As explained in previous blogs, the GenBUDGET CoP planned a workshop in Iceland in the beginning of April. The aim of the workshop was to consolidate the interests and needs of the existing members into a plan of action for the reminder of the project. An important part of the workshop was to invite possible members to participate. Thus, the CoP was in the process of rolling out the community to a broader audience. Due to COVID-19, we were forced to cancel the workshop in April and rethink the plan. We were asked to plan an online workshop no later than May 2020 and the CoP ended up by having three online CoP meetings, about one and half hour each, as part of consolidation workshop. We thought that one full day would be too much for an online workshop and probably too difficult for some/most CoP members to complete. The first meeting was April 2, the second meeting was April 24 and the third meeting was May 6. Although the structure was simplified and the meetings were shorter than the original plan, we tried to maintain the main discussion point we had already planned. The focus of the workshop became solely on the consolidation part, thus, the scaling up process was delayed until September 2020.
The participation was rather good with 13 participants in the first meeting, 11 in the second meeting and 9 in the third meeting. To ensure effective discussion in the meetings, agendas were made, and we suggested that CoP members would prepare the few questions before the meetings.
In the first meeting the focus was on the CoP practices and ACT supportive measures. Before the meetings we suggested that the CoP members would prepare the following questions: How is the progress of your TIP? How is your situation with regard the TIPs and COVID-19? How do you envision the next steps? What support do you think the CoP needs to enhance knowledge and develop shared Gender Budgeting Practices in research organisations? The co-creation toolkit was not used in the meeting, but we found it important to have all the group together, due to the COVID-19. There was a great focus on the influence of COVID-19 and the CoP members’ experience of increased workload. For example, one CoP member explained how he was swamped because of COVID-19 and another one mentioned that data had already been collected so the Covid19 was not affecting his work much. However, he had some difficulties planning the in-depth interviews and hoped to be back in business in the fall. Yet another CoP member discussed how the pandemic has delayed a webinar she had been planning with five other universities in her country. The GEAM survey tool was also discussed in the meeting and the possibility for the CoP members to utilize it.
After the first meeting, the impact of COVID-19 had become clearer and we assumed that everyone’s workload had increased due to the situation. Therefore, we worried that it might be difficult for the CoP members to participate in the second and third online workshop meetings. We also assumed that all the CoP members were dealing with some side effects of the pandemic, either personal issues or work-related factors in relation to teaching and/or research. Planning a workshop in this kind of situation was not easy, as we knew that the workshop increased the CoP members workload even more. Adding an extra burden in an already stressful situation was hard. Therefore, we found it important to recognize the circumstances and integrate further discussion on the pandemic in the second online workshop meeting.
In the second meeting, the focus was also on the role of ACT support measures on the community and how to improve the effectiveness of ACT measures in gender budgeting. Before the meetings we suggested that the CoP members would prepare the following questions: What is your experience of using the ACT community support measures (e.g., Knowledge Sharing Hub (https://genbudget.act-on-gender.eu), GenPORT (https://www.genderportal.eu)) to achieve gender equality objectives? What are the main benefits of the support activities already received? Are there some resources/support missing in your opinion? If so, what? We found it important to use the ACT co-creation toolkit (https://genbudget.act-on-gender.eu/tools/toolkits) in the meeting, as the plan was to dig a little deeper into the discussion on ACT supportive measures.
The CoP members discussed how the pandemic has created increased workloads with online teaching and students support. The situation is affecting students heavily as some of them are having difficulties with their study and/or have lost their jobs. Some of the CoP members are experiencing more family responsibility than before, especially childcare and home schooling. Others mentioned that following the pandemic, much focus has been on societal, large-scale consequences of COVID, how inequalities are made visible. Also, what can we do as academics and more privileged citizens. It was clear that the CoP members are concerned, even though they, or their relatives, have not been affected health-wise by the virus.
In the third meeting the focus was on the CoP’s practices and how the CoP members foresee the CoP’s next steps. Before the meetings we suggested that the CoP members would prepare the following questions: How do you foresee the CoPs next steps? How are the gender budgeting TIPs (Targeted Implementation Projects) useful to achieve gender equality objectives? Do you foresee any actions taken to facilitate equality? How do you foresee your role in maintaining the CoP? (e.g. working groups, smaller discussion groups, contribute to blogs, initiative, responsibility, etc.) Do we need a timeframe for what we decide upon? Are the TIPs useful approach or do we have to rethink the approach? Again, it was decided to use the method 1-2-4-All and zoom breakout rooms as it was successful in the second workshop meeting. Although the focus was on TIPs as a driver for promoting a community of practice, the CoP members were encouraged to prepare themselves for the discussion on the TIPs by looking at their own TIPs and to look at the method ‘SMART criteria’ (https://genbudget.act-on-gender.eu/toolkits/smart-criteria), while reflecting on their TIPs. This was done as the method might be helpful for the CoP members to define and understand the goals which leads to understanding and motivation of the team or oneself through five criteria: specific goals, measurability, attainability, realism, and time. We had fruitful conversations with the help of the ACT co-creation toolkit (https://genbudget.act-on-gender.eu/tools/toolkits). The meetings allowed us to reflect upon a lot of things, e.g. the lessons from the gender budgeting TIPs, the ACT supportive measures, and the CoP’s next steps to achieve gender equality objectives.
It became clear in the online workshop that the CoP members are quite focused on the consolidation of the CoP, for example, on how the CoP members can take over the blog posts and the need to organize smaller working groups, and a webinar. The CoP members are planning the future steps regarding the GEAM survey, blogs, webinar and working groups, thus, developing to a more sustainable CoP.