Improving work-life balance & organisational culture

At the core of MINDtheGEPs' efforts to reshape our organisational culture for gender equality is the integration of work–life balance. These measures are inclusive, extending their relevance to all staff members, with a focus on providing comprehensive support for career advancement while managing personal responsibilities like caregiving.

The research system tends to favour those who take it on unconditionally. But conference participation, networking, and strict submission deadlines do not always combine well with the unpredictable nature and great responsibilities of caregiving. We work to create the preconditions for moving away from the unconditional worker model, where researchers are expected to value work over family and not have the right to disconnect from their research to devote time to other areas of their lives. To deconstruct the idea that caregiving is a feminine trait, and to support a more gender-neutral distribution of family responsibilities, we will support both men and women in this transition.

We will raise awareness among researchers at partner organisations of what their rights are in terms of combining their research careers with caring for their families. And we will negotiate solutions to the most pressing issues with local management.

As part of the MINDtheGEPs work-life balance initiative, designed to dismantle structural barriers faced by women and men in balancing work with family responsibilities, we are focusing on four strategic actions. These actions complement MINDtheGEPs’ broader goals, including combating biases, supporting skill development for women in research, and promoting inclusivity in senior positions. The focus is on cultivating an equitable organizational culture where all researchers can thrive without discrimination.

Contact person

Paulina Sekuła

Paulina Sekuła, PhD, is assistant professor at the Institute of Sociology of the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. Her research interests cover gender equality, particularly in the realm of gender and research and academia, political culture and theories of democracy. For a few years she has been involved as a researcher in projects focusing on structural change in higher education institutions, including H2020 projects GENERA (Gender Equality in European Research Area, 2015-2018), ACT (Communities of Practice for Accelerating Gender Equality and Institutional Change in Research and Innovation across Europe, 2018-2021) and MINDtheGEPs (Modifying Institution by Developing Gender Equality Plans, 2021-2025) and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation project Study of the potential of international mobile women scientists (2020-2021). Currently she is also a co-facilitator of the ACT Community of Practice for Gender Equality in Central and Eastern Europe.

Contact: paulina.sekula[at]

Public deliverables & reports

Balancing recruitment, retention and career progression

In this deliverable, which is based on a combination of desk research, our own expertise, MTG partners’ experiences, in addition to existing guidelines, we have prepared a 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 an 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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About MINDtheGEPs

Key Areas

Gender Equality Plans



Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed on this website are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Commission.


MINDtheGEPs (Modifying Institutions by Developing Gender Equality Plans) has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no 101006543.

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