Well, not only did I not get my pocket ‘picked’, but I also did not fall drunk from a balcony (an activity known as ‘balconing’ apparently) – despite the risk assessment warnings to the contrary. These were the main dangers against which I had to sign a disclaimer for on my recent Fusion funded (SMN) trip to Barcelona. Once there (and how nice to actually see the sun!) I actually spent most of the daytime meeting people and learning stuff – at the European Conference on Politics and Gender.
There were two major issues and outcomes of this trip for me. The first was information about gender becoming an integrated part of the Horizon 2020 research agenda. Work being done under the COST programme is promoting the agenda that all research bids submitted under the Horizon 2020 umbrella have a gendered dimension; that research must consider the impacts on women as well as men. (This has also recently been noted in the THES). This is important and significant progress for both scientific innovations and more broadly, for anyone who has a sense of social justice!
The second aspect and outcome for me, was to the opportunity to meet potential contributors for a forthcoming issue of European Political Science that I am co-editing. The symposium concerns the status of women in political science, who, like other disciplines in the UK, are highly under-represented at senior levels. For example, despite over 50% of undergraduate students being female, recent stats by HESA show that women represent only 20.5% of the professoriate. These statistics suggest that we really need to be asking – what is going on? How does such a disparity exist? I have already done some qualitative research around this area – (for a popular summary see women universities and zombies). The main focus of our co-edited journal symposium however, is the status of women in political science across Europe. Contributions will come from Scandinavia, Italy, Germany and Spain, as well as the UK. Our aim is to first map where women are in the discipline, to consider cultural differences and similarities, and to discuss what we can do to increase equality of representation between men and women across all levels of political science (with lessons for academia more widely and beyond). If you are interested in this work either directly, or in terms of the broader issues it raises, please do contact me on email@example.com