Cultural and institutional change – triggering gender equality in research organisations and universities


Established in 2015 with the triple goal of supporting awareness raising, networking, and experience sharing, the Working Group for Change, run by the National Contact Centre for Gender and Science, is a platform to build competences for implementing cultural and institutional changes for gender equality in Czech academia. Today, it brings together more than 50 people from research funding and performing organizations – universities, institutes of the Academy of Sciences, research centres, grant agencies and bodies of the state administration.

Four workshops were organized in 2016: one to address support for promoting women to leadership positions, the second on gender equality policy in the EU which featured the deputy prime minister for science, research, and innovation, the director of the Research and Development department from the Minister of Education and the chairwoman of the Helsinki Group on Gender in Research and Innovation, an advisory group to the Commission and the Council.

The third workshop aimed to share good practices and contribute to mutual learning among different research environments. The Working Group invited Gary Loke, a senior policy officer from the Equality Challenge Unit in the UK, to talk about the experience of implementing and overcoming resistances in the UK Athena Swan. Gary Loke emphasized that despite the differences in working conditions in Czech and British academic and research communities, both countries deal with similar problems as far as gender equality is concerned: low proportion of women among professors, the leaky pipeline in academia, horizontal segregation etc.

The last workshop was related to a call for proposals recently launched by the Ministry of Education under the Operational Programme Science, Research, Education, which aims at strategic development of institutions in the field of human resources development and gender equality. A condition for applying for the funding is that the applicant apply for the HR Award in the first year of the project, and implement an institutional strategy for the development of human resources, including gender equality. This is the first action taken by the Czech State at national level to support structural change implementation.


In 2017 The Centre for Gender and Science provided support to representatives of research organizations and universities to launch and implement systematic support of gender equality.

The Centre staff offered individual consultation sessions to institutions that were interested in launching systemic support of gender equality. In 2017 the Centre helped the following organisations:

  • Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences
  • Technology Agency CR
  • Institute of Molecular Genetics of the Czech Academy of Sciences
  • Central European Institute of Technology of University of Technology Brno
  • Institute of Botany of the Czech Academy of Sciences

The Working Group for Change continued to develop competences and expertise of employees in institutions that foster gender equality as well as human resources management. Among these were people from various colleges and universities, institutes of the Czech Academy of Sciences, research centres, grant agencies and governmental bodies.

In 2017 these workshops and seminars took place:

10 January 2017 – workshop Gender Equality and Support of Junior Researchers in Research Institutions

2 May 2017 – workshop How to Communicate and Negotiate Gender Equality in Research

14 September 2017 – workshop People Management and Support of Gender Equality in Research

2 November 2017 seminar with international presence Cultural and Institutional Change Leads to Gender Equality: Experience in the Czech Republic and European Countries

A new publication Gender Equality In Your Research Institutions: How to Do It. Cultural and Institutional Change list practical instructions and recommendations how to start with a systemic support of gender equality in a research institution. It also contains examples of tools and measures of good practice in the Czech Republic. The publication is in the Czech language available online.