Why should you be dealing with Gender Equality in your research organisation?

Although the situation in the Western Balkans when it comes to gender equality in research and innovation is better than in most EU Member States, structural barriers persist. It is…

Jul 9, 2021

  1. Although the situation in the Western Balkans when it comes to gender equality in research and innovation is better than in most EU Member States, structural barriers persist. It is important to include more women in STEM research and innovation.
  2. When applying for research grants (especially EU co-funded ones and in particular Horizon Europe) you are required to integrate the gender dimension into your research and innovation content and to develop inclusive gender equality policies in your institution.

Gender Equality Plans as an eligibility criterion in Horizon Europe

For calls with deadlines in 2022 and onwards, having a Gender Equality Plan (GEP) will be an eligibility criterion for all public bodies, higher education institutions and research organisations wishing to participate in Horizon Europe.

What does a GEP address? Five thematic areas are recommended contentwise

  • work-life balance and organisational culture
  • gender balance in leadership and decision-making
  • gender equality in recruitment and career progression
  • integration of the gender dimension into research and teaching content
  • measures against gender-based violence including sexual harassment

What makes it an eligible document? It must meet 4 mandatory process-related requirements or ‘building blocks’

  1. Be a public document: The GEP should be a formal document signed by the top management and disseminated within the institution. It should demonstrate a commitment to gender equality, set clear goals and detailed actions and measures to achieve them
  2. Have dedicated resources: Resources for the design, implementation, and monitoring of GEPs may include funding for specific positions such as Equality Officers or Gender Equality Teams as well as earmarked working time for academic, management and administrative staff
  3. Include arrangements for data collection and monitoring: GEPs must be evidence-based and founded on sex or gender-disaggregated baseline data collected across all staff categories. This data should inform the GEP’s objectives and targets, indicators, and ongoing evaluation of progress
  4. Be supported by training and capacity-building: Actions may include developing gender competence and tackling unconscious gender bias among staff, leaders and decision-makers, establishing working groups dedicated to specific topics, and raising awareness through workshops and communication activities

Source: General Annexes to Horizon Europe 2021-2022 Work programme

Who needs a GEP in Horizon Europe?

Three categories of legal entities used in EU programmes are concerned by this requirement:

  • public bodies (including e.g. ministries, research funding organisations, municipalities, as well as public-for-profit organisations such as certain museums)
  • research organisations (both public and private)
  • higher education establishments (both public and private).

Other categories of legal entities, such as private-for-profit organisations, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), or non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society organisations (CSOs), are not concerned. This requirement concerns legal entities applying as beneficiaries as well as affiliated entities.

Regarding countries, the requirement concerns organisations established in EU Member States and Associated Countries. Non-associated third countries are not concerned.

When is the GEP needed?

The GEP is required:

  • At first, at the proposal submission stage, a self-declaration will be requested through a dedicated questionnaire.
  • An organisation may not yet have a GEP at the proposal submission stage, but it must have a GEP in place at the time of the Grant Agreement signature.
  • The Model Grant Agreement commits beneficiaries to take all measures to promote equal opportunities between men and women in the implementation of the action and, where applicable, in line with their GEP.

Gender equality plans: Frequently asked questions

Publications and links