The European Commission (EC) considers gender equality a key priority for the EU Member States and Associated Countries united in the European Research Area (ERA). Within the Horizon 2020 “Science with and for Society” Work Programme Gender Equality Plans (GEPs) are acknowledged as effective means to promote sustainable cultural and institutional change in research performing organisations (RPOs) along three central objectives:
- Removing barriers to the recruitment, retention and career progression of women researchers;
- Addressing gender imbalances in decision-making processes;
- Integrating the gender dimension in research and innovation content (EC 2020, p.25).
As part of the programme, the sister projects CHANGE, LeTSGEPs and SPEAR directly contribute to the central priorities by supporting RPOs in the design and implementation of GEPs. To achieve this, all three projects use different strategies; in CHANGE, the focus is on the co-production of relevant gender equality knowledge and its transfer, while LeTSGEPs focuses on gender budgeting as a lever for the successful structural anchoring of gender equality measures. Finally, SPEAR supports gender equality practitioners in GEP implementation through collaboration in communities: the Community of Learning (CoL) and Community of Practice (CoP) help to ensure long-term sustainability.