While the number of female students is increasing in Europe, women are still underrepresented in the fields of research and science. The European Commission established the Helsinki Group on Gender in Research and Innovation (HG) in 1999 as an advisory group to help to overcome this disadvantage of women in these fields. The HG consists of representatives from Member States and Associated Countries and has the following tasks:
- Bringing forward equality between women and men in the fields of research and innovation in Europe
- Strengthening the dialogue and exchange best practices on the measures and policies for the promotion of women in science and research at local, regional, national and European level
- Supporting and advising the European Commission in the preparation of comparable gender equality related statistics and indicators.
The Role of the Helsinki Group in the European Research Area
In the year 2000, the European Commission published a Communication establishing a European Research Area (ERA). In order to implement a European internal market for knowledge, the role of the Helsinki Group as a supportive and advisory board to the European Commission has been enhanced insofar as the Helsinki Group is now in charge of monitoring the implementation of the gender priority (gender equality and gender mainstreaming in research) as stated in the ERA Communication. The Helsinki Group will also work more closely together with ERAC, the committee responsible for monitoring the development of ERA. The implementation of the gender priority, however, lies within the responsibility of each Member State.
The Helsinki Group holds biannual meetings, mostly in Brussels. The group is co-chaired by the European Commission together with the rotating presidency of the European Union. Therefore, the country holding the presidency acts as vice-chair and organises/hosts the HG meetings together with the EC. The HG prepares position papers regarding Horizon 2020. It also supports and advises the EC on monitoring the progress of the implementation of ERA, and it prepares the She Figures, together with the statistical correspondents.
Here you can find the Mandate of the Helsinki Group:
Ms. ROBERTA SCHALLER-STEIDL, Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy
Ms. SILVIA NEUMANN, Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology
Ms. GABRIELE SPÖRKER, Statistics Austria
Mr. DIETER BAUMANN, Statistics Austria