Step 5: Monitoring progress and evaluating a Gender Equality Plan

Monitoring and evaluation are important parts of the process of change. As you know by now, a gender equality plan (GEP) will typically address several issues at once, leading to a complex set of measures. Nonetheless, effective monitoring and evaluation instruments are often lacking, which undermines the transformative potential of the planned measures. If objectives are not indexed on relevant progress, success or outreach indicators, it is difficult to assess whether the organisation is actually being transformed. This might also reduce the commitment of stakeholders to meeting those objectives. Having an appropriate monitoring and evaluation plan in place, however, can support the effective implementation of measures, ensure accountability, and enhance your knowledge and understanding of ongoing changes. This way, you also know whether your GEP requires adjusting.

Besides these logical arguments for thinking about monitoring and evaluation from the very beginning, it is also a GEP requirement for participating in Horizon Europe. You need to be aware that, in order to be eligible for Horizon Europe, ‘it is mandatory that organisations collect and publish disaggregated data on the sex and/or gender of personnel (and students, where relevant) and carry out annual reporting based on indicators’ (see Horizon Europe Guidance on Gender Equality Plans, pp. 23–27). While this step comes only after planning and implementing your GEP, as laid out in the step-by-step guide (because that is when you start monitoring the effects of your measures), you need to know that the monitoring and evaluation strategy needs to be set out beforehand.

Ideally, you considered which areas you wanted to focus on in step 2 when analysing and assessing the status quo in your organisation. In step 3, you then set out specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-related (SMART) targets and measures addressing these areas. In order to develop a monitoring and evaluation strategy, use the status quo assessment as a starting point. The results of this assessment will establish the baseline, which will allow you to monitor and evaluate your progress.

In order to view videos and webinars or further tools and resources on the topics discussed in step 5, switch between the respective tabs. Otherwise, click below to continue to the next step and read about how to ensure the sustainability of your measures. You can also go back to the previous step.


  • The EU-funded project SPEAR prepared video presentations to help practitioners understand the steps involved in implementing a GEP. The videos are based on the steps provided in this GEAR step-by-step guide. Watch the videos on steps 5 and 6 to get a better understanding of how the process works and what to consider in these steps. Note that there are also tasks for you to perform at the end of some of the videos, to check your understanding of the topics.
    GEAR tool – steps 5 and 6
  • There is a useful tutorial on how to use the ‘Promoting gender balance and inclusion in research, innovation and training’ (PLOTINA) monitoring tool.


Guidelines for creating a monitoring and evaluation strategy

For data collection and monitoring, the GEAM tool contains a specific section for funding bodies, covering external funding activities and internal processes.

To assess structural change, the EU-funded project ‘Transforming organisational culture for gender equality in research and innovation’ (GENOVATE) developed comprehensive guidelines for evaluating gender equality action plans. These guidelines include inputs from the evaluation literature and guide you through the steps of the evaluation process.

Another very comprehensive guide was written in the course of the EU-funded project GenderTime, entitled A model for building a gender equality index for academic institutions. This 2016 guide addresses the problem of measuring gender equality in academia. It starts by defining the problems and arguing for the importance of appropriate monitoring and evaluation, then provides detailed definitions and, finally, introduces different approaches. It also describes how to build a system of indicators in great detail.

In the context of the ‘Gender equality in information science and technology’ (EQUAL-IST) project, a report based on the experiences of monitoring and evaluating GEPs in seven research-performing organisations was published. The report presents the assessment methodology and indicators used in the monitoring process and provides a monitoring template plan.

The wheel toolkit designed by the EU-funded ‘Systemic action for gender equality’ (SAGE) project (2017) aims to assist organisations in implementing and sustaining change in cycles. At each cycle, the organisation should reassess itself and carry out changes towards gender equality. It includes a comprehensive three-phase approach to GEPs and institutional changes. Check out the project report entitled Mapping tools for the evaluation of gender equality plans.

If you want to see more examples of how data was collected in other organisations, see Structural Transformation to Achieve Gender Equality in Science – Guidelines (pp. 29–34) produced by the EU-funded project ‘Structural transformation to achieve gender equality in science’ (STAGES). In this project, strategies for structural change were launched in a number of research organisations, with the guidelines being written based on the experiences in these organisations.

The European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) website also provides a section on gender monitoring, including guidance on how to build up a set of indicators, as well as a gender statistics database.

Examples of useful monitoring and evaluation indicators

The gender equality monitoring tool of the EU-funded project TARGET provides multiple examples of how to define indicators for different target areas. It builds on a logic model, showing the pathway from the input and set activities to the different outputs, outcomes and general impact. For each dimension in this model, example targets and indicators are provided.

The EU-funded project PLOTINA created a monitoring tool based on 10 core indicators and 40 specific indicators, which can be selected based on the focus of your GEP. Check out the full list of indicators.

Baltic Gender developed an updated version of its handbook of gender indicators, which describes gender-sensitive indicators and provides information on the rationale, the data needed, the computation method, and initial ideas for data analysis and critical issues.

The GENDER-NET project produced a report on qualitative indicators on gender equality in research institutions, which also includes sample questionnaires.

The EU-funded project ‘Female empowerment in science and technology academia’ (FESTA) provided a thorough guide on quantitative indicators and methodology in its FESTA toolkit.

Science Europe developed a Practical guide to improving gender equality in research organisations; the second part of the document (p. 26) deals with ‘How to monitor gender equality’.

The ‘Gender equality network in the European research area’ (GENERA) planning–action–monitoring (PAM) tool can help you find measures, indicators and targets for GEPs in the field of physics. You can choose to click through the online tool or download the entire PAM tool as a PDF document.

The following databases and tools can help you get an overview of how your country is performing compared with other European countries regarding selected gender equality indicators: You can consult She Figures 2021, EIGE’s gender statistics database or GENDERACTION’s data dashboards.

Ready-to-use monitoring and evaluation tools

The EU-funded project GEECCO developed various evaluation and monitoring materials, including an Excel template and a PowerPoint tutorial, for collecting and analysing sex-disaggregated data in research-performing organisations. It covers three core areas: (1) decision-making processes and bodies, (2) recruitment and career development of women researchers and staff and (3) the sex/gender dimension in research and teaching content.

The PLOTINA monitoring tool is an online tool that can help you measure and visualise your progress over different periods. Watch the tutorial video in the tab ‘Videos and webinars’ to get started.

The EU-funded project ‘Gender diversity impact – improving research and innovation through gender diversity’ (GEDII) designed a gender diversity index based on the share of women in different positions, by age and other factors. A self-assessment tool was also developed; you can enter the relevant numbers for your organisation directly on the website and receive your gender diversity score automatically. This score can be calculated repeatedly to monitor change within an organisation.

Report templates to communicate your results

The EU-funded structural change project ‘Institutional transformation for effecting gender equality in research’ (INTEGER) prepared a number of reporting templates, providing suggestions on the structure and relevant content to be covered. Take a look at the context report template, the process report template, the impact report template and the final report template for inspiration and guidance.