In their roles as sponsors of research, reviewers of research proposals, and evaluators of research laboratories, academies have opportunities to show leadership on gender issues and ensure that good management practice is being followed. For example, when academies form panels to evaluate the performance of research institutes, they must include in their criteria the working conditions of women and other minority staff of the institute being evaluated. It is preferable, moreover, for such panels to be mixed-gender, receive diversity training prior to their visits, and include a member with expertise in diversity issues.
Academies must also be sensitive to the nature of the research itself. In some fields—life sciences, sociology, anthropology —the gender of the researcher may affect the choice of the research topic, how the research is carried out, the interpretation of its results, and the ways in which these results are applied. Academies sponsoring research and evaluating research proposals must therefore pay serious attention to the influence of the researcher’s gender on the proposed work, as well as to the differential impacts of that research on women and men. By encouraging mixed-gender research teams and by including both women and men on evaluation panels, academies are helping to assure that results are as free as possible of gender bias. In this way, too, they are setting examples for other funding bodies to emulate.
Members of the IAC