The center of excellence has had gender equality in all positions from its start in 2013. “During this time, we have published over 300 scientific papers and welcomed 18 CAGE-babies to the world”, says CAGE director Karin Andreassen.
Text and photos: Maja Sojtaric
Professor Andreassen is honoured to receive the award on behalf of CAGE scientists and staff. Centre for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Environment and Climate is one of Norwegian centers of excellence, funded for a ten-year period by Research Council of Norway.
Gender equality is rare in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, with men dominating the scientific positions. However, for CAGE -a center where geology, geophysics, chemistry, biology, oceanography and glaciology are fields of research – achieving gender equality has never been a problem.
The center has consistently had 50 percent female scientific staff – from PhDs to professors. The leadership group consists of 75 percent women.
“ We recruit our scientific staff from an international pool of excellent scientists who are competing in an ever-hardening working environment, where the aspects of having a scientific career at the same time as having a family seem like a fantasy. In Norway this is a reality. We need to thank the Norwegian social system for making us attractive to top international scientists, as well as the UiTs conscious approach to career building for female scientists,” says Karin Andreassen.
Another significant reason as to why CAGE succeeded where many other STEM -institutions fail is the vigilant work of the centers first director, professor Jürgen Mienert.
“Professor Mienert was very aware that if you wanted to achieve equality you needed to actively look for qualified women in the field. This was at the forefront of his recruitment policies when the center started recruiting scientists,” says professor Andreassen.
CAGE has so far welcomed 18 babies to the world, most of them born to female employees. This could prove challenging for female scientists in a highly competitive scientific environment elsewhere, no matter parental leave rights.
“Our scientists return to an interdisciplinary group after the parental leave of up to one year, where the scientific project has been developing while they were away. They get included in the work and publications as soon as they are back, ensuring that their career trajectory doesn’t suffer.”
CAGE will use the award money, 100.000 Norwegian Krone, to raise awareness about women in STEM.