AOIFE 1999 Annual Report

The Association of Institutions for Feminist Education and Research in Europe

AOIFE, founded in Limerick Ireland in December 1996, is a European association for international co-operation within Feminist Studies and Gender Research.

AOIFE's main purpose is to provide the following:

This Annual Report aims to summarise AOIFE’s most important tasks carried out and accomplishments made in 1999, provide an overview of its current financial status as well as the activities that were set into motion during 1999 and that will be continued in the subsequent year(s).

I Activities/Projects

ATHENA

The Advanced Thematic Network in Women’s Studies in Europe, ATHENA, is AOIFE's most significant activity. The network got EU funds for the second of the three-year project (1998-2001) this autumn to the amount of 104.000 Euro, which is an increase of the funds since 1998.

ATHENA's has two working groups, one focusing on Women's Studies curriculum and the other focusing on information technology in Women's Studies.

A joint publication for both working groups has been processed in 1999 and will be published spring 2000.

II New Projects/funding applications

Research projects

During 1999 AOIFE has continued the preparations of research proposals to be funded under EU's 5th framework programme. We have been working on three proposals in 1999:

Transatlantic project

Preparations for applying for the European Union's Directorate General XXII's "Joint EU/US Consortia for Co-operation in Higher Education and Vocational and Educational training" programme early in 2000 were initiated in 1998. In 1999, the leading European partner for the project (Utrecht University, Netherlands) has worked to build up the European consortium, which will work closely with the US consortium being established (University of Michigan, USA). A joint application will be submitted in March 2000. The project will focus on setting up Transatlantic Women's Studies exchange programmes and developing curriculum materials which will be addressing the interconnections of race, gender, ethnicity and national location.

III Networking

Fifth Framework Programme

Since 1997 AOIFE has been active in lobbying for the inclusion of gender themes in the EU’s Directorate General XII’s Fifth Framework Programme for Research (1999-2002), together with other key agents within the field of Women's Studies/Gender Research/Equality. The result of this work was made visible in 1999. The Fifth framework program explicitly mentions gender. This in turn resulted in the Women and Science communication, the establishment of the Women and Science sector within the General directorate for Research, and in relations to this the Gender and Science Watch System.

AOIFE Council Member Rosi Braidotti acted as a consultant for Directorate General for Research in its work to make a database of experts and networks of Women in Science in Europe. On the basis of this database an expert meeting called: networking the networks was held in July 1999 in Bruxelles. Rosi Braidotti was one of the two keynote speakers. Harriet Silius also represented AOIFE council.

One of the main results of this meeting was a declaration. In the declaration it is underlined that a) the networks have a strategic role to play to bring about a better gender balance in research and research policy. b) Further the networks need to develop a wide range of tools, and they need support from the EU and the Member States to do so. c) The link between gender research and "women in science" issues needs to be strengthened (Rosi Braidotti, Prof. at Utrecht University gave a convincing lecture on this matter). d) Finally the networks call for the establishment of a network of networks at European level.

AOIFE Council Member Harriet Silius was member of the Fifth Framework Programme’s External Advisory Group for the "Social economic key action" under the specific programme on "Improving the Human Research Potential"(IHP). The group assists with the implementation of the work programmes for the IHP programme throughout the duration of this key action

Next GENDERation Network

The Next GENDERation Network has been an official section of AOIFE since November 1998. The Network is meant to provide a structure for younger students, scholars and professionals involved in Women's Studies and feminism in Europe. The network gives the younger generation a chance to participate in existing European projects and activities in the field of Women's Studies, and build new projects and activities in the field. During 1999 Next GENDERation has:

AOIFE/ATHENA External Advisory Board

In November 1998, the Council agreed that AOIFE/ATHENA would set up an External Advisory Board in 1999. During 1999 the external advisory board had three meetings. The board members are representatives from national ministries of research/education and experts in the field of women's studies and gender research.

The external advisory boards function is to advise AOIFE/ATHENA on policy matters, fund-raising, preparing research and funding applications, carry out existing projects and other types of general consultation

IV. Conferences/Seminars 1999

During 1999 AOIFE both participated in conferences held workshops at conferences and began the preparations for the 4th European Feminist Research Conference.

Women's Worlds Conference, June 21-26, 1999.

The Women's Worlds Conference in Tromsø, Norway, was an international conference for feminist researchers and activists. It was the 7th International Interdisciplinary Congress on Women and it is held every third year in different locations around the world.

"Networking the Networks" Conference

The Women and Science Unit under the European Commissions Research DG (DG XII) hosted and co-ordinated the conference: "Networking the Networks". Rosi Braidotti and Harriet Silius represented AOIFE (July 10) (se III Networking).

4th European feminist Research Conference in Bologna 2000.

AOIFE is one of the key co-ordinators of the 4th European Feminist Research Conference to be held in autumn 2000 in Bologna, Italy. The local host for the event is Bologna Women's Information and Documentation Centre.

AOIFE has received funding for the conference under the Fifth Framework program under EU. AOIFE developed a task force within its Council to prepare for this large event from September 28 - October 1, 2000.

The main aim of this conference is to provide a forum for the exchange and critical appraisal of contemporary fundamental and applied research in the areas of gender, Women's Studies and feminist theory.

V. Information

Information from the secretariat has been disseminated via:

VI. Membership

AOIFE is composed of institutional members. The two types of membership available are institutional, granted to institutions of higher education, research, and documentation centres and associate membership, granted to local/national/ European associations, co-ordinating bodies, etc. A small number of the members are exempted from the membership fees.

At the time of the finalisation of the accounts AOIFE was looking at a decline in membership from 1998 to 1999 from 66 to 52, this ameliorated during the first month of 2000 and by end March the decline was only from 66 members to 61. It should however be noted that exact numbers are difficult to determine at a given time. The numbers mentioned here reflect the number of members whose payments have been received in our bank account, plus the number of members approved for payment exemption. Therefore, the numerous "pending" cases are not factored in (delays, complications in transferring payments, etc.) We do feel that these numbers still offer a general idea of AOIFE's membership base. AOIFE's members institutions represent over 20 different European countries.

It should also be noted that AOIFE gained 15 % new members in 1999. This is a gain of 10 new members in 1999. However, the loss of old members is still bigger then the gain of new members. The table below illustrates the development in AOIFE members as well as the membership categories.

 

 

1998

1999

Members in AOIFE

66

52

ATHENA partners

64

47

Institutional members

63

48

Associate members

3

4

Exemptions

6

3

The pr. country spread in member institutions (including institutional members, associate members as well as exemptions):

 

1998

1999

Austria

1

1

Belgium

4

2

Denmark

7

4

Finland

3

4

France

2

1

Germany

2

2

Greece

1

1

Hungary

1

1

Ireland

2

1

Israel

 

1

Italy

11

7

Latvia

1

 

Lithuania

1

1

N. Ireland

1

1

Netherlands

4

5

Norway

3

2

Poland

 

1

Portugal

1

 

Slovenia

 

1

Spain

5

3

Sweden

5

5

Switzerland

4

3

United Kingdom

6

5

Yugoslavia

1

 

From the chart it you can see that the decrease in members is a general tendency across Europe and not a regional phenomena. However it should be noted, that new regions have been included as AOIFE members. The institutions in several countries are stable AOIFE members.

A challenge facing AOIFE in the coming year(s) will be to increase its number of members. In order to do this; it is crucial that potential and existing AOIFE members understand that the long-term benefits of being part of AOIFE will be worth their investment of time and money into the association.

VII. AOIFE Council

The current Council was elected at the AOIFE General Assembly, on July 7, 1997 in Coimbra, Portugal. The AOIFE Council is composed of nine members and a replacement member. Council terms are three years and the next Council elections will be held at the next General Assembly in 2000.

The Council convened three meetings in 1999.

Aside from these meetings, AOIFE Council and Secretariat make frequent use of e-mail, fax, and telephone in relaying information and taking decisions on various AOIFE matters from their respective countries.

Council members:

President: Graca Abranches, Coimbra University, Portugal. From November replaced by Harriet Silius, Åbo Academy University, Finland.

President pro tempore: Harriet Silius, Åbo Academy University, Finland. (From November 1999)

Vice- President: Rosi Braidotti, Utrecht University, Netherlands.

Fride Eeg-Henriksen, NIKK, Norway.

Gabriele Griffin, Kingston University, U.K.

Nina Lykke, Odense University, Denmark.

Margarita Birriel Salcedo, University of Granada, Spain.

Anna Maria Tagliavini, Women’s Documentation Centre, Italy.

Diana Mulinari, Lund University, Sweden

Replacement: Jalna Hanmer, Leeds Metropolitan University, U.K.

VIII. Administration and Finances

Secretariat

The Secretariat is responsible for performing co-ordination and administrative tasks related to AOIFE’s activities, members, and contact networks throughout Europe and internationally. The Secretariat employed a secretariat co-ordinator (Diana Anders until 1. July 1999 followed by Elisabeth Lorenzen) who allotted approximately 400 hours to AOIFE in 1999.

Finances

(See attached AOIFE Accounts 1999)

AOIFE’s biggest expenditures are wages for the Secretariat and travel costs (for the Council and Secretariat to central meetings). The primary sources of income are membership fees. The NIKK/Oslo University contributions, such as use of free office space and equipment do not influence the net result per se, but without them, AOIFE would accumulate a much larger negative income.

Due to a decrease in the number of members in AOIFE it has been necessary to cut back on the expenses for AOIFE in 1999. The subsidies for the council's travel expenses were reduced significantly. Also the wage expenses were reduced compared to 1998. The Accounts 1999 reflect AOIFE’s dependency on membership dues and the contributions from NIKK and University of Oslo for its financial stability. It is also worth noticing that the declining exchange rate in Euro versus Norwegian crowns (NOK) has weakened the economy of AOIFE since 1998. From the fall of 1999 AOIFE's bank relations have been separated from the University of Oslo (before the University took care of AOIFE bank practises), this means that the university no longer pays the transaction costs between banks in Europe. This cost is now held by AOIFE and this also influences the AOIFE economy.

AOIFE has stable assets of approx. 50.000 NOK which we find a necessary minimum in case of unexpected events or sudden changes.

IX Challenges for the future

AOIFE needs to consolidate itself as an influential organisation within Feminist Research in Europe. This in turns demands for a committed Council that consciously works towards reaching the goals of the association. This also includes pursuing EU financed Research Projects and Networks.

The AOIFE General Assembly in September 2000 in Bologna is an important event in the process of consolidating the Association.

One of AOIFE's main tasks for 2000 is to begin the preparation towards the 6th Framework program, where the goal is to make gender aspects even more visible then in the last framework program.

A significant factor for the sustainability of AOIFE is the improvement of the economy. Ways have to be found to bring in additional income to the now existing membership fees if we want AOIFE to continue to be a well functioning association. This could be done through alternative funding sources; increased contributions form the host institution or increased membership fees.

A way to secure the future growth of AOIFE is to better the inclusion of the younger generation in AOIFE. Next GENDERation is which is an official sector under AOIFE is working in several ways to include younger scholars and researchers. The network has planed several activities for the coming years which in turn will formalise and strengthen the link to the younger generation of feminists. Among these activities are the fist General Assembly of Next GENDERation (in Pisa, Italy in September 2000), the construction of a database over the members of Next GENDERation, and several book projects.

The period for which the AOIFE secretariat should be situated with NIKK runs out in December 2000. Therefor the AOIFE secretariat will be moved to the University of Linköping, towards the end of 2000 where council member Nina Lykke is situated. The move of the secretariat shall be approved by the AOIFE General Assembly September 2000.

AOIFE Homehome10


05.02.2001 / BSTaoife@tema.liu.se