Gender equality

... or how to fit the elephant into the giraffe's house

A giraffe and an elephant liked each other and wanted to work together. But when the giraffe invited the elephant to his home, problems started. The house was designed for the giraffe, with tall ceilings and narrow doorways. When the elephant tried to get into the house he got stuck in the door. When he moved around in the house, the stairs cracked and the walls started to crumble.


"The problem is" said the giraffe, "that you are too big for my doorways. You should take Aerobic classes to get down to size. You are too heavy for my stairs; if you'd go to ballet class, I'm sure we could get you light on your feet." The elephant did not agree. He thought that the house was the problem. (Read the complete fable by R. Roosevelt Thomas jr.)

In BACCHUS, we are actively working on building a house convenient and fitting for both the giraffe and the elephant!

Gender monitoring in BACCHUS

The BACCHUS consortium is coordinated by a woman and includes female scientists at the level of work package leaders including management, 4 out of 10 (40%). However, the total numbers of the consortium reveal the typical "leaky pipeline" with less women the higher the ranking is.

We need to actively work on filling the gaps in the higher positions!

EU FP7 seeks to promote gender equality by:

  • Actively promoting the role of women in science - target of 40% women's participation at all levels has been set

  • Equally addressing women's and men's realities as an integral part of the research to ensure the highes level of scientifc quality: "Wherever human beings are involved in the research (as consumers, users, and patient) gender will be an issue and should be considered and addressed."

From: Toolkit: Gender in EU-funded research, 2009.

from: FP7 fact sheets

How we, in BACCHUS, try to reduce the gender gap:

1. Avoiding gender bias in job descriptions

2. Avoiding gender bias in letters of recommendation

Further practical measures in BACCHUS towards reducing the gender gap:


Interesting to read ...


  • Talent at stake. Changing the culture of research - gender-sensitive leadership, Committee for Gender Balance in Research, editors: Lina M. Rustad and Annes Winsnes Rodland, Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research, 2010. Available here

  • First FP7 Monitoring Report,European Commission,2009. Available here