Advancing gender equality in higher education: good
practice in employment recognition scheme
Equality Challenge Unit’s (ECU) Equality in higher education: Statistical report 2010 provides a
variable picture of gender equality in higher education. Overall in 2008/09 female staff were in a
majority at 53.6% of all staff. 43.4% of academic professionals and 62.5% of professional and
support staff were women. However, only 18.7% of professors are female, men are much less
likely than women to work part time across both occupational groups, and there is a disparity in
pay for female and male staff in the sector.
ECU aims to develop a national good practice recognition scheme that will provide a framework
for higher education institutions to identify, further develop and share effective interventions that
promote and advance gender equality.
We are inviting institutions to take part in an initial pilot of the scheme. The pilot is designed
around the following principles:
= Institutional commitment to developing the assessment framework and trialling the
= Open and honest sharing of experiences and issues relating to the staff within institutions
based on gender.
= Critical reflection on lessons from trialling the assessment process.
Planned activity to be supported through this pilot may address a number of broad themes, such
= Data collection and related action
= Recruitment processes
= Promotion practices
= Flexible and part time working practices
= Maternity, paternity, adoption, and parental leave uptake and experiences
= Role and impact of senior management and governance
= Effective networking and mentoring
= Career development opportunities
= Workload allocation and management
What is involved?
The pilot will run from September 2011 until June 2012.
Participating institutions will need to provide institutional information at the beginning of the
project, submit a good practice recognition award assessment and report back on their experience
during the programme cycle.
Institutions should identify two or three team members to act as representatives to attend
meetings, take part in activities related to the programme and liaise with ECU. Institutions also
need to identify a wider team of key individuals who will be actively involved in implementing the
pilot within the institution. This team will need to include a Champion at senior management level,
either pro vice-chancellor or above. The wider team might include staff from areas such as:
= Senior management
= Equality and diversity
= Academia and research
= Professional and support services
= Staff development
= Data management and planning
There will be three meetings for two to three representatives from each participating institution.
ECU will meet the venue cost of meetings, but will be unable to cover travel expenses or overnight
accommodation (if required) for team representatives.
Meeting 1: Thursday 15 September 2011
= Clarify the objectives for the development of the pilot good practice recognition scheme.
= Compare baseline data on past/on-going institutional work that promotes and advances
= Share current good practice initiatives, discussing what is being done well and what can be
= Identify elements that could be included in a good practice framework for assessment.
= Undertake development of the framework and commit to trialling an assessment as part of the
pilot scheme (Sept-June 2011).
Meeting 2: Thursday 26 January 2012
= Review and report on progress of trialling the pilot assessment framework.
= Share learning arising from the implementation of activities.
= Identify next steps for the trial of the pilot.
Meeting 3: Thursday 21 June 2012
= Share feedback and outcomes of the trial assessment.
= Review learning and progress of the institution following the assessment.
= Identify areas for further development of the good practice recognition award scheme.
= Identify mechanisms to engage other institutions.
Being part of the pilot will enable networking, support and guidance for participating institutions.
It also offers a driver to kick-start or further develop your work to advance gender equality at your
Further benefits include:
= Opportunity to help shape the final national recognition scheme
= Working with and learning from other institutions
= Regular networking and discussion meetings to compare experiences, map progress and
Who should apply?
We intend to work with a number of institutions, which will be selected to represent:
= A range of institutional approaches designed for female staff in higher education
= Different types and sizes of institution
= Institutions from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
We welcome expressions of interest from institutions that have implemented activities to
promote gender equality, or that have identified a need for gender-specific activities to be
Interested institutions must demonstrate:
= Institutional commitment to promoting and advancing gender equality (for example through
demonstrable links to the strategic plan, corporate priorities, policies or statements of intent.)
= Commitment of senior management to participation in the pilot, with the support of at least
pro vice-chancellor level Champion.
= The use of strategies that can be transferable to other institutions.
= Commitment to undergoing an assessment within the pilot scheme cycle
= Availability to attend the programme of meetings on specified dates.
How to apply
Download an expression of interest form from www.ecu.ac.uk/documents/project-
Forms should be submitted by email to email@example.com by 12 noon on Friday 22 July
2011. Please do not send additional documentation as this will not be taken into account.
We will notify institutions that have been invited to participate on Friday 5 August 2011.
If you require further information about the programme, or have a query regarding submission of
your expression of interest, please contact:
Sarah Hawkes, Senior Policy Adviser
T: 020 7438 1026