Inclusivity and Innovation: Pioneering Gender Equality through Research

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Group of female colleagues working together in modern office setting


Jana Dilger | Research Analyst
Maj Reuss | Research Communications Officer

Date: 8 March 2024

On International Women’s Day – which celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women – we are taking a closer look at how a gender perspective can be mainstreamed into the work we do here at Trilateral Research. With much research still being gender blind or gender biased – meaning research does not consider the different roles and diverse needs of women (let alone, for instance, non-binary people) and maintaining the status quo – this is as important as ever.

Gender Mainstreaming Explained

In short, gender mainstreaming is a strategy, an approach, and a means to achieve gender equality. It is a way to make women’s and men’s concerns and experiences an integral dimension of the design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of all types of policies and programmes. This helps ensure everyone benefits equally and inequality is not perpetuated. Additionally, gender mainstreaming should always aim to be intersectional. Intersectionality – a term created to reflect how Black women face both racism and sexism – acknowledges that women and men are not homogeneous groups with single aims and needs. Rather, different parts of our identity (such as our sexual orientation, ethnicity, or social status) shape the types of opportunities we have access to and challenges we face.

Practical Steps for Inclusive Research

While there is no one-size-fits-all strategy for mainstreaming gender, there are tools research projects can incorporate – such as those suggested by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE). It is important to understand and consider gender perspectives throughout the whole project cycle – and the EIGE provides an oversight of relevant and useful tools to do just that. This includes collating disaggregated sex and gender data as part of the planning, implementation, and evaluation of policies, programmes, and projects as well as conducting stakeholder consultations on gender. Stakeholder consultations on gender promote the participation of women and men in the decision-making process to ensure that their voices are heard, and that their priorities are reflected.

Another crucial tool of gender mainstreaming are the so-called gender impact assessments which explore, for example, whether a policy reduces, maintains, or increases gender inequalities between women and men. Relevant to all the above is using gender-sensitive language (as well as images). This requires avoiding talking in generic masculine terms and avoiding excluding women or reflecting stereotyped assumptions about gender roles. OXFAM has put together a helpful guide on inclusive language.

Overall, any planned action should aim to be gender responsive or gender transformative. While gender responsive programming includes specific action to try and reduce gender inequalities, gender transformative programming is completely designed to address the root causes of gender inequality.

Our Journey towards Gender-Inclusive Research and Technology

At Trilateral Research, thinking about gender is particularly relevant when developing AI tools and researching emerging and innovative technologies. Digital technologies often amplify and intensify pre-existing inequalities. Gender mainstreaming can help for instance with preventing and detecting gender biases in tech.

Trilateral Research’s Jana Dilger conducted tailored gender mainstreaming workshops for all of our six research Clusters over the last six months. The aim of these workshops was firstly, to raise awareness, and, secondly, to start thinking about how our projects can adapt, improve, and provide better solutions by utilising tools of gender mainstreaming.

The workshops were tailored thematically to the various research Clusters which cover Cybersecurity Research; Crisis and Security; Climate, Environment and Energy; Health, Law Enforcement and Community Safeguarding, and Ethics, Human Rights and Emerging Technologies. Together, we identified and discussed challenges to incorporate a gender perspective into our project work, as well as best practices and opportunities.

You can find out more about Trilateral’s ongoing projects with a gender and – more broadly – an inclusion component here: CCINDLE, REAL DEAL, and VERITY, as well as past projects: TECHETHOS, PREPARE and GEARING-Roles.

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