Women researchers and professors were evaluated unfairly when pregnant, since it was expected that they could perform the same scientific productivity of their male colleagues while in maternity leaves.
Taking maternity, paternity and parental leave periods into consideration when assessing and evaluating research output for recruitment and promotion decisions
The main objective of this action is to grant an equitable evaluation of the scientific production and research of both female and male UNIBO academic staff.
Very committed key actors and policy makers.
The action allows a more equitable research evaluation system. Women and men who decide
to take parental leaves are less disadvantaged and can in this way be more fairly evaluated. In the short term, women – who often bear more weight of caring responsibilities than men – can be evaluated on more equal grounds.
Recruitment, career progression and retention
Type of action
Alma Mater Studiorum – Università Di Bologna
Higher education institution
Action level of implementation
Researchers and professors
In 2017 University Research Evaluation (assessing 2016 UNIBO academic staff’s scientific production), a clause that takes into account maternity leaves and time off work, was introduced. This action was included in the GEP in terms of “retention” in order to keep attention on the issue of equal assessment/evaluation of UNIBO academic staff (researchers and professors) and to make this action structural within the organization. On the one hand, some UNIBO key actors and decision makers – namely: the Research Vice-Rector; the Guarantee Committee for Equal Opportunities, Employee Wellbeing and Non Discrimination at Work (CUG); the Rector’s Delegate for Gender Equality; Human Resources Administrative Division – have the responsibility to monitor annually the application and the retention of the evaluation criteria that considers maternity and parental leaves in the University Research Evaluation Board procedures. On the other hand, the University Research Evaluation Board have the responsibility to apply the criteria. The UNIBO PLOTINA Team will monitor the retention of the clause related to taking into consideration maternity and other laves in the evaluation, together with the Guarantee Committee for Equal Opportunities, Employee Wellbeing and Non Discrimination at Work (CUG); the Rector’s Delegate for Gender Equality. The Human Resources Administrative Division will monitor the application of the clause, always involving the Research Vice-Rector in the monitoring process.
In the platform where research products are uploaded in order to be evaluated, instructions are provided to indicate leave periods and evaluation procedures to be followed for UNIBO researchers and professors.
Since this evaluation procedure is not strongly rooted in the academic tradition there is the risk that it could be applied for some academic years and removed in the future.
To avoid the elimination of this evaluation procedure is necessary to monitor its retention in the University.
Tips/strategies – Lessons learnt
Monitoring the retention of the clause in the years.
The Human Resources Administrative Division will monitor the application of the clause, always involving the Research Vice Rector in the monitoring process.
More detailed Outcomes/Impact
In the long term, men might be encouraged to take parental leaves and take more caring responsibilities. Women might feel more supported in taking family care responsibilities and might be more likely to be assessed positively (by evaluators acknowledging the time devoted on caring) leading to career development and progression.