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 implementing it. Gather the team that is going to be involved in the implementation of the GEP that you identified in step 3. Together, form a task force to put the measures of the GEP in motion according to the established timeline. Try to embed and institutionalise as many measures as possible in order to ensure their sustainability.

Organise regular meetings with the team responsible for the implementation of the GEP. These meetings are important not only to design and plan activities in a participatory way, but also to discuss the progress, main achievements and aspects that can be improved. This will allow for identifying possible problems and acting proactively on them.

You may consider organising an initial training session for the team responsible for implementing the GEP, and for other targeted audiences directly involved (e.g. managers, human resources staff). Continuous awareness-raising and capacity-building efforts will maximise chances for success and institutionalisation. As highlighted in the ‘Gender equality network in the European research area’ (GENERA) project recommendations , the implementation team should possess knowledge of the following:

  • driving organisational change;
  • dealing with resistance;
  • building support networks;
  • the gender aspect of research careers, decision-making and content of research and teaching;
  • self-assessment, monitoring, and data gathering and analysis;
  • the specifics and functioning of one’s own institution.

If the team is lacking specific skills, consider who else could be involved or which member should 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, hub, etc.) 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 not only about implementing the GEP you have developed. It is about looking for windows of opportunities for change (such as 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 your way; if so, consult the toolkit from the ‘Supporting the promotion of equality in research and academia’ (SUPERA) project entitled 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.

To get a quick overview of what to consider regarding the implementation of a GEP, including keys to success and main difficulties, see ‘Key issues for implementation’, compiled by the project ‘Promoting gender balance and inclusion in research, innovation and training’ (PLOTINA).

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?

If you are interested in founding a national hub on gender equality, consult the Strategic Plan for Stakeholder Engagement, developed by the EU-funded project Hypatia.

Need inspiration on giving visibility to the gender equality plan?

The Guidelines for Gender-sensitive Communication in Research and Academia, developed by the SUPERA project (2020), will help you to (1) raise awareness of the pervasive role of communication and language in gender equality, (2) raise awareness of gender biases and stereotypes in everyday communication and (3) introduce a gender-sensitive approach in your organisation’s communication strategies and practices.

See the toolkit on gender-sensitive communication from the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) for guidelines on the use of gender-sensitive language in writing.

The EU-funded project ‘Structural transformation to achieve gender equality in science’ (STAGES) has shared its experiences regarding communication and visibility. Structural Transformation to Achieve Gender Equality in Science – Guidelines (pp. 51–54) provides several relevant insights.

Need inspiration on making necessary adaptions?

The wheel toolkit designed by the EU-funded SAGE project (2017) aims to assist organisations in effecting and sustaining change in cycles. At the end of each cycle, the organisation should reassess itself and make changes towards gender equality. The wheel toolkit shows how to review the GEP annually and provides lessons learnt from implementation processes.