Harvey Evans

Thank you to my colleagues for their inputs. One thing that this thread underlines is the need for context and the different political and cultural situations in different countries, which directly affect the situation in any institution.

Gender Equality in Spain
On the situation in Spain, having a GEP has been mandatory by state law since 2016, but this was not enforced. New legislation in 2019 and 2020 considerably reinforces the requirement and inspections and penalties for not complying are now contemplated. These laws also enshrine a requirement to produce salary tables and a complex evaluation of job positions to provide detailed information on gender pay gaps, and gender representation in hierarchies. No resources are provided (beyond guidelines and excel template tools) so it remains to be seen how this will function. RPOs are further motivated by the Horizon Europe requirements and these tools will be useful for monitoring and data collection, but they are not easy and are very time-consuming to apply. Spanish legislation says nothing about gender dimension in scientific research and in general centres here are behind on this issue. It is not included in our GEP, for example.

Domestic Violence in Spain
Just a note on violence, the Spanish government records acts of violence against women and keeps tally of women killed in domestic violence attacks. This means the tally is constantly reported, keeping domestic violence in the public eye.

A Work-life Balance Issue in our Institute
In our institution the same issues for homeworking, both during lockdown and after, regarding the pandemic apply. Our Women in Science Working Group collected data and found similar patterns on our campus (fewer papers published, grants applied for, news appearances regarding the pandemic -we do a lot of covid research- by female researchers than male counterparts.

There are no guidelines for teleworking at the institute and each research group and support department makes up their own rules. Those doing most work from home are women and mothers, anecdotally they are stigmatized and accused of slacking while men benefit from visibility bias. A Spanish law was introduced hurriedly in 2020, but only recognizes 3 days or more working from home as teleworking. The law requires companies to supply employees who are teleworking with resources (IT equipment and compensation for power and heating bills), due to this many companies are only allowing 2 days working from home each week.

Human Resources were blamed for our lack of guidelines but the Head of HR recently informed me that the proposal for our teleworking guidelines has been on the managing director’s desk since March 2021.

I now suspect that this is a deliberate act of stalling, partly due to an unwillingness to have to provide resources. I suspect home-working at our institute is a highly gendered issue, so this could be construed as resistance. It is not wholly institutional resistance, as the directors are behind gender equality on paper and in many actions; it could be personal resistance. My conclusion is that this issue should be taken up by the Equality Committee, who should immediately request a working session to try to unblock this situation and obtain a statement from the managing director on the timeline for our guidelines.

I apologize for the length of this post!