuring a commitment to gender mainstreaming and an organizational culture that values gender equality
Objections from a Female Researcher
When we presented the FESTA project for a whole department a female researcher expressed dissatisfaction for always being asked to sit in examining committees just because she is a woman. She vented her annoyance and dissatisfaction in strong words. She also mediated a grievance over all these gender-based projects, although she admitted that she had learned a lot when she was doing local gender equality work. She seemed above all to oppose the efforts to reach gender balance. The resistance came shortly after we presented the EU agenda (get more women into research, in particular more female professors), before we even had time to go on and present what the department was going to do, five minutes into the presentation. After replying to her, we tried to go on with the presentation, but she kept on interrupting. More than half of the ten-minute presentation was devoted to tackle her objections.
WHO?
Recommendations
Employ different strategies such as personal contact, altering the characteristics of the source, nature or content of the message itself
Find external influential sponsors that can create positive impact inside and outside of the institution and contribute to the prestige of the project
Use a positive and encouraging language and clear, attractive, comparative information (e.g. data, findings, etc.) in in all the communication processes
Introduce the project more as an endeavor dealing with the general university environment rather than solely with gender or women
Provide evidence about the success of interventions related to gender issues.
Keep gender equality issues on the organizational agenda and make gender initiatives more visible
Develop measures for ensuring a commitment to gender mainstreaming and an organizational culture that values gender equality
Resistance From Academic Council
At a meeting in an Academic Council the Council had to discuss and comment on the new strategy of the Faculty of Science. This new strategy also contained a section about women and gender equality. This caused a very heated discussion between on the one hand the Chairman of the Board and one of his male associate professor colleagues and the other a female associate professor. The discussion concentrated on the men not finding it necessary to specify measures to ensure gender equality above other things. They do not acknowledge the gender equality issues as a problem and think it gives women an advantage and promotions because they are women and not necessary based on merit and qualifications.
Recommendations
Employ different strategies such as personal contact, altering the characteristics of the source, nature or content of the message itself
Find external influential sponsors that can create positive impact inside and outside of the institution and contribute to the prestige of the project
Use a positive and encouraging language and clear, attractive, comparative information (e.g. data, findings, etc.) in in all the communication processes
Introduce the project more as an endeavor dealing with the general university environment rather than solely with gender or women
Provide and make visible up-to-date quantitative data on gender equality indicators in the organization
Engender scientific excellence and promote the good for all perspective
Achieve transparency and accountability in all academic recruitment and selection processes, and to ensure a fair and diverse representation in committee membership
Resistance against a FESTA ally
A Head of Department, who was involved and interested in the FESTA project and in advancing its findings and approaches, experienced intense resistance when casually mentioning that he was going to participate in a FESTA event to one of his male associate professors. The professor spent two hours giving very heated voice to his opinions about women getting all the possibilities and men being at a disadvantage. The person was hostile in his way of expressing resistance. This is in our view interesting from the perspective that not only those directly involved in a project such as the FESTA project may be subject to resistance, but anyone (in power) who expresses or displays interest in such projects.
WHO?
Recommendations
Employ different strategies such as personal contact, altering the characteristics of the source, nature or content of the message itself
Find external influential sponsors that can create positive impact inside and outside of the institution and contribute to the prestige of the project
Use a positive and encouraging language and clear, attractive, comparative information (e.g. data, findings, etc.) in in all the communication processes
Introduce the project more as an endeavor dealing with the general university environment rather than solely with gender or women
Provide and make visible up-to-date quantitative data on gender equality indicators in the organization
Engender scientific excellence and promote the good for all perspective
Achieve transparency and accountability in all academic recruitment and selection processes, and to ensure a fair and diverse representation in committee membership
EXECUTION (IMPLEMENTATION)
Shooting The Messenger
The FESTA researcher went to a department meeting to present initial FESTA findings. The presentation included quantitative data showing gender gaps and qualitative data which analyzed transcripts of interviews and focus groups at individual, interactional and institutional level, and provided examples of the way gender is created and recreated at each level. There was one other woman in the room apart from the FESTA researcher. There were approximately thirty men and two women at the presentation. Several of the men were aggressive, hostile and angry. They challenged the research methodology and the research findings. Many refused to accept the findings as valid. The FESTA researcher suggested that we are unaware of our biases and that perhaps demonstrating that women perceive the environment as gendered could be challenging to people's ideas about the institution and themselves. One man in the group defended the presentation, but he was silenced by the angry voices of the majority.
WHO?
Recommendations
Employ different strategies such as personal contact, altering the characteristics of the source, nature or content of the message itself
Find external influential sponsors that can create positive impact inside and outside of the institution and contribute to the prestige of the project
Use a positive and encouraging language and clear, attractive, comparative information (e.g. data, findings, etc.) in in all the communication processes
Introduce the project more as an endeavor dealing with the general university environment rather than solely with gender or women
Keep gender equality issues on the organizational agenda and make gender initiatives more visible
Provide and make visible up-to-date quantitative data on gender equality indicators in the organization
Engender scientific excellence and promote the good for all perspective
Work with competent, influential external experts
Utilize current national developments, events, policies regarding gender equality for the project initiatives,
Refusal To Engage With a Gender Equality Project
In one partner university, the faculty manager in science and engineering circulated a letter from the FESTA researcher to Heads of Departments, introducing the FESTA project in the university. The researcher followed up this e-mail by contacting the Heads of Departments directly, requesting five minutes at the next department meeting to introduce the FESTA project. One Head of Department refused to facilitate that because 'department meetings don't include researchers' and furthermore stated that sending the letter as an attachment in an e-mail 'borders on SPAM'.
WHO?
Recommendations
Employ different strategies such as personal contact, altering the characteristics of the source, nature or content of the message itself
Find external influential sponsors that can create positive impact inside and outside of the institution and contribute to the prestige of the project
Use a positive and encouraging language and clear, attractive, comparative information (e.g. data, findings, etc.) in in all the communication processes
Introduce the project more as an endeavor dealing with the general university environment rather than solely with gender or women
Be prepared to use alternative approaches such as choosing a different interviewee, refraining from recording to guarantee confidentiality, contacting people by different ways i.e. mail, phone, in person, conducting an individual interview instead of the focus group interview
Science Is An Elite Sport
During a study circle for PhD supervisors a younger male supervisor accepted the invitation immediately stating that to him there seemed to be no gender inequality. When he turned up at the second study circle he was late and immediately launched into a long tirade against gender measures and quotas, questioning the need for gender awareness, as it was all up to the individual to excel. That all the ways of evaluating excellence were gender blind, it was merely a matter of wanting to work hard – like elite sport, science is an elite sport, and women are maybe simply not prepared, they are more tuned into taking care of families and they make other choices, and should be allowed to just make such choices. He would not hear any evidence of other views/perspectives on the matter, he kept interrupting the facilitator and other participants with a rather aggressive style and rhetoric, pushing his own views forward, referring often to his own wife and family and the sacrifices he had been willing to make for his science etc., etc. The facilitator then turned to asking questions instead of putting arguments forward, and also directed questions to the other supervisors present at the session. The other participants engaged in the discussion and one of the others in particular managed to turn the discussion into a more reflective dialogue, where all of the people present managed to reflect on where their views originated. This other participant (another young male prof.) just quietly stated that his experience and view and interest was the opposite of what the first person expressed, and it was this quiet and assertive and openly interested and engaging attitude that in the end relaxed the atmosphere considerably, even if the original agenda for the session was completely overturned. It also became clear during the ensuing dialogue, that the first proponent saw no gender issues, largely because he comes from an almost exclusively male dominated environment. Another function this incident served was to make very clear that this view is alive and present and that it is important to engage with it rather than turn it into a shouting match that will lead nowhere.
Recommendations
Find external influential sponsors that can create positive impact inside and outside of the institution and contribute to the prestige of the project
Provide and make visible up-to-date quantitative data on gender equality indicators in the organization
Achieve transparency and accountability in all academic recruitment and selection processes, and to ensure a fair and diverse representation in committee membership
Women Uncomfortable with Gender
One of our departments during the meeting that we organized with them for the elaboration of policies, we noticed that the women were a bit embarrassed by the proposals we discussed during the meeting about introduction of quotas and other kind of assessment beyond the traditional publications. Some women (not all of them) said that they have never been discriminated and that they want to be assessed the same way as their male colleagues.
WHO?
Recommendations
Introduce the project more as an endeavor dealing with the general university environment rather than solely with gender or women
Provide evidence about the success of interventions related to gender issues.
Provide and make visible up-to-date quantitative data on gender equality indicators in the organization
Engender scientific excellence and promote the good for all perspective
Achieve transparency and accountability in all academic recruitment and selection processes, and to ensure a fair and diverse representation in committee membership
When There's No Benefit
At one of our workshops about the existent "meeting culture" at the university and the ways it could be improved a couple of invited participants (male and female) arrived at the room and asked to sign the participants list. When we said that there is no such a list nor a need to sign anything they left the meeting saying that they are not interested in the topic and didn't see how they could benefit from such a project. Similarly, two other (male and female) associate professors, who had already given interviews, refused to participate in any further activities saying that they couldn't see any concrete profit from this project for their research careers.
WHO?
Recommendations
Be prepared to use alternative approaches such as choosing a different interviewee, refraining from recording to guarantee confidentiality, contacting people by different ways i.e. mail, phone, in person, conducting an individual interview instead of the focus group interview
Combine activities and tasks of different Work Packages in order to save time and energy
Utilize regular meetings or other/formal events of the organization to address people who are not willing to join specific project meetings
Establish contacts with key persons (role models, position holders, etc.) and strategic units (HR departments, staff units for personnel development, etc.
Give priority to reach people whom you already know in different departments as well as those engaged in gender equality
Build networks in and outside the organization among those who are interested or engaged in gender equality
Lack Of Interest / Resistance To Learning About Gender
In one of the partner universities, the dean of the faculty of science and engineering took over as chair of the FESTA Steering Committee, and invited the FESTA researcher to present FESTA findings to the Management Committee of the Faculty. The Management Committee consists of the Dean (1), Heads of Department (10); the Faculty Manager (1); the Assistant Deans for Research (2) and the Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs (1). The presentation demonstrated men's lack of awareness of gender and women's acute awareness of it. The awareness of gender was illustrated with quotes from the focus groups and interviews which had taken place in the faculty.

Following the presentation, there was a long and uncomfortable silence. The dean encouraged questions/comments but there was a general absence of interest, and only four questions were asked – all of which reinforced gender stereotypes. Afterwards the dean observed that he was surprised by the level of silent resistance in the meeting. He said that one of the attendees had stated that the management meeting had wasted half an hour on gender equality and one Head of Department said that the researcher was a brave woman to make that presentation to that group of people.





WHO?
Recommendations
Employ different strategies such as personal contact, altering the characteristics of the source, nature or content of the message itself
Find external influential sponsors that can create positive impact inside and outside of the institution and contribute to the prestige of the project
Use a positive and encouraging language and clear, attractive, comparative information (e.g. data, findings, etc.) in in all the communication processes
Introduce the project more as an endeavor dealing with the general university environment rather than solely with gender or women
Enhance the gender awareness and willingness to dedicate more resources of the university management by organizing trainings/briefings by male and female gender experts
Organize enthusiastic kick-off meetings to engage the whole institution
Map the institution/people and the context better
Engender scientific excellence and promote the good for all perspective
Engender scientific excellence and promote the good for all perspective
Develop measures for ensuring a commitment to gender mainstreaming and an organizational culture that values gender equality
Achieve transparency and accountability in all academic recruitment and selection processes, and to ensure a fair and diverse representation in committee membership
Lack Of Commitment To Gender Equality Work
We had a meeting with a person assigned to work with gender equality at the department. During the meeting s/he complained about the head's total lack of interest in gender equality work, which was only regarded as "something that has to be done". S/he did not expect any support from the department head, which s/he described as a person you do not turn to for advice in gender equality issues. S/he declared an interest in gender equality issues, whilst acknowledging that other things were more important. S/he had worked with gender equality at the department about ten years, but nobody had really shown any interest and nothing had changed. Thus, the department had designated a person who believes that there are other more important issues to prioritize to pursue gender equality work. The department also has a head who appears to have demonstrated a lack of interest, or remained passive, in gender equality work. Gender equality actions have been planned, but not implemented.
WHO?
Recommendations
Provide evidence about the success of interventions related to gender issues.
Provide and make visible up-to-date quantitative data on gender equality indicators in the organization
Utilize current national developments, events, policies regarding gender equality for the project initiatives,
Enhance the gender awareness and willingness to dedicate more resources of the university management by organizing trainings/briefings by male and female gender experts
Organize enthusiastic kick-off meetings to engage the whole institution
Map the institution/people and the context better
Involve people with strong positional power, commitment and willingness in the project teams
Resistance from Women
At a meeting at Faculty Equality Committee, the Committee asked one of its members to give an update on a network for women at the Faculty of Science and the activities of this network. The associate professor reacted strongly and said that they only meet once a year and described how she used to be one of the front persons fighting for the gender equality through the network. However, as the network felt this fight for gender equality were without any effect – according to her – she refused to use any more time leading this women's network or initiate any kind of new initiatives. Her reaction is connected to her feeling of powerlessness, because men are not finding the subject of gender equality more important, rather than her resisting gender equality itself.
WHO?
Recommendations
Keep gender equality issues on the organizational agenda and make gender initiatives more visible
Provide and make visible up-to-date quantitative data on gender equality indicators in the organization
Develop measures for ensuring a commitment to gender mainstreaming and an organizational culture that values gender equality
Create/support awards/prizes/recognitions for disseminating gender awareness/equality
Employ different strategies such as personal contact, altering the characteristics of the source, nature or content of the message itself
Utilize current national developments, events, policies regarding gender equality for the project initiatives,
Enhance the gender awareness and willingness to dedicate more resources of the university management by organizing trainings/briefings by male and female gender experts
Organize enthusiastic kick-off meetings to engage the whole institution
Map the institution/people and the context better
Provide evidence about the success of interventions related to gender issues.
Convince People That On-The-Job Actions Are Needed
We organized a workshop to discuss policies to be promoted within our institution addressed to all the research units of an entire department. Unfortunately, we got a very limited number of participants. Some of the research unit leaders never answered the several e-mails and reminders that were sent to organize the meeting, nor did they send someone from their staff on their behalf. From some interventions, it seemed that people do not recognize that gender inequalities exist and that they can be solved with such on-the-job actions. They think that a cultural change is needed starting from primary schools and tackling the issue on the job is quite late. This way they do not feel directly involved in this issue and feel free to exonerate themselves from acting against gender inequalities.
WHO?
Recommendations
Utilize regular meetings or other/formal events of the organization to address people who are not willing to join specific project meetings
Keep gender equality issues on the organizational agenda and make gender initiatives more visible
Provide and make visible up-to-date quantitative data on gender equality indicators in the organization
Develop measures for ensuring a commitment to gender mainstreaming and an organizational culture that values gender equality
Create/support awards/prizes/recognitions for disseminating gender awareness/equality
Find external influential sponsors that can create positive impact inside and outside of the institution and contribute to the prestige of the project
Introduce the project more as an endeavor dealing with the general university environment rather than solely with gender or women
Provide evidence about the success of interventions related to gender issues.
Silence Speaks
During the one hour and a half workshop there was no response or reaction even though we were trying all the time to encourage the participants to comment our findings, ask for clarifications, question our conclusions, etc. That silence was absolutely unexpected for us since we all had known each other for many years, being close friends with some of them and collaborating regularly with many of them. We didn't succeed in getting participants' feedback regarding our findings about informal decision making and communication processes. We only realized (from the face expressions of some participants) that they agree with some of our conclusions, for example, about the presence of inner circles at the university, strong influence of informal relations, hidden gender biases, etc. It seemed that the female participants silently agreed with our descriptions of gendered issues (reading from their face expressions) while male participants were entirely unconcerned.
WHO?
Recommendations
Be prepared to use alternative approaches such as choosing a different interviewee, refraining from recording to guarantee confidentiality, contacting people by different ways i.e. mail, phone, in person, conducting an individual interview instead of the focus group interview
Combine activities and tasks of different Work Packages in order to save time and energy
Work with competent, influential external experts
Build networks in and outside the organization among those who are interested or engaged in gender equality
Keep gender equality issues on the organizational agenda and make gender initiatives more visible
Provide and make visible up-to-date quantitative data on gender equality indicators in the organization
Develop measures for ensuring a commitment to gender mainstreaming and an organizational culture that values gender equality
Create/support awards/prizes/recognitions for disseminating gender awareness/equality
Provide evidence about the success of interventions related to gender issues.
Resistance From New Head Of Department
In one of the FESTA tasks, we have collaborated with the Head of Department. S/he decided to do this task and has been interested in improving the possibilities of women to be part of decision-making processes. However, when a new head of department was appointed the key actions were aborted. The new head of department is positive to recruiting more women. For him/her "gender equality" is very much about numbers of women and men S/he did not want to implement all the actions we had agreed on with the former head. We sent him/her both the action plan and citations chosen from the interviews to illustrate the origin of the actions. We also explained how the task is related to gender equality. The appointment of a new Head of Department overthrew all the work done on this task. Management people can support some kinds of actions for gender equality, while they may not feel comfortable with conducting others.
Low Interest In Workshops
The local FESTA team had announced workshops about excellence at two departments. At one department, the invitation was sent out by the Head about two months in advance and a reminder one week before by an administrator. At the other department, both invitations were sent out by an administrator. From each department only two women came. We do not know how much this was about resistance, and how much just about low priority. It is very much in contrast to another meeting at the other department, where the Head had invited us to meet research leaders during one hour of their ordinary meeting, and where we had a very good discussion. Besides, the same Head had told us that we would not get people to the open workshop, because they do not usually come to any extra meetings (which s/he also gave as the reason for not sending the open invitation). So, we would rather regard this as low priority than open resistance, at least at this department. Compared to this response and thinking back it is interesting to note that, even if we had some problems of finding interviewees, it was not that difficult, i.e. people had the time to let themselves be interviewed, but not the time to come and find out about the results.
WHO?
Recommendations
Be prepared to use alternative approaches such as choosing a different interviewee, refraining from recording to guarantee confidentiality, contacting people by different ways i.e. mail, phone, in person, conducting an individual interview instead of the focus group interview
Combine activities and tasks of different Work Packages in order to save time and energy
Utilize regular meetings or other/formal events of the organization to address people who are not willing to join specific project meetings
Give priority to reach people whom you already know in different departments as well as those engaged in gender equality
Mismatch Of Gender Policy And Gender Reality
In our country, universities, which can show convincingly that they try to implement gender equality by describing gender structures and measures that are to contribute to advancing gender equality at the university, obtain a certificate. Currently, our university participated for the fourth time. When analyzing and evaluating all the gender equality measures and structures at the university, it becomes clear that in all areas of gender equality like personal and organizational development, reconciliation of science and family, gender policies, organizational culture, research and education, and finally ethical and sexual harassment and violence, there have been many measures and comprehensive structures for many years. But at the same time, there is hardly any advancement in regard to the numbers during the last decade concerning the female proportion at different levels of a scientific career – especially in the STEM subjects. Only on the level of professorships, there has been a clear increase over the last ten years. However, in some cases this increase is linked to limited contracts. All in all, it can be concluded that there is some kind of standstill and only little change in the organization; in particular, the faculties. This hints at a kind of subtle resistance in the organization. Theoretically, gender equality is fostered and it seems that there is more awareness at the cultural level (especially with regard to family issues) but at the same time no real change is achieved. One of the reasons for this standstill seems to be the ignorance and indifference of people towards gender equality. It is not really seen as an important matter that one should be interested or engage in.





 
Recommendations
Keep gender equality issues on the organizational agenda and make gender initiatives more visible
Provide and make visible up-to-date quantitative data on gender equality indicators in the organization
Organize enthusiastic kick-off meetings to engage the whole institution
Map the institution/people and the context better
Involve people with strong positional power, commitment and willingness in the project teams
Work with competent, influential external experts
DISSEMINATION
Participation in Big Events
We wanted to disseminate FESTA during a very important and big event organized in our city open to the citizens and to a wide audience nationally. Our institution is always present with a kiosk for dissemination of our activities. This seemed to us a perfect occasion to also disseminate the FESTA project. Therefore, we contacted the reference person of the kiosk asking if we could prepare some material about FESTA to be distributed during the event. S/he liked the idea and suggested that we should prepare a poster and also design a small project proposal to be presented to the audience related to dissemination activities in the secondary schools. After all this work, the reference person changed his/her mind and decided that the kiosk was not a suitable place where to present the FESTA poster and the related project. Not even a simple FESTA's brochure was accepted to be placed at the kiosk.
WHO?
Recommendations
Employ different strategies such as personal contact, altering the characteristics of the source, nature or content of the message itself
Find external influential sponsors that can create positive impact inside and outside of the institution and contribute to the prestige of the project
Use a positive and encouraging language and clear, attractive, comparative information (e.g. data, findings, etc.) in in all the communication processes
Introduce the project more as an endeavor dealing with the general university environment rather than solely with gender or women
Choose The Right Way To Communicate
A female researcher wrote an e-mail to the FESTA team to express her disapproval about the way we promoted an event. The event was described like this: "...imagine together strategies and possible actions towards the achievement of a vision and an assessment of excellence not discriminatory but respectful of gender differences". In her opinion we shouldn't use the term 'gender' inside the communication because this word contributes to creating stereotypes and increasing the differences between men and women instead of demolishing them. For this reason, she decided to not take part in the event.
WHO?
Recommendations
Employ different strategies such as personal contact, altering the characteristics of the source, nature or content of the message itself
Find external influential sponsors that can create positive impact inside and outside of the institution and contribute to the prestige of the project
Use a positive and encouraging language and clear, attractive, comparative information (e.g. data, findings, etc.) in in all the communication processes
Introduce the project more as an endeavor dealing with the general university environment rather than solely with gender or women
Involve people with strong positional power, commitment and willingness in the project teams
Work with competent, influential external experts
Keep gender equality issues on the organizational agenda and make gender initiatives more visible
Provide and make visible up-to-date quantitative data on gender equality indicators in the organization
Develop measures for ensuring a commitment to gender mainstreaming and an organizational culture that values gender equality
Map the institution/people and the context better
Official Communication To (Male-Dominated) Groups
During the weekly meeting of the board of the center's Research Leaders, the director of the department mentions the projects that succeeded in getting funding from EU and congratulates the proponents. The FESTA project was ignored on that occasion, although the director should have known about it.

I believe there was a resistance because FESTA is a gender based project. I have the impression that it is still difficult to talk aloud freely about gender aspects (e.g. diversity management) in our board. Nevertheless, it is not the case when talking individually with some of the members of the board.



WHO?
Recommendations
Provide evidence about the success of interventions related to gender issues.
Utilize current national developments, events, policies regarding gender equality for the project initiatives,
Enhance the gender awareness and willingness to dedicate more resources of the university management by organizing trainings/briefings by male and female gender experts
Keep gender equality issues on the organizational agenda and make gender initiatives more visible
Provide and make visible up-to-date quantitative data on gender equality indicators in the organization
Develop measures for ensuring a commitment to gender mainstreaming and an organizational culture that values gender equality
Reach Out To The Schools
In May we had the idea to organize a dissemination initiative of FESTA at secondary schools. The goal was to introduce secondary-school pupils to research as a profession, highlighting, among the others, barriers that girls could face in their careers. The initiative was accepted but the way this happened has been tortuous and it was opposed since the beginning. Our institution's reference person for this kind of assistance (although the introduction of initiatives was quite enthusiastic), did not offer full support for this project as s/he did for the other initiatives. I think there was a suspect towards gender oriented projects, but mainly uncertainty about the reactions of our institution's governance to this initiative. The approach to our initiative changed as soon as a secondary-school director got in contact with our institution's reference person to ask to support our initiative.
Recommendations
Employ different strategies such as personal contact, altering the characteristics of the source, nature or content of the message itself
Use a positive and encouraging language and clear, attractive, comparative information (e.g. data, findings, etc.) in in all the communication processes
Introduce the project more as an endeavor dealing with the general university environment rather than solely with gender or women
Establish contacts with key persons (role models, position holders, etc.) and strategic units (HR departments, staff units for personnel development, etc.
Build networks in and outside the organization among those who are interested or engaged in gender equality