Step 4: Implementing a Gender Equality Plan

Ready, steady, go!

Having set up the gender equality plan (GEP) (see step 3), you are ready to start its implementation. Gather the team that is going to be involved in the implementation of the GEP and form a task force to put in motion the measures of the GEP according to the established timeline.

Organise regular meetings with the team responsible for the implementation of the GEP. These meetings are important to design and plan activities in a participatory way, but also to discuss the progress, main achievements, and aspects that can be improved or need to be adjusted. This will allow for identifying possible problems and acting proactively upon them.

You may consider organising an initial training session for the team responsible for implementing the GEP, and for audiences directly involved, either within your research funding body (e.g. programme managers, scientific officers, human resources staff) or external stakeholders (reviewers, panel/board members, applicants, etc.). Continuous awareness-raising and capacity-building efforts will maximise your chances for success and institutionalisation. As highlighted in the recommendations of the ‘Gender equality network in the European research area’ (GENERA) project, the implementation team should be skilled in driving organisational change, dealing with resistance and building support networks, and should have gender knowledge regarding research careers, decision-making and integrating gender into research content. Furthermore, it is helpful to build up or use existing knowledge about self-assessment, monitoring, and data gathering and analysis, and about the specifics and functioning of one’s own institution.

If the team is lacking specific skills, consider who from outside your research funding body might provide expertise or which member might be trained. Moreover, during the implementation of the GEP, you can provide personalised coaching, organise additional awareness-raising sessions, run campaigns on selected topics or plan workshops to build specific competences. It is also helpful to involve people in the wider GEP group (gender equality committee, strategic department) who can provide skills or knowledge that are not directly available to the core team.

In the course of implementing your plan, be aware that structural change towards gender equality is about looking for windows of opportunities for change (such as national gender targets from a national authority, or renegotiating or drafting a statutory document, strategic plan, etc.) and transforming existing processes, schemes and bodies, as much as it is about institutionalising GEP measures. You might encounter resistance on the way; if so, consult the toolkit from the ‘Supporting the promotion of equality in research and academia’ (SUPERA) project, Resistances to Structural Change in Gender Equality.

In order to view videos and webinars or further tools and resources on the topics discussed in step 4, switch between the respective tabs. Otherwise, click below to continue to the next step and learn about monitoring and evaluating your GEP.

As the implementation of a GEP for funding bodies is rather new, we refer to the experiences of other research organisations.

  • To get a quick overview of what to consider regarding the implementation of a GEP, including keys to success and the main difficulties, see ‘Key issues for implementation’, compiled by the ‘Promoting gender balance and inclusion in research, innovation and training’ (PLOTINA) project.
  • The EU-funded SAGE project proposes short guidelines for the implementation of GEPs to help GEP-implementing organisations plan and manage their GEP process, for example how to compose the implementation team, how to engage stakeholders and how to ensure sustainability.
  • The GENERA Roadmap for the implementation of customized gender equality plans is meant to support the implementation team in its organisation. It provides a detailed description of the consecutive steps of designing and implementing a GEP, provides checklists with relevant questions and guides you to resources you may find helpful during the process.

Need more inspiration on how to involve relevant and interested stakeholders?

Need inspiration on giving visibility to the gender equality plan?