About Us

Gender Summit is not a conference in a traditional sense, it is a mission-oriented platform for evidence-led dialogue involving researchers, scholars, educators, policy makers, and stakeholders in science endeavours. The overarching theme is Quality through Equality. The purpose is to identify sources and consequences of biases and gaps in research evidence, science knowledge, and science practice that put into question claims of scientific excellence. A common source of gender-related bias in research is the historical underrepresentation of women as researchers and research subjects, and the widespread use of the ‘male’ as the norm in biology and behaviour studies, in animals and humans. The consequence has been that quality of research outcomes has been often poorer for women than for men, but also sometime the other way around, e.g., in breast cancer and osteoporosis studies which assumed the ‘female’ to be the norm.

Gender Summit was created in 2011 as an outcome from a project, genSET, funded by the 7th EU Framework Programme. The project involved a series of consensus seminars where 14 science leaders from across Europe examined over 120 empirical studies that included analysis of sex/gender differences, and consulted leading scholars on gender issues in science, to answer the question “Does Gender Matter to Science?”. Their conclusion and 13 recommendations where improvements were needed have been published in 2010 as a report “Recommendations for Action on Gender Dimension in Science”. The recommendations were framed by the questions How European Science Can Benefit from Integrated Action on Gender?

The report was a Call to Action in four priority areas of the gender dimension in science:

  1. science knowledge making
  2. development of human capital
  3. institutional practices and processes
  4. regulation and compliance with genderÔÇÉrelated processes and practices. The overarching recommendation was that all four areas should be included within an overall institutional science strategy. The continued aim of the Gender Summit platform is to help bring about the necessary improvements by sharing new evidence, creating scientific and multi-stakeholder consensus on what specific actions are needed and who should take them, and bringing the relevant stakeholders together to advise to policy development and implementation.

The second Gender Summit event was hosted in 2012 by the European Parliament, just ahead of the launch of the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme. To inform policy makers at the Parliament about gender issues an A-Z summary was produced on How European Science Can Benefit from Integrated Action on Gender. In addition, since political decisions are often focused on economic benefits rather than scientific excellence, an additional report was produced From Ideas to Markets: The Gender Factor, to show examples how understanding sex/gender differences can open-up new markets for science knowledge. In 2014, the fourth Gender Summit was hosted by the European Parliament, and for this event a more extended and research-focused A-Z guide was produced on Why Gender Matters in R&I with Focus on Horizon 2020.

Since 2011, several regional Gender Summit platforms were established beyond Europe, covering countries in North America, Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia Pacific. Globally, to-date, this has resulted in 24 Gender Summit events with 50 days of dialogue involving some 2000 expert speakers, and 10,000 participants.

In the process, and especially after 2015 when gender issues related to SDGs were integrated into the mission of Gender Summit, the dialogue expanded to cover gender equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) as tools for advancing quality across institutional practices, human capital development, standards and regulations, and science knowledge making.

For the 24th Gender Summit, a third A-Z guide was produced to demonstrate evolving good practice in adopting EDI values with demonstrable benefits for scientific excellence.