Gender Equality Plan
This document constitutes the Gender Equality Plan (GEP) of the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA). The plan was approved by NIVA’s leader group on 4 April 2022.
NIVA is an applied research institute for fundamental and applied research on marine and fresh waters. Our research comprises a wide array of environmental, climatic and resource-related fields. We combine research, monitoring, evaluation, problem-solving and advisory services at international, national and local levels. The institute is a nationally leading actor in water research and is also an internationally recognized research institute.
The document describes NIVA’s ambition and targets for the institute’s work to promote gender equality within the organization, focusing on the scientific staff and associated line management. The plan takes its point of departure in NIVA’s current situation and framework conditions and describes important initiatives and actions defined in order to achieve the ambition, responsibilities and how we will follow-up and monitor progress.
NIVA has worked systematically to ensure equal opportunities and gender balanced among the work force over years. Nevertheless, the initiatives taken by the European Commission and the Research Council of Norway through demanding an explicitly formulated Gender Equality Plan has been an inspiration and further call for action regarding this important issue.
The work and activities defined in the GEP are linked to and part of the institute’s efforts towards fulfilling the purpose of the Norwegian Equal Opportunities and Anti-Discrimination Act (Likestillings- og diskrimineringsloven), which addresses several diversity issues, with gender equality being a key issue. The Act shall contribute to real equality and employers have an obligation to work actively, purposefully and systematically to promote equality and prevent discrimination.
In NIVA there shall be equal opportunities, terms and working conditions, regardless of gender. We actively work to achieve a balanced distribution of gender within all parts of the institute. NIVA works to even out differences, ensure a desired development and enable the organization to be an active part of this work. We have zero tolerance for any type of violence or sexual harassment in NIVA.
The current situation
NIVA is a non-profit research foundation, established in 1958. Starting of small, NIVA now counts more than 300 employees. The institute has developed with the times, reflecting the societal changes that have taken place in general regarding gender balance in the work force. The proportion of women employees in NIVA has therefore increased over time and late 2021, 56% of all employees are women. In general, the number of women with a degree in the natural sciences has increased significantly over time and currently a little less than half (47%) of our researchers are women. In this plan we will focus on the gender balance among the scientific staff and associated line management.
The overall gender balance among researchers is good, but there are differences within the various categories. There is an overweight of female researcher 3, a good balance of researcher 2 and senior researchers and an overweight of male researcher 1 and chief scientists. This trend is partly a reflection of an imbalance in the recruitment base from some decades ago.
A major challenges NIVA faces with gender balance and equality is within the middle management. Currently two out of eleven research managers are female, while there is balance among the research director. The gender balance in the recruitment base of researchers is, however, good.
We have defined several targets for NIVA’s work towards continuous improvement of gender balance within the various areas of our organisation.
We have defined a 40% to 60% ratio as an acceptable range although our overall target is to get as close to 50/50 as possible. However, we cannot expect to achieve and sustain a 50/50 ratio at any given time as there is a constant flux of employees in our organisation. It will, however, not be considered appropriate if all of the indicators are in the lower bracket.
NIVA’s gender equality indicators (F/M) with current status 31.12.2021 as well as 3- and 6-year targets.
Current status (2021)
3 years (2024)
6 years (2027)
Publications and applications
F salary as % of M salary
NIVA has an overall good balance of female and male employees in scientific positions. However, there is a slight imbalance within the group with a slight overweight of female researcher 3, a balanced group of researcher 2 and a clear overweight of males in the researcher 1 group. There is a good balance in the senior scientist group, which is the alternative career path for researchers focusing more on applied research.
The institute also has a good balance at the top line scientific management level, but a considerably weaker balance at the middle management level.
It is the institute’s opinion that the researcher 2 group constitutes a sound recruitment base for both the academic career path and for research management positions.
In terms of project management, applications for research funding and scientific publications, the gender balance is within the target area of 40/60.
Female and male researchers receive equal pay in the various segments.
3-year targets (2024)
The targets for Research managers and chief scientist will be challenging as it takes time build and prepare for management competence as well as building scientific merit. The basis is to a certain extent decided by parameters and circumstances from years back, but we believe that we have the recruitment base and that we to a large extent can rely on developing our own employees.
The goals for scientific output, research project applications and overall project management is to secure and consolidate a good gender balance.
6-year target (2027)
The six-year target is to obtain and maintain a balance measured through the various indicators. The target for research managers and chief scientist is approximately one third female representation, building on the goal achievement for the previous three-year period.
Responsibility and resources
NIVA’s leader group has the overall responsibility for NIVA’s gender equality plans, activities and monitoring. The follow-up of the action plan lies with the HR Director who has a specific responsibility for ensuring that procedures are in place and that we have the competence to be in compliance.
The line management will be responsible for following up the action plan within the respective areas of the institute and for incorporating and defining the follow-up of groups and individuals. They will also be a crucial part of the development of culture, awareness and attitudes.
Special Advisor Research will follow up gender balance in research applications and projects through active guidance and mentoring of researchers.
The HR staff will continue to ensure that recruitment, career development and determination of salary is balanced in terms of equal opportunities and gender balance. NIVA is aware of unconscious gender bias regarding recruitment processes and promotion processes at all levels.
HR will also play an important role in developing the soft skills and attitudes that will further develop NIVA as a working environment. The objective is to ensure that we facilitate equality, life balance and a cooperative, supportive working culture.
NIVA’s procedures and implementation of gender equality is well-established and provides a sound foundation also for future work. We will make use of and also rely on already established structures within the institute.
Progress reports/monitoring of progress
The follow-up and monitoring of the gender balance will be an incorporated part our already established systems.
In the institute’s strategy “NIVA towards 2030 - Research for a sustainable future” one of the focus areas and overarching goals is “NIVA has a positive and inspiring working environment” and gender balance falls under this goal. Periodic and yearly action plans are developed under the various areas, and the gender equality activities are incorporated under this specific focus area. The action plans are an important tool for management.
A representative from the trade unions has participated in the initial mapping of the base line for gender balance in NIVA. The results have been presented for the working environment representatives (AMU). The action plans will take their point of departure from this base line and a yearly data collection and monitoring of equality targets will be carried out. The action plan will be revised and adjusted accordingly.
Gender equality status and work is referred to in the institute’s yearly report, to be approved by the board. The institute is also required to report on activities under the Norwegian Equal Opportunities and Anti-Discrimination Act to demonstrate active, purposeful and systematic work to promote equality and prevent discrimination.
The yearly and periodic action plans include measures for gender equality. For the period 2022-2027 the main goals are to 1) increase the number of female research managers, 2) increase the number of female chief scientists and 3) facilitate and support researchers in connection with parental leave.
In support of this, NIVA establishes a program in 2019 for supported career development for scientist through temporary positions as key and lead scientist. This program will be continued and developed further.
As of 2021 NIVA defined a new scheme called Seed money that is aimed at new employees and others needing a start-up grant, for example on returning from a longer absence such as parental leave. This scheme will be evaluated and developed further.
A pilot mentoring program for early career scientist was conducted in 2021. NIVA is going to set up a continuation of this program on a permanent basis, building on the experience and evaluation of the pilot. In parallel, a leadership supported carrier planning will be implemented.
Supported carrier planning, relevant for both female and male employees will be part of the research managers follow-up of in the sections and directed at both scientific and management carrier paths.
Further, NIVA will organize thematic workshops to strengthen network building and raise awareness, as well as for the purpose of developing in-demand expertise.
 Based on number of sections, taking into account temporary substitutes
 Average over three years: 2019-2021
 Average over three years: 2018-2020
 Research Council of Norway, average over three years: 2019-2021
 Average salary, female researchers compared to male researchers, October 2021