Interview SRC as GENDER-NET Plus WP2 leader

After the success of the GENDER-NET Plus co-funded call, illustrated through the high number of pre-proposals received, our colleagues from the Swedish Research Council, Marianne Hall and Carl Jacobsson, in charge of the preparation and the launch of the call, provide their outlook.

Swedish Research Council, as GENDER-NET Plus leader of the Work Package 2, was in charge of the preparation and the launch of the call. Could you explain why the topics covered by this joint call are so important?

The integration of sex and gender analysis into research content gives new knowledge and insights, which ultimately will benefit both women and men. The sex and gender dimension is critical to fully understand the urgent societal challenges we are facing. The GENDER-NET Plus call is focused on three of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): SDG 3 Good health and well-being, SDG 9 Infrastructure, Industrialization and Innovation, and SDG 13 Climate Action.

A consideration of sex and gender is fundamental when striving for healthy lives and well-being for all at all ages. An individual’s sex (biological differences between males and females) as well as socially-constructed gender norms and relations influence the individual’s mental and physical health, as well as access to health services.

In order to achieve an inclusive and sustainable development, for both women and men, we need a better understanding of the role of gender in technology and innovation. This is important not the least when developing technological solutions for environmentally sound industrialization.

Women commonly face higher risks and greater burdens from the impacts of climate change in situations of poverty, and the majority of the world’s poor are women. Although women, as a group, in many countries have a lower climate impact and higher vulnerability towards climate change effects such as extreme weather events and related natural disasters, women’s unequal participation in decision-making processes compound inequalities and often prevent women from fully contributing to climate-related planning, policy-making and implementation.


What do you expect from the projects selected in the framework of this co-funded call?

All projects funded by the GENDER-NET Plus initiative will contribute to new, innovative, comparative, critical and interdisciplinary approaches and methods which will produce new knowledge concerning these important topics.  In addition to new knowledge in the topics of gender and health, we look forward to new insights regarding gender and new technologies and gender and climate action. We are looking forward to have our own preconceptions challenged and, indeed, to be surprised by the results of the research.


Could you share some lessons you have learnt as leaders of the preparation and launch of the call?

The inclusion of sex and gender into research concerning societal challenges indeed engages the partners in the consortium. Many of the partners volunteered to work with the selection of research topics and gave valuable input to the formulation of the call. To reach a reasonable consensus among 16 partners from 13 countries the process should be as transparent as possible, with several possibilities for the partners to contribute.

It was an intense period of work with the call and the call text. The time-frame was quite short, and the European Commission scrutinized the call text carefully before giving permission to publish the call.