Survey on gender, science and society
In response to the growing need for a greater understanding and exchange of best practice and lessons learned, Ecsite has launched a survey to collect information on the approaches and innovative activities of science centres and museums, including initiatives aimed at the general public and (if present) those specifically targeting girls, their parents and teachers, or women scientists.
This survey is part of the Towards Women in Science and Technology (TWIST) project, a collaboration funded by the European Commission, DG Research, in the Seventh Framework Programme. The project is coordinated by Experimentarium (Denmark) and involves 10 European partners (including Ecsite) plus one from Israel. TWIST is focused on the issue of the gender gap in science and technology through an ambitious programme aimed at finding innovative solutions in informal science and technology education and communication strategies to overcome outdated stereotypes and prejudices on societal roles and career paths for men and women, still surprisingly alive.
The survey was launched during the Summer 2010 through an on-line questionnaire and was closed at the end of October 2010 with the involvement of 74 science centres and museums. The survey provided an overview of the mission, communication strategies and gender commitment in science centres and museums and identified many examples of initiatives, strategies and tools used by them to better address girls and women and to contribute to fill the gender gap in science and technology.
The practices collected by the online-survey have been analysed with the objective of drafting practical guidelines to support the design of an effective model of science communication, a model that is also able to take into account the gender perspective. On the basis of the output of this survey, the consultation the TWIST partners and a broad review of literature and websites, ASDO has drafted the “Guidelines for communication activities on women in science to be implemented by science centres and museums”. The main objective pursued through the Guidelines is to provide science centres and museums with a set of recommendations and examples of strategies and tools for activating or enhancing their commitment to gender equality.
The Guidelines were presented in one session at the last Ecsite Annual Conference and are now available on the Twist website (www.the-twist-project.eu) thus contributing to the circulation of ideas and experiences inside and outside the Ecsite network.
You can also download the Guidelines from this page, at: http:www.asdo-info.org/public/TWIST_GuidelinesReport.pdf