Tomas Brage is a professor of physics at Lund University. He has also worked at Vanderbilt University and NASA GSFC. He is strongly involved in work on Gender and Science, where he is regularly giving talks on “Gender and Physics” around Europe. He is a steering group member of the LERU Policy Group for EDI and participate in the GENERA network and the GenderEX Horizon 2020 project. He is the chair of the section for equality, diversity and inclusion of the Swedish Physical Society and has led or co-led projects on Gender Certification, Antidiscrimination, Core Values, bi-focal mentoring and Unconscious Bias observers in Lund and beyond.
Gender bias in academia – a threat to academic values.
Meritocracy, academic freedom for everybody and excellence in research and teaching are common and important core values for universities. However, there are many challenges to these, not the least from external pressure in a neo-liberal era. However, the most important threat might come from internal shortcomings. In academia, selections and evaluations are daily practices and important parts of e.g. career paths and assessment of students. Lately more and more evidence, research and studies show that our preconceived ideas – our bias – is a clear obstacle for a fair process and points to that mitigating its effects is essential to defend, not the least, the meritocratic principle.
In this talk, Prof. Brage will discuss bias both as a psychological and individual problem, but also as a systemic, where processes get hi-jacked. He will discuss how it can lead to micro-aggressions and, if not counteracted, to worse – harassment and discrimination. Prof. Brage will bring up examples on how to mitigate this problem, by referring to some “toolboxes” and good practices, from European networks such as LERU.