SAGE Panel Discussion: How to Make Gender Equality Work?


Monday 15.06.15
15:00 to 17:00


Auditorium 2
Verversdijk, Bruges campus
Verversdijk 16
8000 Brugge

The Student Association for Gender Equality (SAGE) at the College of Europe held its first open event on 15 June in Bruges.

The panel discussion 'How to make gender eqaulity work?' focused on the merits and caveats of institutionalizing equality, and aimed at devising concrete proposals for a more gender-sensitive campus.

The distinguished speakers on the panel were:

Ms. Alison WOODWARD, Research Professor at the Free University of Brussels (VUB), Co-director of the Center for Gender Studies and Diversity Research and a Senior Associate of the Institute for European Studies. In her presentation, Ms. Woodward stressed the fact that a more gender-sensitive academic environment is changing the nature of knowledge itself. In speaking about women's situation in the European Research Area, she revealed the disparities between the increasing number of women entering higher education and the considerably lower numbers achieving teaching titles.

Ms. Maria TOMASSETTI, Deputy Head of Unit for Gender Equality at DG Justice and Consumers and alumna of the College of Europe, emphasized that EU's priorities for the next five years remain largely the same as those set in 2010 in the Commission's Strategy for Equality between Women and Men. She reinforced the fact that data is still clearly showing several gaps persisting at EU level, especially the gender pay and pension gaps.

Ms. Genevra FORWOOD, Counsel at White & Case in Brussels and College of Europe alumna, spoke about the law firm's global talent management programme, aiming at retaining valuable female employees. She stressed the importance of having functionable teams in the workplace, which enable the kind of flexibility needed in order to avoid leaving or under-recognition of female employees.

Ms. Isabella LENARDUZZI, Founder of JUMP 'Empowering Women, Advancing the Economy' - a social enterprise that provides women with practical tools to help them achieve their professional aspirations, and supports organisations and companies wanting to promote gender diversity at management level. She spoke about the need to change the corporate culture in order to integrate women's specific needs for climbing up the ladder of their careers. She also emphasized the fact that schieving gender equality in the workplace must be understood as an effort shared between women and men alike.

The panel discussion was possible thanks to the assistance and support of Ms. Martha FRANKEN and Ms. Chris ZWAENEPOEL from the Host Family Project, as well as Ms. Olivia TAVEIRNE from the Student Affairs Office.

A policy paper with recommendations for the College will be prepared soon after the event. In addition, SAGE will be open for a new team of students interested in gender-related issues in the next academic year.