(Re)searching gender

When I joined the Free University of Bolzano I was surprised by the extensive amount of quantitative data on students, researchers, and professors that were openly available on our Intranet. Seeing all these data made me curious to investigate the gender percentages for the different faculties and positions, and what I found did not surprise me. As in most universities around the world, the more senior the position, the lowest the proportion of women. This trend was consistent across all the five faculties, even in those where the percentage of women students in the bachelor programme was up to 80%. Even if unsurprising, I thought that working with these data could add to the ongoing debates on inclusion and diversity at our university, and maybe open it up to the “non-usual suspects”. Indeed, a struggle I have faced when working on diversity in higher education has been to engage those who do not see themselves affected, or think that is something “we have already dealt with”. Throughout the years I have observed that quantitative data sometimes have the fascinating power of gathering the attention of those who otherwise would not care. With all these data and many thoughts, I reached out to Matteo Moretti from Sheldon Studio, who jumped into the project and brought Salto.bz in. That’s how our short collaboration on “(Re)searching gender” was born. In addition, in March 2020 I also organised a film club where we watched movies and discussed gender and intersectional narratives in movies.

Data visualisation of the gender-disaggregated percentage for the five faculties

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