The most recent research has shown that in many fields of scientific knowledge, from the humanities to medicine, through the social sciences and engineering, sex and gender variables are insufficiently considered. Stereotypes and biases persist in research and in technological developments, which often construct as a universal norm what are the realities, experiences and expectations of a group of people, mostly males, mostly white and of a certain economic level, and they consider the realities of other people as deviations from the norm. Science, like any other field of human activity, is not free from the cultural and social conditioning factors of its time. Gender stereotypes, and the lower social valuation of women are often transferred to a stereotyped and lesser consideration of their specific realities, whether of a social or biological nature, in research.
In recent decades, gender studies have contributed to revealing and knowing hitherto unexplored areas of reality and also to reducing biases and errors in concepts and theories. In some cases, notably in social sciences and humanities, they have contributed to important reformulations of the disciplinary foundations of some fields of knowledge. In other areas there is still much to be done and, to move forward, it is necessary to foster a fertile cross between gender studies and the rest of the fields of knowledge. Gender is, then, a clear field of innovation in science and technology.
After the signing of the Amsterdam Treaty of 1959, which established equality between men and women as a specific task of the European Community and as a transversal objective that affects all community tasks, the European Commission formalized its commitment to advance equality of gender in research: (European Commission (1999) Women and science: mobilizing women for the benefit of European research, Communication of the European Commission, Brussels). From here, the European Union has made it a priority to introduce gender into the contents of research, in its double version of, on the one hand, addressing the realities of both women and men and, on the other, promoting and Consider gender-specific research to fill gaps in knowledge. Thus, from the V and VI Framework Programs for Research of the EU, the gender perspective has been introduced.
With these same objectives, the European Commission included in the VI Framework Program a requirement for gender analysis to be considered as one more variable, comparable to any other, whose relevance must be taken into account. Important research institutions in the USA, in the Scandinavian countries and in other European countries such as Austria already require the systematic consideration of gender and sex variables in the projects they finance. The United Nations, in its agreement on Science and Technology adopted in March 2011, also mentions the need to incorporate gender analysis into scientific research. The decision adopted by the Seventh Framework Program for Research of the European Union establishes that the integration of the gender dimension and gender equality will be addressed in all areas of research (Decision nº 1982/2006 / Cede 18/12/1986 , IJ L412 30/12 / 2006.p.1). And this same statement has been extended in the current Horizon 2020 Program, which considers gender an analytical category that cuts across the entire research program.
In our country, the inclusion and promotion in the university and scientific policy of programs of training, research and teaching of gender equality in a transversal way is present in all our most recent legislation: Organic Law 1/2004 on Integral protection measures against Gender Violence, Organic Law 3/2007 on Effective Equality of Women and Men, RD 1393/2007 establishing the organization of university education and the LOMLOU (Organic Law 4/2007). Likewise, the Strategic Plan for Equality of Opportunities 2008/2011, which was developed in 12 priority areas of action, also showed the opportunity to carry out university programs of gender study in accordance with national and community regulations. In this sense, Axis 4 (Innovation) is particularly relevant, which refers to mainstreaming, to the improvement of knowledge, to the prominence of women and to the feminization of science and technology. Aspects that also affect the data contained in the White Paper on the situation of women in Spanish science, published by the Women and Science Unit of the Ministry of Science and Innovation in 2011.