TRIGGER | About us | Background
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The TRIGGER project addresses a relevant topic in today’s academic world: the underrepresentation of women in some disciplines (the STEMM sector: science, technology, engineering, medicine and mathematics) and at the highest levels of academic careers. A similar situation is present also in the professional world, with a shortage of women in management positions and in the areas related to science and technology.

The European Commission regularly monitors the situation of women in academia, and publishes data in She Figures reports. The last report, published in 2012, underlines that women remain a minority in scientific research (33% in all fields, with significant variations across fields). More importantly, even if data indicate that the number of women gaining a PhD is growing faster than that of men, this does not translate into an equivalent increase in women in senior academic position.It also highlights that the significant under-representation of women in management boards and in senior academic positions does not permit them to adequately participate in the research agenda and contributes to perpetuate the gender imbalance. For these reasons it is essential to address gender inequality through targeted measures and action plans.

TRIGGER builds on the expertise of earlier projects funded under the 7th Framework programme, such as PRAGES (Practising Gender Equality in Science) and the running project STAGES (Structural Transformation to Achieve Gender Equality in Science). PRAGES builds on comparative studies among Europe, North America and Australia to design a set of guidelines for fostering gender equality in science, and provides a database of good practices for addressing gender imbalance. STAGES aims to increase the participation and career advancement of women researchers and has a specific focus on fostering organisational change.

At Birkbeck, TRIGGER builds on the commitment to the Athena SWAN Charter to advance gender equality in UK higher education sector. Athena SWAN assigns awards to higher education institutions supporting gender equality: institutions can apply for a Bronze, Silver, or Gold award, and these awards are assigned depending on the commitment and achievements in boosting women careers.