Research evidence shows that contrary to the often-held assumption that science is gender-neutral, in fact, science knowledge has more evidence for men than for women; research outcomes are frequently worse for women than for men; and men continue to secure majority of top-level jobs in science; and the majority of research funding.
Numerous studies published in the last decade have demonstrated the importance of including biological, social and environmental factors as primary research variables in studies of phenomena that directly or indirectly involve females and males, as a matter of scientific excellence.
The relationship between gender equality and research quality, and the need for action through scientific consensus, has been the main goal of the Gender Summit platform since it was established in 2011 to enable multi-stakeholder dialogue on gender issue in science leading to an agreement on what improvements were called for.
In 2010 during the genSET Project, coordinated by Portia Ltd, a panel of science leaders who examined available gender research evidence to see if and how gender mattered to science. They identified a range of common gender problems, which required action because they impacted on the quality of
- science knowledge making;
- scientific human capital;
- institutional practices and processes; and
- implementation of regulation.
This consensus led to the creation of the Gender Summit where scientists, gender scholars and policy makers could jointly discuss available research evidence and agree where improvements were needed. Originally set up for the European science community, the Gender Summit has subsequently expanded to North America, Africa, and Asia Pacific and become a catalyst for development of communities of researchers, policy makers, and professionals from universities, research institutes, research funding organisations, research journals and science publishers, policy-making bodies, civil society, and industry.
The Summit provides a mechanism for linking individuals and communities in and across different regions and science sectors to engage in joint and transformative actions targeting shared needs.