International consortium tackles gender inequality in business and management schools

Two women and a man working alongside each other at computers

A new international project aims to tackle gender inequality issues in business and management schools.

The four-year Transparent and Resilient Gender Equality through Integrated Monitoring, Planning and Implementation (TARGETED-MPI), funded by the EC Horizon 2020 programme, will establish a European Network of Gender Equality Observatories to ensure the long-term sustainability of gender equality activities and initiatives.

TARGETED-MPI starts in September and involves researchers from Lancaster University Management School (LUMS), Athens University of Economics and Business (AUEB), Stockholm School of Economics, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, the American University of Beirut and Brunel University. It will address gender equality issues in Business and Management Schools across Europe and beyond.

The LUMS team of Professors Claire Leitch and Valerie Stead and Drs Robyn Remke and Sophie Alkhaled, of the Academy for Gender, Work and Leadership have received €650,000 of funding.

The overall €2.5m project, led by AUEB, will build knowledge and understanding of gender inequality in business and management schools. It will improve equality in academic careers, boosting the presence of women in junior and senior positions, increasing female participation in decision-making bodies, such as grant committees, and promoting gender awareness in research and innovation.

Professor Leitch said: “We want to improve gender equality for academics working in business and management schools. It is not just in terms of numbers employed, it is also to achieve greater gender parity in positions of influence– it should never be assumed that gender does not matter when making strategic decisions.”

The universities in the consortium are at different stages of thinking about gender equality and have different experiences. These culturally diverse institutions provides a unique forum for exchanging knowledge and insights to develop and enhance gender equality initiatives.

Professor Stead said: “As key stakeholders in our local and national economies, business and management schools are well-positioned to not only shape the development of inclusive cultures in organisations but to influence national and global policy and research agendas and support the wider society they serve. To do this effectively and with authority, it is vital they understand the impact of their own processes and practices.”

The complex nature and multi-disciplinary nature of Business and Management (B&M) schools constitutes an important research context in which to develop an in-depth understanding of the key structural and cultural challenges embedded in everyday practice.

Project coordinator Professor Eleni Apospori, of the Athens University of Economics and Business, said: “TARGETED-MPI focuses on institutional change through the development and effective implementation of Gender Equality Plans (GEPs) in B&M schools to drive more inclusive, sustainable and transparent academic cultures.

“To this end, we have secured the support of senior and middle managers at each participating institution to ensure and facilitate institutional capacity-building and smooth implementation of GEPs.”

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