A Reflection on the Collaborative Efforts Towards Sustainable Change


On 23 November 2023, a significant milestone in the pursuit of gender equality was marked as three key members of our CALIPER Project team participated in the final project meeting in Brussels. This pivotal gathering took the form of a conference, co-hosted with the LETSGEPs Project, both funded by the European Union and sharing a common goal.

The opening ceremony came with a warm welcome from Michel Verstraeten, the Vice-Rector of the Université Libre de Bruxelles, overseeing diversity and gender policy.

Verstraeten highlighted the challenges faced in fostering gender equality within universities, emphasizing the need for comprehensive plans over scattered initiatives. He underscored the importance of impactful actions that contribute significantly to visibility and mobilization.

The coordinators, Kyriaki Karydoug and Tidara Addabo, elaborated on how both projects successfully met their objectives by developing and implementing Gender Equality Plans (GEPs).

Tidara poignantly addressed the symbolic empty chairs marked with "Posto occupato", dedicated to the victims of gender violence who couldn't be present—a stark reminder of the urgency of their mission.


Marcelo Mora, Martina Gasull & Sònia Saborit, IRB Barcelona/CALIPER.
Marcelo Mora, Martina Gasull & Sònia Saborit, IRB Barcelona/CALIPER.


Throughout the day, attendees were treated to a series of enlightening talks on the evolution of EU gender policies and parallel panels discussing the core topics tackled by both projects. These included achieving structural and sustainable change, navigating the complexities of diversity and intersectionality, gender budgeting, and the crucial aspect of wider stakeholder engagement. Partners from both projects shared practical examples and insights into their experiences, fostering a rich exchange of knowledge.

As the day drew to a close, the CALIPER coordinator unveiled a key outcome—the CALIPER Charter, a collaborative tool designed for Gender+ inclusive Research and Innovation (R&I) ecosystems. Simultaneously, the LETSGEPs coordinator presented their Handbook, a resource aimed at aiding Research Performing Organisations in their journey towards gender equality with a focus on sustainability.

A notable mention was made of the INSPIRE equality project, presented by coordinator Rachel Palmén. This sister project seeks to build communities of practice to share knowledge and experiences related to gender equality.

Among the diverse take-home messages, a few stand out: the importance of an intersectional perspective in Gender Equality Plans, the enduring impact of policies and legislative frameworks, and the facilitative role of gender budgeting at all levels.

The sentiment expressed by attendees resonated with the idea that sister projects, working in harmony like feminists, create a sorority environment fostering collaboration towards a shared objective.

In conclusion, the CALIPER and LETSGEPs final meeting showcased not only the accomplishments of the projects but also underscored the imperative of sustained collaborative efforts for a more equitable future. The shared commitment of these initiatives reflects a broader movement towards inclusivity and gender equality in research and innovation ecosystems.