STATEMENT FOR GENDER STUDIES OF THE VALENCIAN UNIVERSITIES COORDINATING CENTRE
Women's Studies Centre
Multidisciplinary Seminar on Gender Studies
Seminar on Feminist Research
University Institute on Women's Studies
The University of Valencia's Institute for Women's Studies, the University Jaume I Foundation Isonomía for equal opportunities, the Feminist Research Seminar, the University of Alicante's Women's Studies Centre and the Multidisciplinary Seminar on Gender Studies at the University Miguel Hernández, in the face of the imminent change in the statutes of the universities of the region of Valencia, declare the following:
That the statutory reform process in which all the Valencian universities are involved represents an opportunity to reflect on the deficiencies existing in gender equality. Thus, measures witihn the statutory scheme should be taken to provide real equality between women and men in compliance of the current legislation, among which we want to highlight:
1. Equality between women and men is a principle recognized internationally. Thus, many international conventions have been ratified by our country, which state the obligation of the signatory States of developing equality policies and positive action measures to achieve real gender equality, as noted in article 3 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, 18th November, 1979 (BOE of 21 March).
2. The European Union has declared the principle of equality as one of the fundamental missions of the Union. This specific concern of eliminating inequality existing at all levels between men and women in its territory has elevated this principle to the highest legal level, and entered the primary law. At the same time, it recognizes positive action as a fundamental right. The Charter of the Fundamental Rights of the European Union in art. 27 notes that the principle of equality does not preclude the maintenance or adoption of measures providing for specific advantages in favour of the less-represented sex.
3. The Spanish Constitution establishes equality as a top value of the legal system and obliges the public authorities to promote conditions to make freedom and equality both real and effective (art. 1.1 and 9.2 CE).
4. The Statute of Autonomy of the Comunidad Valenciana establishes in art.6 that it is responsibility of the Generalitat Valenciana, in the scope of its competence, to promote the conditions to make equality and freedom of citizens and groups in which they integrate, real and effective.
5. Last March 13, 2003, the Corts Valencianes, approved the Act on equality between women and men, which devotes a chapter to education for equality by introducing the teaching of gender studies at University.
The situation of women and gender studies in Valencian universities remains an outstanding/unresolved issue since the democratization of the University, thus:
1. In the area of the Government of the University it should be noted that the presence of women is below the desirable. The under-representation of women in decision-making bodies involves a democratic deficit, incompatible with a real democracy, and at the same time it constitutes a loss of skills that would benefit society as a whole. A balanced participation of women and men can generate ideas, values and behaviours, so it is necessary to establish in the statutes a balanced distribution within the governing bodies of universities.
2. In the field of teaching there has been an increase in the subjects relating to women and gender studies in the last thirty years, although there is still an insufficient offer of courses in many universities. Thus, the proportion within the whole set of courses is insignificant, while as noted by the White Book of the studies of women, education in equality is the essential element to achieve social change.
3. In the field of research, women's and gender studies have a widespread introduction in European countries, although it varies its extension and institutional recognition depending on academic, social and political reasons in each country. Spain has an important position; being one of the countries with more people linked to University centres of women's and gender studies, making research papers. This results in an important scientific production that in most cases is ignored because there is still a certain opposition of those who control the decision-making centres to give it the status it deserves. Even in some areas of knowledge to make this type of research involves a "scientific" discredit. It is necessary that universities recognize women's and gender studies and establish measures to promote their development and recognition.