Developing training to empower women in research careers: Our best practice advice


Despite an increasing number of women entering research careers, few of them end up in leadership roles compared to their male colleagues. MINDtheGEPs' training initiatives target these challenges head-on, fostering skills development and creating a culture of gender equality within partner organisations. Now, we share our best practice advice in a brief format. 

“The emphasis is on a bottom-up approach, where we empower and encourage participants to become change agents within their departments and institutions. By equipping early-career researchers with the tools and knowledge to navigate gender biases, we aim to dismantle the systemic barriers that obstruct women's progress in research careers,” says Katarzyna Krzemińska, Jagiellonian University, one of the authors. “Our goal is to empower women at every stage of their research journey,” she continues.

The authors underscore the importance of evidence-based and continuous training initiatives to combat unconscious gender biases prevalent across organisations. The training modules cover a range of vital topics, including skills development, deconstructing unconscious biases, and nurturing leadership qualities among women researchers.

Key recommendations

  • Tailor training to specific needs: Conduct thorough needs analyses at both individual and institutional levels to identify specific challenges and barriers faced by women in research careers in your particular organisation. Develop training modules that address these needs, focusing on supporting skills development, deconstructing unconscious biases, and fostering leadership capabilities.
  • Design inclusive & continuous training initiatives: Develop evidence-based, continuous, and long-term training initiatives that address unconscious gender biases throughout organisations. Ensure accessibility and inclusivity in training programmes to empower all employees, including PhD students, post-docs, assistant professors, and women in non-academic research roles.
  • Implement holistic training approaches: Adopt a holistic approach to training by developing universal programmes that can be adapted for different target audiences based on their specific needs and experiences. Ensure training is not a one-time event but is available periodically or continuously to accommodate new entrants and those who change positions within the organisation.

Krzemińska, Katarzyna., Migalska, Alexandra., Sekuła, Paulina., Stoecker, Ewa. (2024) Empowering women in research careers. Training early career researchers to promote gender equality. Zenodo. DOI: 10.5281/ zenodo.11032882

About the recommendations

These contents of the brief introduced above is based on a MINDtheGEPs deliverable, which in turn is based on a combination of desk research, our own expertise, partners’ experiences, in addition to existing guidelines. This deliverable includes set of overall recommendations supporting academic and non-academic organisations to foster the awareness of gender issues in the field of recruitment, retention and career progression. Our guidelines on planned actions are developed to help to understand and prepare organisational change, which should improve gender equality in any institution.

Migalska, Alexandra., Sekuła, Paulina., Stoecker, Ewa., Ní Fhlatharta, Aiofe., & Macmahon, Helena. (2024). D4.1 – Guidelines on planned actions for recruitment and retention. Zenodo. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.10491838

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Last modified: 2023-08-25