Gender-SMART | Walking the walk on gender equality at CIRAD

Institutional news 5 May 2020
CIRAD has unveiled the English version of its institutional action plan for gender equality. The plan is the fruit of the organization's involvement in the EU H2020 Gender-SMART project on gender issues in agricultural and life sciences. CIRAD has committed to make gender equality an integral part of how it operates. It is also including gender in its scientific and partnership strategy. Several analysis, awareness-raising, training, tool development and support operations are already under way.
A male and a female CIRAD researcher working in a greenhouse at the research centre in Montpellier © D. Fabre, CIRAD
A male and a female CIRAD researcher working in a greenhouse at the research centre in Montpellier © D. Fabre, CIRAD

 © D. Fabre, CIRAD

> Download the CIRAD action plan for gender equality in the workplace

CIRAD's involvement in the Gender-SMART project cements its commitment to gender issues and offers new prospects for progress.

The wide-ranging project has nine partners, and offers a space for dialogue and to share good practices and expertise on a European level. It allows CIRAD to supplement and confirm the commitments made in its collective agreement on gender, signed in 2017, and its scientific and partnership strategy.

Based on an audit conducted in 2019, CIRAD has now drafted an action plan centring on three pillars:

Integrating workplace equality into the organization's governance and operations

Building an equality culture

The audit showed that the usual stereotypes held within society as a whole and the scientific community in particular also exist at CIRAD. One of the organization's ambitions is to ensure change in terms of staff thinking and daily practice, and to entrench its position in terms of workplace equality. Numerous operations are planned to this end, for instance a value charter, to set out good practice. Steps will also be taken to raise awareness of gender issues: conference cycles, training, etc.

Ensuring equality in terms of jobs and recruitment

2018 figures

To ensure equality in terms of jobs and recruitment, CIRAD intends to promote inclusive, unbiased recruitment processes and boost diversity in every professional category. It intends to create and strengthen diverse pools of professionals, by mixing sexes, ages and nationalities. It is also planning awareness-raising activities to reduce bias within recruitment panels.

Fostering career equality

Women currently hold a third of management positions at CIRAD.

CIRAD is committed to supporting career progression, to foster equal access to management positions for men and women, parity within its representative and decision-making bodies, and equal pay. It plans to modernize its career management tools to allow its employees to plan their future and foster internal mobility, paying particular attention to its female employees.

Encouraging work-life balance

According to the audit, CIRAD offers its employees a wide range of social benefits, above and beyond its legal obligations. It intends to sustain its efforts in favour of a better work-life balance, notably by taking steps in favour of parents, such as personal interviews before and after parental leave. It will pay particular attention to time management and the use of digital tools. For instance, a charter on work time and e-mail use will serve to raise awareness of the "right to log off".

Including gender aspects in scientific and partnership strategy

In addition to gender equality within its internal operations and governance, CIRAD is keen to include gender issues in its scientific and partnership strategy.

In its scientific strategy

Having observed that gender issues were largely invisible within its research operations, CIRAD intends to invest more in the topic, to boost the relevance and quality of its research. It is keen to set up a community of practice, based on existing experiments, and to remove any potential obstacles, for instance those that limit women's access to positions enabling them to lead large-scale projects.

In its partnership strategy

CIRAD will take account of cultural inequalities in its global operations, recommend good practices for its employees, and adopt gender as a defining element in dialogue with its partners.

Promoting the organization's efforts for gender equality

CIRAD wants to be seen as a key player in terms of gender equality within the agricultural research for development ecosystem. As such, it will be promoting its gender strategy to its institutional partners, donors and development agencies.

An action plan drafted within the H2020 Gender–SMART project

The Gender-SMART project, coordinated by CIRAD, is part of the European Commission Horizon 2020 "Science With and For Society" programme. It aims to ensure the integration of workplace equality and gender into the life and agricultural sciences. It associates nine European partners; seven institutions that will each be drafting and implementing action plans:

  • Agence Nationale de Recherche (France)
  • Centro De Investigaciones Cientificas Y Tecnologicas De Extremadura (Spain)
  • Centro Internazionale Di Alti studi Agronomici Mediterranei (Italy)
  • CIRAD (France)
  • Cyprus University of Technology (Cyprus)
  • Teagasc - Agriculture and Food Development Authority (Ireland)
  • Wageningen University and Research (Netherlands)

and two technical partners specializing in the topic:

  • Yellow Window (Belgium)
  • Institute Of Sociology Of The Academy Of Sciences Of The Czech Republic Public Research Institution (Czech Republic)

The Gender-SMART project is scheduled to run until December 2022.