Gender mainstreaming and the advancement of women
- The Gender Mainstreaming Office supports and advises the Rectorate and all department and office heads in issues relating to equal opportunities and the advancement of women. It particularly deals with the elimination of structural barriers for women researchers at the Medical University of Vienna and implements measures to increase the share of women at all qualification levels, especially in executive positions (including medical directors).
- Specific programmes and measures for the advancement of women are devised to encourage them to pursue a scientific career and support them in this career path. The Office thus designs, coordinates and supports all organisational units in developing and implementing specific measures and programmes for women which seek to establish a balanced share of women and men at all levels. It also strives to eliminate the existing underrepresentation of and discrimination against women and to strengthen the professional standing of women in research.
Gender-sensitive research and teaching
- The Gender Mainstreaming and Diversity Office supports the Vice Rector for Research and the heads of the organisational units and research clusters in procuring projects in the field of women's research and gender studies.
- Another task of the Office is to consolidate, coordinate and connect existing research activities in the field of women's and gender studies at MedUni Vienna.
The working area gender research at the Gender Mainstreaming Office comprises
- Pooling and cross-linking activity in the field of women and gender research at MedUni Vienna
- Organisation of conferences, symposia and congresses
- National and international networking
- Academic research on the topic of women in research: the goal is to continuously reflect on the work carried out by the Office and to create a foundation for drawing up specific measures. This includes, for instance, researching the concrete situation of female employees as well as a retrospective data analysis regarding specific questions.
- Gender medicine research
In the course of (life-long) university education, MedUni Vienna aims at conveying competencies in the field of gender medicine to its students. The Gender Mainstreaming Office organises two lecture series with three-hour lectures on topics from the field of gender medicine per semester. These courses can be completed as free elective subjects.
MedUni Vienna also seeks to incorporate gender medicine into the mandatory curriculum. For this purpose, Gender Mainstreaming staff regularly meet with lecturers at MedUni Vienna to make them aware of the topic and support and advise them.
Postgraduate programme Gender Medicine
Scientific research of biological and psychosocial differences between women and men in the development, perception and treatment of illnesses and the definition of gender-specific forms of treatment have developed into an interdisciplinary field of its own during the last years: gender medicine. As the first Austrian university, the Medical University of Vienna has offered a postgraduate programme on gender medicine since the winter semester of 2010.
Working group Gender and Diversity in the Curriculum
Working group Gender and Diversity in the Curriculum (former mandatory curriculum)
Objective: The joint development of strategies for the enforced integration of gender-specific aspects into the mandatory curriculum of medical studies.
In October 2009, the working group “Gender in the Mandatory Curriculum” was founded by the Gender Mainstreaming Office and the former Vice Rector for Human Resources Development and Gender & Diversity. Participants (main stakeholders teaching in different fields of expertise) receive professional support in designing and implementing strategies for integrating gender-specific aspects in mandatory classes. By May 2010, six half-day workshops had taken place in which a joint conclusion paper was drawn up. Since then, workshops have been organised twice a year to monitor the implementation of the conclusion paper and develop new measures.
Women and gender studies:
Some illnesses and disorders may affect women only or more often or more gravely, such as osteoporosis, arthritis or autoimmune diseases. Other times, women may present with different symptoms than men, for instance when it comes to cardiovascular diseases.
In order to research this more closely, different levels have to be examined (biomedical basic research, clinical and sociological research). The insights gained must then be integrated in order to develop a female health model to sustain, improve or restore women’s health over the course of the entire life cycle.
“Sex-based biology” researches physiological, sex-based differences, ranging from the sub-cellular to the bodily level, as well as sex-specific reactions to pharmaceuticals in the framework of biomedical basic research.
“Gender-based medicine” deals with biological differences in women and men as well as variations in the manifestation, course and treatment of illnesses depending on the patient’s gender.
“Women’s health” focuses specifically on women patients as a category of their own, as opposed to viewing them in opposition to the male sex. Women’s health acknowledges the diversity of health requirements in the course of the entire life cycle, which depend on social class, culture, etc.
“Gender mainstreaming aims at integrating a gender-sensitive perspective into all activities and measures and examining all plans and measures with regard to their gender-specific effects. This is based on the assumption that our society’s gender roles reflect a system of inequality, the origins of which have been socially and culturally created.
Universities and research are also organised according to different roles and positions of women and men, at the same time reproducing them. Gender mainstreaming also means to design measures in a way that creates a level playing field for women and men. It is not, however, suited to replace specific measures for the advancement of women. Simultaneity, i.e. a double-pronged approach, is a prerequisite for success.” (Report by the working group on gender mainstreaming – completely independent legal status of the former Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Science and Culture, quote translated from German)
Sex and gender
Sex: biological fact
Gender: socio-cultural construction