Gender equality is a fundamental pillar of societal progress, fostering diversity, inclusivity, and the general well-being of communities. Since the education sector plays a huge role in a child’s primary socialization, it is important that gender equality is a huge focus within education.The Faculty of Communication at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) recognizes the significance of gender equality and actively promotes it through its academic programs and institutional initiatives. To this end, the UAB improves its international and global cooperation through various organizations and research departments.The UAB, committed to advancing gender equality, has achieved the status as 7th university in the world that reduces inequalities. As a beacon of education and research, UAB is a transformative force in prioritizing gender equality within educational institutions.
Policies and Initiatives
UAB is a pioneer in gender equality policies and is committed to making sure that gender equality is a priority. The university is for example included in the FP7 EGERA Project, and is listed as number 1 in providing as many gender equality-based courses as possible.
There have also been several Action Plans to ensure that everyone – regardless of gender – has equal opportunities and treatment. Nowadays, UAB abides by The IV Action Plan for Gender Equality, approved in 2019. It builds on plans from previous years and focuses among other things on making sure everyone can access education and job opportunities fairly. The plan also wants to address challenges, like including perspectives from the LGBTI community, tackling sexism and gender violence, and making sure the plan is put into action effectively. It’s a way for the university to show it’s committed to fairness and equality for everyone.
The UAB also ranks 11th university in the world for its efforts in creating an inclusive and equitable environment that actively promotes gender equality. Therefore, the UAB Observatory for Equality offers various activities and workshops that focus on internalizing an equal gender perspective (course 2023-2024). This course includes topics such as sexist communication and gender perspective in a university setting. All topics are approached from an academic, professional and participatory field. For example, Viviane from the faculty of communication at UAB says
I feel the UAB policies, workshops and gender trainings help students further understand the greater good of educationViviane
To promote participation in these workshops and activities, the university recognizes 2 ECTS credits for students who participate. Charlotte from the faculty of communication says:
» It is an extra incentive for me personally that the university recognizes credits for students who make an effort to participate in these workshops»Charlotte
Still, Gabriel from the faculty of communication felt that:
«despite these workshops and activities being clarified on the website, I personally feel that the university should advertise this even more since, as an Erasmus student, I knew nothing about this.»Gabriel
The project ‘UAB free of gender violence’, started in 2013 implements specific methodologies in its gender training programs that will equip participating students with skills that can detect and avoid sexual harassment or gender-sexual violence as well as increasing informed students on these problems.
A research conducted in November 2021 revealed some interesting numbers about the current point of view of the employees at the UAB. Based on the surveys, a Gender Equality Policy was created, consisting of five key strategies.
The first aims to ensure a balanced representation of female and non-binary scientists. With the current ratio standing at 54% female and 46% male, the UAB emphasizes equal presence in groups like PhDs and Postdocs, while actively promoting leadership roles and improving working conditions.
The second addresses work conditions and work-life balance, aiming for fair contracts and equal pay.
The third focuses on raising awareness about gender inequalities, since the survey revealed that mainly women and non-binary employees have a perception of gender inequality at the office.
Additionally, UAB advocates for non-sexist inclusive language and a gender perspective in communication.
Lastly, efforts are directed at preventing discrimination and harassment, but only 36% of employees know where to seek help in such situation
Professor Arantza Danes Vilallonga, lecturer in the field of Leadership and Negotiation Skills, expressed the viewpoint that there exists a considerable number of training sessions and workshops for educators, which are also extensively promoted. Subsequently, she conveyed that each workshop is consistently announced belatedly, leading to a notably low level of participation, preventing teachers such as herself from engaging in these workshops. Nevertheless, she held the opinion:
«I still find it remarkably refreshing that each workshop is recorded, and every video is made available; this way, I am pleased to follow along.»Arantza Danes Vilallonga