Fostering collaborative approaches to gender equality interventions in higher education and research: the case of transnational and multi-institutional communities of practice
journal contributionposted on 2021-06-14, 10:51 authored by Ola Thomson, Rachel Palmen, Sybille Reidl, Sarah BarnardSarah Barnard, Sarah Beranek, Andrew Dainty, Tarek HassanTarek Hassan
Higher education and research and innovation in Europe continue to suffer from an indefensible waste of female talent and gender inequality. The European Commission recommends that these organizations adopt gender equality plans (GEPs) and other initiatives for institutional change. However, the levels of readiness, expertise, and experience with such interventions are wide-ranging across institutions and member states, thus collaborative approaches might be particularly valuable. Drawing on the experiences of transnational and multi-institutional communities of practice (CoPs) for gender equality (GE), we illuminate how the CoP approach supported change agents, who leveraged CoP membership to respond to challenges in promoting GE initiatives. Being part of collaborative, co-designed CoPs for learning, knowledge sharing, and institutional change provided external support to the change agents’ activism and allowed them to build legitimacy around GE work. CoP members leveraged this support through learning opportunities, knowledge transfer, sharing practice, political support, and solidarity from the CoP stakeholders. Findings also show that when CoPs were transnational, multiinstitutional, and interdisciplinary, their heterogeneity did raise some challenges in relation to the divergence of members’ contexts and geopolitical idiosyncrasies and that this should be considered when designing CoPs which transcend national and institutional boundaries.
European Union Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant [No 788204]
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