University and gender equality: commitment to social transformation
The #MeToo movement, started in the United States to denounce situations of sexual assault or abuse of women, or the #onsónlesdones (#wherearethewomen) campaign, launched in Catalonia to denounce women’s invisibility in public opinion forums such as the media, are two of the most recent phenomena to underscore current gender problems.
The UPF Equality Unit has created the hashtag #AmbPerspectiva to promote an awareness-raising campaign regarding the gender perspective in teaching and research. Because universities are no strangers to the inertias that drive society, both for good and evil. Therefore, if society is home to non-egalitarian practices, gender stereotypes and implicit biases, universities will not be exempt.
Students are increasingly demanding that their education take the gender perspective into account. The new classes are reaching the university more aware than ever of gender inequalities and they are demanding tools and alternatives to change the world they live in.
The university thus has a duty to combat this unfair situation. That is why, in 2017, the equality structure at UPF was institutionalized, with its own budget and staff and an office on the Ciutadella campus. That decision marked a qualitative leap in the implementation of the gender perspective at the university and it has already yielded positive results. For instance, today UPF ranks 8th worldwide in tackling gender equality, according to the recent and innovative ranking published by Times Higher Education in relation to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
However, much still remains to be done in many areas: community awareness-raising; equal access to jobs and promotions; equal participation and representation; eradication of discrimination and violence; or gender-sensitive teaching, research and knowledge transfer.
The gender perspective has come to stay at universities. Because an equal university will also be one that is better quality, more democratic and more radically committed to social transformation.