Jay

Jay Mistry

Royal Holloway University of London
Egham, United Kingdom

COBRA and Gender Issues

Some reflexions on International Women's Day

March 8, 2012

In 2010, the EU adopted its first Action Plan on Gender Equality and Women Empowerment in Development (2010-2015) and the first results of this plan were released in December 2011.

Project Cobra – Creative Commons

One of the key findings was that instead of providing specific gender training, gender equality issues should be integrated into all aspects of how the EU work. Within COBRA we have been taking a similar approach, encouraging women’s participation in the research while at the same time addressing women’s concerns.As today, people around the world celebrate International Women’s Day, we thought we would explain some of the ways in which gender issues are being considered in the COBRA project.

In 2010, the EU adopted its first Action Plan on Gender Equality and Women Empowerment in Development (2010-2015) and the first results of this plan were released in December 2011. One of the key findings was that instead of providing specific gender training, gender equality issues should be integrated into all aspects of how the EU work. Within COBRA we have been taking a similar approach, encouraging women’s participation in the research while at the same time addressing women’s concerns.

Partners within COBRA are committed to promoting equal employment opportunities and to involve women at all levels of participation, as well as within management, research and dissemination decision making. Presently we have women in key roles within the project, including the Project Coordinator (Dr Jay Mistry), Post-Doctoral Research Assistant (Dr Céline Tschirhart), Lead Partners (Dr Isabella Bovolo, Iwokrama International Centre and Dr Elisa Bignante, Politecnico di Torino), Research Assistants/Consultants/Managers (Ms Deirdre Jafferally and Ms Odacy Davis, Iwokrama International Centre and Ms Claudia Nuzzo, Open University) and Community Researchers (Ms Rebecca Xavier and Ms Grace Albert, North Rupununi District Development Board). Our Advisory Group also contains an equal mix of women and men from different policy, academic and practitioner backgrounds.

COBRA’s Gender Action Plan includes building awareness amongst all project members of gender issues, including flexible working hours and other family-friendly policies. We actively encourage mentoring of younger project staff, including CSO staff and community researchers, by both women and men involved in the project. We consider gender equity when selecting people for participation in training and other arenas, such as stakeholder forums, conferences and media opportunities. And finally, we are considering gender differences in research content and activities, especially those involving local communities. All aspects of the research, from policy analysis, participation in workshops to opinions sought via participatory video are disaggregated by gender. Not only does this mean that both men and women are able to participate equally and thereby be equally represented in the research, but it also allows a better understanding of the gender dimension in the COBRA research.

We hope in some small way, COBRA is empowering women across Europe and South America.

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