This university-wide action aims to create or raise awareness among administrative and academic staff on the importance of enhancing gender equality in higher education institutions in general and at OzU in particular. The rationale behind this action centers on the principle of effecting in each RPO a culture change that addresses all the aspects of institutional structures, policies and plans alongside teaching-learning and research activities.
Promotion of initiatives to favour a widespread gender competence at all levels of the organization with provision of training to staff, teachers and researchers
Main aim of the action
The fundamental outcome expected from the implementation of this action is to enable the administrative and academic personnel to identify and combat any form of gender-based discrimination or inequality they might encounter. Working in an environment that provides all with equal opportunities to realize their skills and potentials is key to attaining excellence in research and management processes alike. Considering this fact and also functioning as a component of an integrated effort together with the action “Encouragement to top level managers and key actors to attend gender equality seminars and training,” this action attempts to generate a proactive stance among all OzU staff members to ensure the sustainability of “gender equality” as an institutional policy.
The first target group of this action was identified as “Academic departments, administrative units, all staff.” Maintaining that having gender and diversity trainings with all staff members was an indispensable part of gender mainstreaming at OzU, we set out to determine the best form and schedule with which to carry out this comprehensive action. In this endeavor, the Rector’s Office and particularly the Human Resources Unit gave us invaluable guidance and assistance. Ultimately, it was found useful to develop two separate yet interrelated training courses for administrative staff and academics.
As regards the gender equality awareness seminars with administrative staff, we decided to benefit from the experience and expertise of AÇEV (Mother Child Education Foundation), one of the most established NGO’s in Turkey that has been carrying out training programs all around the country for a long time. The professional staff of AÇEV have been training various organizations and different groups on gender equality at workplace and in institutional settings as well as on involved fatherhood and gender equality in the family.
AÇEV already had a training module titled “Awareness Raising Seminars on Gender,” which was designed for institutions. However, knowing that the university was a form of institution that combined managerial processes with education and scientific research, we decided to adapt this model to the unique conditions and needs of OzU. We had a number of meetings with the Human Resources Unit and AÇEV to determine the composition of target groups and the form of the training seminars. In the final preparatory meeting, we came together with the HR Unit and AÇEV to discuss the details of the content of the three-hour-long training seminar and to create the calendar of trainings which were to continue over an extended period of time. The first training seminar given by AÇEV was a “pilot run” after which the trainers collected feedback from the PLOTINA Team, the HR Unit and the attendees, and the initial seminar format was improved accordingly for the next sessions.
Covering the period between mid-February and mid-Fall semester of the 2019-2020 Academic Year, these seminars and workshops are held with 7 groups of administrative personnel and directors, and 15 groups of faculty members and academic managers.
The second part of this action concerns the gender awareness workshops with the academics, whose content and calendar have already been finalized in the same fashion as described here. These workshops were developed with a different team of trainers with more experience in academic work, organization, and research processes in various scientific areas. (This description of good practice will be updated with more details about the workshops held with academic staff.)
The biggest challenge in implementing this action had to do with planning in general. 319 administrative and 376 academic staff members were to be involved in this action, and their work experiences and institutional contexts were not the same. Thus, the implementation required a tremendous amount of organizing.
Working closely with the Rector’s Office and the Human Resources Unit proved to be very helpful in forming the target groups and placing them in seminar slots, creating the training calendar, and in ascertaining the needed structure and content of the seminars. This effort required intense communication with these bodies as well as AÇEV, including a series of meetings before launching the training program. Even so, we decided to conceive of the first seminar as a “pilot run” in order to make further improvements based on the feedback received from the stakeholders.
Designed in two parts –the social construction of gender norms and the importance of achieving gender equality in the workplace– and delivered in an interactive mode, the first (pilot) awareness seminar for administrative staff was held on February 14, 2019 on OzU’s Çekmeköy Campus. The group was composed of nearly 40 attendees and the other seminars will be attended by groups of 50-60 administrative staff members.
The seminar staged productive discussions about gender biases in general and the negative impact that discriminatory practices and processes have on the career progression of women in administrative posts. In order for the impact of the seminar to be measured and reported, the group members were asked to fill out an assessment form before and after the session, and this assessment method will be used at each seminar as well (find the preliminary and post-seminar assessment forms in the right sidebar). When the assessment forms for the first seminar were analyzed, it was seen that in Part 1 (Perception) the attendees’ perception of gender roles and norms changed positively, the same improvement was observed in Part 2 (Factual information about the impacts of gender inequality).
The number of attendees in the first meeting on February 14 showed that OzU’s Gender Equality awareness seminars and workshops will have reached almost every academic and administrative staff member when it is completed.
The governance bodies, key actors and decision-makers
Type of action
Özyeğin Üniversitesi (OZU)
Higher education institution
Action level of implementation
Researchers/professors and technical and administrative staff