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Protocol, with lists of mechanisms that might be included, but should not be lim-
ited by that model. We would suggest the following principles:
• Aim for women to have equal membership of bodies that negotiate or make
decisions (in light of the fact that 30% is recognized as a critical mass thresh-
old where women's presence begins to have an effect, but may in practice, in a
smaller group, mean only one or two persons).
• Set up negotiating and decision-making bodies for women only, if that is what
women prefer. These could then feed into other bodies.
• Hold consultations separately for women, and feed the outcome back to the
negotiating or decision-making body, in order to ensure that women's views
become part of the agenda and are a basis of decisions made.
Ultimately, of course, international guidelines and policies can only change real-
ity on the ground if governments and other local stakeholders seriously and con-
sistently create the necessary mechanisms through practical, implementable, local
processes. International, national and local bodies, as well as researchers, should be
accountable for the exclusion and discriminatory treatment of women in benefit
sharing, as in other areas of their work. 24 Research ethics committees should look
for appropriate provisions in study protocols, and in progress and final reports from
researchers. Study sponsors should also take more responsibility for this matter. 25
It is no simple, linear process for women to recognize their gendered selves and
represent themselves in decision-making on benefit sharing in the exercise of their
agency. The interconnectedness of structures, subjectivity and context makes this
a difficult, complex enterprise. Guidelines that seek to protect women's rights in
benefit sharing, while morally compelling, are not sufficient to bring this about.
24 For an interesting discussion see Lavery et al. ( 2010 ).
25 For example the European Commission includes an optional 'consideration of gender aspects'
in research funding applications under Framework 7, currently expressed as ' an indication of the
type of actions that will be undertaken during the course of the project to promote gender equal-
ity in the project, or in the specific research field…. The gender dimension of the research con-
tent should also be considered' (EC 2010 : 31).
These kinds of mechanisms could be used more widely to consider research content in more
detail. For example, the Research Council of Norway regards it as 'essential that gender perspec-
tives are given adequate consideration in the research projects' it funds, and states that 'considera-
tion will be given to whether the research projects have taken such perspectives adequately into
account' (Research Council of Norway 2003 ).
In a recent development, point 4 of the Manifesto for Integrated Action on the Gender Dimension in
Research and Innovation ( 2011 ) launched at the 1st European Gender Summit in November 2011,
wishes to: 'Consider “whether, and in what sense, sex and gender are relevant in the objectives and
methodology of the project” to ensure excellence in research. This key question must be asked by
researchers, research funders, evaluators, reviewers and journal editors. Evidence demonstrates that
the assertion that science is gender neutral is not the case. When gender is not taken into account,
research often results in different health and safety outcomes for women and men. Researchers also
need to question how to ensure that the products and services they help develop benefit both women
and men.' The Manifesto is the product of extensive public consultation and discussion and was
presented to the EC Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Maire Geoghegan-Quinn
on December 16th, 2011.
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