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Gender Equality

Combating the Gender Gap in STEM

There is a well-known gender gap in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) sector, with women occupying only a fraction of the workforce and student population in these fields. 
OpenGeoHub recognizes the value of diversity in our community, not just morally, but in terms of pure innovation.

As such, we are committed to promoting gender equality through targeted policies aimed at improving inclusivity and safety in the workplace, for women, but also for people of all gender identities, racial and ethnic backgrounds and those with physical or cognitive disabilities and divergences.

OpenGeoHub’s comprehensive Gender Equality Plan (GEP) includes measures far beyond hiring practices to create a culture where all employees and the broader community feel safe and welcome, such as promoting flexibility and work-life balance, 

supporting women in decision-making and public facing roles, Diversity-Equity-Inclusion (DEI) sensitivity trainings, consideration of the gender impacts of our research and project outcomes, and prioritizing broad accessibility of our outputs through free and open source publication. To achieve these goals, our GEP focuses on three main areas, each of which have dedicated resources to support, track, and build awareness around specific targets and initiatives: Internal Working Culture; Events, Education & Communications; and Research.

All of our staff, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, racial or ethnic background, deserve a healthy, positive working environment where they feel safe and empowered to do their jobs and to establish a healthy work-life balance. OpenGeoHub is dedicated to creating this organisational culture through targeted policies, staff training and workshops, and building internal awareness of gender and discrimination issues.

 

Gender agnosticism in hiring and decision making

Having a balanced and diverse workforce is integral to innovation, capacity building, and a healthy office culture. As such, OpenGeoHub strives for equitable recruitment for all positions, particularly those related to STEM jobs, extending to the management level, thus ensuring top-level decision making processes are also gender sensitive and balanced. This is ensured through independent testing of skills for new roles, which removes gender bias in the hiring process from “gut-feeling” evaluation of skills.

 

Flexible working conditions

OpenGeoHub goes above the legal minimum requirement for workplace flexibility by working with each employee to determine a working schedule that fits their personal circumstances. We care about the content of our team’s outputs much more than the time they arrive at or leave the office. Employees may request flexibility to occasionally work remotely at the discretion of their supervisor for short periods of time. Additionally, in compliance with Dutch law, employees may take time off for doctor’s appointments, to care for children and family members, and for other exceptional circumstances when they arise during work hours without the need to use holidays or lose pay.

 

Parental leave

OpenGeoHub complies with Dutch legal requirements for paid parental leave, ensuring new parents can prioritize their family without discrimination and achieve work-life balance. 

 

Zero Tolerance for Gender Based Harassment & Violence

OpenGeoHub has a zero tolerance policy for any forms of harrassment, violence or discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, racial and ethnic background, or physical and mental disability. We have an established incident reporting procedure that is communicated to all staff members which includes external support options. Each new employee needs to sign a general code of conduct.

 

Equal Pay & Opportunities

OpenGeoHub recognises that equal pay and career advancement opportunities are critical in the broader work environment. We strictly prohibit any form of discrimination or differentiation in pay or promotion opportunities based on gender, sexual orientation, racial or ethnic background and make use of a transparent payscale system with trajectory for career growth.

 

Training & Resources Available for Staff and Management

Beginning in 2023, OpenGeoHub will have mandatory DEI and sexual harassment in the workplace training for all staff. The organization will provide up-to-date gender sensitivity training in areas such as internal & external communications, research biases, career development opportunities, staff/management interaction.

OpenGeoHub has been running open source summer schools for 14 years (previously as GeoSTAT) and we have a demonstrated history of successfully targeting and achieving gender equality and preferential treatment for applicants from ODA recipient countries in summer school attendance. Additionally, our previous 6 summer schools have offered families with children opportunities to participate and to attend group events. We also aim to normalize lecturers bringing family members and partners to our events, including the social sessions, with the added benefit of providing positive role models for children and others outside of our work environment.

 

For each event hosted by OpenGeoHub, we aim to have a minimum required gender balance of at least 40% female lecturers and participants invited to encourage representation and role modeling. Each year, we strive to increase the percentage of female participation to ensure gender balance by networking with women networks in data science (Rladies, Women in Geospatial), promoting our events among young students and prioritizing family-friendly facilities. In order to redress the shortage of female lecturers we have a proactive policy for our established members to actively recruit & coach female lecturers, whereby we also make a point to challenge harmful phenomena such as imposter syndrome by creating supportive spaces for female lecturers to grow. 

In order to accommodate families, we are also moving towards concentrating our event activities midweek to limit requirements to travel or participate on weekends. To further this aim we also enable optional remote participation when appropriate.

In addition to summer schools, our educational outputs also include tutorials and other training materials that are openly available on our website: opengeohub.org/trainings. We maintain consistent gender-neutral language within these materials as well as in the teaching content used in online and offline educational activities. We also strive to identify and avoid gender bias within these materials wherever necessary. In finding teachers, speakers and trainers for our educational outputs we strive to establish equal gender balance.

 

Gender in communication
Language reflects the attitude, behaviors and norms within a society, and more specifically within a company. Words shape the way we perceive the world and what is ‘normal’ and acceptable. Current language biases often cut out the role of women and non-binary genders, ignoring their contribution and minimising their role in society. Too often and sometimes unwittingly, the use of of masculine terms for the majority of general references reflects discriminating assumptions towards gender roles and can influence readers.

OpenGeoHub embraces the key principles for inclusive language use declared by the European Institute for Gender Equality:

  1. Recognise and challenge stereotypes;
  2. Be inclusive and avoid omission and making others invisible;
  3. Be respectful and avoid trivialisation and subordination.

In the interest of inclusivity, we prioritize the use of gender-sensitive language. In certain contexts, it may also be acceptable to use gender-neutral language, especially as one way of avoiding gender-discriminatory language, i.e. language that fosters stereotypes or demeans/ignores a gender.

We strive to ensure that the outputs (platforms, datasets, apps, tools, etc.) we develop are made gender independent. We do this by integrating the subject of (subconscious) gender bias and how to avoid it within our work sessions, documentation, and meetings, both at staff and management level. In this way we also strive to remove bias in user interface and experience design.

 

Where applicable, regarding the output of our work, we take into account the impact the gender dimension may have on end-users, as well as any usage of socio-economic data that could already include a gender bias that propagates through the analyses.

 

Where tools are developed by gender-unbalanced teams, the testing groups will be stacked in the opposite direction in an effort to compensate for potential gender bias during development. We aim to collect gender-disaggregated evaluation data to see if gender affects the adoption of tools and to understand gender-specific needs.

 

The before-mentioned policies are also widely implemented within OpenGeoHub’s projects and its role within consortia. Specifics regarding the enactment of gender equality per project can be found within specific project documentation.

OpenGeoHub at a Glance

In the interest of transparency, we regularly publish (non-sensitive) data regarding the demographics of our staff and the larger OpenGeoHub community.

Our Gender Equality Plan is available below: