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10th conference on Gender Equality in Higher Education

In August 2018, Trinity College in Dublin welcomed hundreds of gender equality practitioners, researchers, policy makers and administrators to this three-day biennial conference focused on gender in academia and research.

This year’s theme was countering persistent and emerging challenges to equality. SDU’s Gender Equality Team GET attended the conference as did several members of SDU’s International Gender Advisory Board – Mathias Wullum Nielsen was among the key note speakers.

The conference was opened by an engaging welcome from the Minister of State at the Department of Education, Mary Mitchell O’Conner.

Anna Wahl delivered inspiring insights from the work with gender mainistreaming at the KTH Royal Institutoe of Technology in Sweden, and Fiona Jenkins from the Australian National University introduced reflections on the possible pitfalls, practices of priviledge and power struggles when working with e.g. perceptions of equality.

Key note Fiona Jenkins at Trinity College

Mathias Wullum Nielsen's key note focused recruitment processes, with reflections on how standardized performance measures and symbolic boundary work may counter stated intentions to improve gender equality.

In between key notes, multiple panel discussions and parallel sessions kept the conference participants engaged. Interactions with private companies, collaborations with society, securing and disseminating gender equality data, sharing experiences across institutions to counter resistance and cultures of ignorance, and the impotance of accountability and persistence were some of the recurring themes.  As part of the conference's social program, former President of Ireland and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson hosted an evening dinner.

GET presented their experiences working with recruitment processes during a parallel session, and had a lively discussion on the perceived dichotomy between standardized and exceptional procedures for hiring academics – and where and how more inclusive procedures can and should be employed to secure a more diverse staff. 

Exchanging experiences with working with gender equality in academia is crucial to gather new inspiration and learning what works across contexts and institutions, and participating in this international conference provided new and qualified insights to GET's and SDU's continuous gender equality endeavors. 

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