Drawing up gender equality plans

A gender equality plan is a public document containing policy measures. These measures are aimed at promoting gender equality within the institution. 

The plan describes:

  • Where the organization stands, using a well-researched assessment (analysis).
  • Which goals the organization has (plans).
  • Which measures are part of these plans and how they will be introduced (implementation).

The European Commission’s strategy

The compulsory gender equality plan is a component of the European Commission’s five-year strategy. This strategy is devoted entirely to promoting gender equality. Additional background information is available on the following page: Gender Equality in the European Research Area.

Guide for gender equality plans

The Guide for Drawing up Gender Equality Plans can be used to help draw up a gender equality plan.

The guide provides suggestions, examples and best practices for drawing up gender equality plans. It follows the requirements and recommendations of the European Commission.

Several requirements for the process have been set by the European Commission. The gender equality plan must meet these requirements. The minimum requirements are included in the guide starting on page 4. The guide also contains points recommended by the European Commission that require attention.

In addition, the guide contains the recommendations of the Advisory Committee. In these recommendations, the Advisory Committee provides the institution with suggestions for drawing up a gender equality plan that corresponds to the context, ambition and development of the organization.

Intersectional approach

The advisory committee considers an intersectional approach necessary for drawing up a gender equality plan. This is because gender is always linked to other social categories, including:

  • Ethnicity
  • Disability
  • Age
  • Sexual orientation
  • Social class

Intersectionality assumes that these social categories are closely intertwined with each other. There are also differences within the category of ‘gender’. It is therefore important to consider the major differences within the group of women academics. The Guide for Drawing up Gender Equality Plans specifies four priorities: organization, numbers, institutions and knowledge.


The basic principle is that both the gender equality plan and the organization must be in order. 


Measures aimed at increasing gender diversity (in figures) 


Measures aimed at making the organization gender-inclusive (in both structure and culture)


Measures that consider gender in the development of knowledge and the educational curriculum.

Integral approach to diversity and inclusion

Various studies have shown that multiple measures are needed in order to achieve gender equality within organizations. The results that the measures will have are highly dependent on the environment (organization). Not all measures appear to be productive. There is no simple solution for improving diversity and inclusion.