News | 30 April 2023

Gender equality at the ICM-CSIC: the staff perception


The results of a survey on the perception of gender equality among ICM staff reveal convergent opinions between women and men, but also important differences and nuances regarding some issues.

The Institute continues working to achieve real and effective equality between women and men in all areas / Jordi Camp (ICM-CSIC).
The Institute continues working to achieve real and effective equality between women and men in all areas / Jordi Camp (ICM-CSIC).

The Gender Equality Plan (2021-2024) (GEP) of the Institut de Ciències del Mar (ICM-CSIC-CISC) has just passed the halfway point of its implementation. During this period, numerous actions aimed at the institutionalization of gender equality as a cross-cutting principle in the work of the center have been implemented. Likewise, positive actions aimed at correcting situations of inequality or responding to specific needs and priorities of women have been carried out.

To measure the level of implementation of these actions and to know what progress is being made in achieving the expected results, and also to have reliable data for decision-making regarding possible adjustments to planning and/or identification of new needs that require new actions, a mid-term assessment of the GEP is underway.

As part of this assessment, a perception survey on gender equality among ICM-CSIC staff (and administrative staff attached to CMIMA) was carried out, covering the fields of intervention of the GEP. The survey asked for qualitative information on institutional culture, human resources management, remuneration policy, work-life balance, sexual and gender-based harassment, inclusive and non-sexist communication, and gender dimension in research. In addition, the survey, which was anonymous and voluntary, considered two additional areas: risk prevention and occupational health and safety. In total, 41.6% of the total staff participated. Of this participation, almost 60% were women.

In addition, the survey considered two additional areas: risk prevention and occupational health and safety. The survey, anonymous and voluntary, was responded by 41.6% of the total staff. Of this participation, almost 60% are women.

The results of the survey reveal converging views on the various topics between women and men, generally positive for almost all areas, but also important differences and nuances on some issues. There is a clearly positive perception regarding equal opportunities between women and men as a value of the ICM-CSIC culture, as well as in relation to the extent to which the center’s staff are part of that culture and adopt it. Issues such as equal access to training, equal pay or addressing sexual and gender-based harassment are also positively perceived, although, in all cases, the perception is more positive among men.

There is also significant agreement on the areas in which the main differences between the situation of women and men in the ICM-CSIC are found: access to positions of high responsibility, work-life balance, and possibilities for professional promotion. It is noted, though, that women have a more critical perception of these differences and identify a wider spectrum of inequalities.

Thus, for example, both women and men agree that working conditions in the ICM-CSIC facilitate the work-life balance; however, a higher percentage of women consider that there are clear differences in how women and men make use of work-life balance measures (which are clearly feminized), as well as a more negative perception regarding the impact that such use can have on the professional career of the people who avail of them.

Women also have a more negative perception in relation to equal opportunities in promotion, as well as in terms of the possibilities to occupy positions of responsibility and leadership (with gaps close to 20 percentage points). This perception tallies with an equally more critical view regarding the lack of equality in the distribution of tasks that are associated with greater professional prestige (which are perceived as masculinized), the workload of voluntary work in working groups and committees (which is feminized) or access to resources that allow better professional development.

Although with nuances, there is also an important agreement regarding the advantages of having a GEP, which for both women and men are wide-ranging: tackling discriminatory situations or inequalities that are occurring, improving the work environment, combating sexual and gender-based harassment, increase gender-balance among the staff or improve the use of the work-life balance measures for all staff.

The results of the survey, which reveal positive trends and advances in terms of equality in the ICM-CSIC, corroborate the timeliness of the actions defined in the GEP, designed after an extensive institutional diagnosis that allowed the identification of inequalities and gender gaps, and the determination of the factors that favor them. However, the results also point to the need to continue efforts to achieve real and effective equality between women and men in all areas. Knowing the reality from data and statistics, but also having people's perception of it, is the starting point for informed decision making.