GATI Project Blog for International Women’s Day
In 2021 Queen Mary University of London was awarded grant to take part in the Gender Advancement for Transforming Institutions (GATI) pilot project created by the Indian Government, Department for Science and Technology and British Council in partnership with Advance HE.
This pilot project aims to develop and introduce the first gender equality frameworks within India’s academic domain. Specific focus is on addressing gender inequality in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Medicine) and promoting gender sensitisation. We have partnered with five Indian institutions to assist them on their equality journey, which are:
- Council Of Scientific and Industrial Research - Central Drug Research Institute (CSIR-CDRI)
- Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Research (JNCASR)
- Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT)
- All India Institute of Medical Science, Bhopal (AIIMS)
- Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI)
With the project currently underway we are drawing on our experience and expertise from the UK’s successful Athena Swan model to mentor and support our partner institutions. This is being doing through a series of workshops, sharing resources/materials, advising on best practice, and encouraging collaboration across institutions. Queen Mary University of London joined the Athena Swan charter in 2005, received its first bronze award in 2008, and continues to a proud holder of the silver award since 2017.
The Vice Principal of People, Culture and Inclusion at Queen Mary, Sheila Gupta said: "I am delighted to be involved in the GATI project, it represents everything that International Women’s Day is about, sharing exciting initiatives, experiences and good practice across international boundaries to advance gender equality. For me, GATI is very much a shared journey, where we work collaboratively to achieve the best outcome possible to attract amazing female talent into academia and have ambitious strategies to enhance career opportunities for women in STEM. There is also great value and opportunity in learning from each other on our shared journey. I cannot think of a more appropriate way of representing what International Women’s Day is all about".
Our Indian partners will undergo self-assessment to identify areas in need of improvement and then create targeted action plans to address them. For Dr Kumar of CSIR-CDRI, participating in GATI has meant a commitment “to challenge the perceptions/stereotypes, building an inclusive workplace, mentoring women for leadership positions in research career.” Some other project goals across our partner institutions include but are not limited to addressing gaps in their male/female staff ratio, having open discussions about gender issues, creating female only helplines and facilities, and rewarding female achievers.
We happy to say that the project is having a positive impact. For example, Dr Professor Walk says “AIIMS, Bhopal is proud of being a part of such a pioneering and coveted project under the guidance of ATHENA SWAN institute of UK. We at AIIMS Bhopal as a GATI partnering Institute have learnt many things being a part of this innovative pilot project right from getting knowledge of gender status not only of our own Institute but also of other STEMM Institutes of our country. We are learning from the experiences of the ATHENA SWAN Institutes of UK also and are hoping to have some changes in the working environment of our Institute, which will be help in Gender advancement in future.”
Five other UK universities are involved in the GATI project, each with their own set of Indian partners: King’s College London, University College London, University of Manchester, Aston University, and the University of the West of Scotland.
Written by Mursheda Begum
Gender Advancement for Transforming Institutions (GATI) Project Administrator
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Team