On 11 March 2021, EQUAL4EUROPE organised online the “Training on Raising Gender Awareness – 1”. The training was delivered by Prof. Alfons Sauquet, Director of EFMD Quality Services and EQUIS and moderated by Dr. Christophe Terrasse, Director of EFMD International Projects. 

The session offered unique insights in the “backstage” of an accreditation and on whether quality assurance bodies emphasise gender equality as part of an institution’s quality improvement. The seminar discussed with the participants:

  • can accreditations trigger progress in the matter?
  • what are the parallels and lessons learned from the “social responsibility” and “ethics” standards?

During the session it become apparent that quality accreditations are not doing enough to trigger progress in the matter. Accreditations were not designed to explore, investigate or highlight Gender Equality. As a result, few standards are included in the existing quality schemes while Gender Equality is rarely a characteristic of the quality review process itself.

At the same time, the numbers say that universities themselves, when they are given the opportunity to highlight their strengths and qualities in their self-assessments, they seem to ignore, downplay or completely skip such issues.

The session made clear that accreditations can indeed highlight the issue. There are tools to do so, from developing relevant quality standards to enforcing the quality review procedures. However, universities must do their best to make this issue priority in terms of quality and press to keep the conversation running.

In 2023, the EQUAL4EUROPE partners will work on a proposal for the integration of gender equality indicators in the assessment schemes used by quality assurance agencies. Conclusions from this session will be included in the upcoming EQUAL4EUROPE proposal. 

The event was organised by EFMD & ESMT and was open only to members of the consortium.