Strategy

Gender equality plan 2022 to 2026

From:
UKRI
Published:
Last updated:
8 July 2022

Foreword

This foreword was written by Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, Chief Executive Officer for UKRI.

Our commitment

UKRI is committed to gender equality within its workforce, and across the research and innovation system as part of its wider focus on equality, diversity and inclusion.

A dynamic, diverse and inclusive research and innovation system is critical to our success and excellence in research and innovation. It must be an integral part of UK society, giving everyone the opportunity to participate and to benefit.

Much of our gender equality work is embedded within a range of initiatives and action plans, and included in our developing equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) strategy and UKRI workforce EDI plan. ​

This gender equality plan (GEP), an eligibility requirement of Horizon Europe funding, enables us to focus in on gender inequalities, and set gender-specific measures as part of our wider EDI work.​

As CEO, I endorse this plan to lead us in our continuing journey to gender equality in UKRI.

Introduction

From 2022, the European Commission introduced gender equality plans (GEPs) as a new eligibility criterion for public bodies, research organisations and higher education establishments when applying for funding to the Horizon Europe framework programme for research and innovation 2021 to 2027.

A GEP must be an organisation-wide set of commitments and actions that aim to promote gender equality. This plan outlines:

  • examples of how UKRI, and UKRI centres, institutes and units, meet the specific requirements for funding by the Horizon Europe programme
  • the actions we are committed to delivering across five thematic areas recommended by the European Commission.

To do this, we have followed the Horizon Europe guidance on gender equality plans (op.europa.eu).

How we meet the mandatory Horizon Europe requirements

A formal and public published document

The gender equality plan (GEP) must be a formal and public document published on the institution’s website, signed by the top management and actively communicated within the institution.

Our GEP is a public document published on our website. It is fully supported by our Chief Executive Officer, with UKRI’s Chief People Officer named as lead to take the plan forward.

Dedicated resources and expertise

A GEP must have dedicated resources and expertise to implement the plan.

We have a dedicated workforce equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) team focused on our employees. Our EDI strategy team supports, integrates and coordinates our extensive portfolio of work to foster EDI in the wider research and innovation community. A gender equality team sits within the international development team.

Many of our centres, institutes and units have, or are progressing towards, Athena Swan Charter awards or have self-assessment teams in gender equality.

We have a range of EDI staff networks with relevance to gender equality, including:

  • Women’s Chapter: providing support to women employees at UKRI in areas of gender equality for women. They also have a menopause interest group
  • Pride Network: providing support to trans and non-binary colleagues
  • Carers Network: offering support for carers, which can predominantly be women
  • Parenting Network: offering support to women in the spectrum of their parenting needs and inequalities they may experience.

Data collection and monitoring

A GEP must include arrangements for data collection and monitoring with annual reporting based on indicators.

We collect, and have committed to publishing, disaggregated data on our workforce relating to sex or gender or both as part of a wider equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) commitment. This commitment ensures a robust approach to data collection, monitoring and evaluation in our workforce EDI plan and EDI strategy.

To ensure we meet this requirement, we:

  • publish staff numbers by sex across pay bands through our annual report
  • publish gender pay gap data as part of the workforce EDI plan
  • undertake an equal pay audit which compares the pay of men and women doing equal work
  • have made a commitment in our workforce EDI plan to report annually on our workforce data, including by sex and gender, and will set targets to improve representation of women in the workforce from this analysis
  • are introducing a new human resources (HR) system which will improve workforce data. Innovate UK is also improving its data collection
  • are undertaking an exercise to standardise data collection to allow better reporting and analysis across our funding and employer functions, working with Simpler Better Funding to expand data collection categories.

Find out more about how we’re improving the funding experience for applicants.

We operate a scorecard approach to monitoring funding data. A key objective in our emerging EDI strategy is to develop approaches to monitor, measure and evaluate change​.

Training and awareness

The GEP must also include training and awareness-raising actions on gender equality.

We deliver awareness raising activities and training on sex and gender equality for staff (especially senior leaders) as part of our mandatory e-learning and wider EDI core training curriculum.

Gender equality plan: actions

In addition to meeting the mandatory process-related requirements, we are committed across all five of the thematic areas recommended by the European Commission. These are:

  • 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.

In the following sections, we’ve set out the details of each thematic area’s objectives. For each one, we include:

  • actions
  • measures and timescales
  • ownership and existing plans.

Work-life balance and organisational culture: objectives

Objective: ensure our current policy review process of all staff policies considers gender equality, and mitigates against unequal outcomes

Action

Develop a review tool for the policy team to use which considers equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) generally, with a focus on gender specifics.

Measures and timescale

Tool developed.

Policies reviewed to mitigate against unequal outcomes in relation to gender.

Complete by the end of November 2023. Ongoing as part of the policy team schedule.

Ownership and existing plans

EDI strategy.

Workforce EDI plan.

Requires input from:

  • finance
  • policy
  • pay and reward.

Action

Explore the introduction of gender budgeting into financial processes as a pilot for diversity budgeting.

Measures and timescale

Undertake a review of requirements and resource by the end of January 2025.

Ownership and existing plans

EDI strategy.

Workforce EDI plan.

Requires input from:

  • finance
  • policy
  • pay and reward.

Objective: support centres, institutes and units (CIUs) to participate in their Athena Swan journeys, with a view to include Catapult and Project Juno journeys in 2026

Action

Support provided in self-assessment by the workforce EDI team.

Measures and timescale

Workforce EDI lead on Self Assessment teams by the end of 2025.

Ownership and existing plans

UKRI human resources management.

Information team.

Workforce EDI team.

Action

Create Athena Swan data templates.

Measures and timescale

Data templates created by the end of 2025.

Ownership and existing plans

UKRI human resources management.

Information team.

Workforce EDI team.

Objective: develop role models for gender equality in leadership positions

Action

Profile staff of different genders and intersectional characteristics to role model success.

Measures and timescale

Two role models and two allies per year.

Positive feedback on impact achieved by EDI team.

Four case studies per year communicated internally.

All measures should be in place by the end of 2025.

Ownership and existing plans

Workforce EDI plan.

Requires resources from:

  • learning and development
  • communications
  • councils.

Objective: support development of Women’s Chapter and parenting, carers and pride networks

Action

Development programme to enable relevant networks to provide peer support on matters around gender.

Measures and timescale

Review of network needs, and programme developed and implemented by the end of March 2023.

Ownership and existing plans

Workforce EDI plan.

Action

Develop a framework of engagement to ensure all networks effectively input into decision making and policy development.

Measures and timescale

Framework of engagement developed for networks into policy and change projects by the end of June 2023.

Ownership and existing plans

Workforce EDI plan.

Objective: raise awareness of the importance of gender equality across UKRI

Action

Develop an EDI communications plan, with gender equality as a strand.

Measures and timescale

Coverage of key gender equality events and awareness days, for example International Women’s Day.

Celebratory communications around Athena Swan results where relevant.

Communications around positive interventions and impact.

All measures to be realised by the end of March 2023.

Ownership and existing plans

Workforce EDI plan.

Communications.

Councils.

Leadership and learning: objectives

Objective: improve leadership capability and confidence to deliver, and embed gender equality

Action

Develop specific modules on gender and sex equality, unconscious bias and trans awareness as part of the equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) leadership training module.

Measures and timescale

Modules developed and piloted.

Leadership feedback shows effectiveness in supporting managers to address gender equality in their work.

All measures to be realised by the end of December 2023.

Ownership and existing plans

EDI strategy.

Workforce EDI plan.

Action

Deliver a gold standard leadership programme to develop UKRI’s female leaders in science, arts, humanities and social science.

Measures and timescale

Identify sector standards and benchmarks.

Programme explored and developed.

Pilot intake of 10 women across UKRI.

Develop measures to understand application and impact of course in career progression.

All measures to be realised by the end of December 2025.

Ownership, existing plans and resource required

Learning and development plan.

Action

Develop training and toolkits for managers and staff to improve behaviours that may cause gender inequality.

Measures and timescale

Needs analysis undertaken.

Training and toolkits developed.

Pilot undertaken.

Revised scheme.

All measures to be realised by the end of December 2024.

Ownership and existing plans

Workforce EDI plan.

Recruitment and career progression: objectives

Objective: set targets to improve representation where there is gender or sex underrepresentation

Action

Identify appropriate equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) benchmarks, including gender and sex, across segments of the organisation.

Measures and timescale

Benchmarks agreed by segments by the end of September 2023.

Ownership and existing plans

EDI strategy.

Workforce EDI plan in conjunction with resourcing, and pay and reward.

Human resources data.

Pay and reward.

Councils’ human resources teams.

Action

Set reasonable targets across a four year period (as part of the equality scheme to be developed).

Measures and timescales

Targets set by the end of December 2023.

Incremental increase over a four-year period to exceed targets, measured using annual reviews.

Ownership and existing plans

EDI strategy.

Workforce EDI plan in conjunction with resourcing, and pay and reward.

Human resources data.

Pay and reward.

Councils’ human resources teams.

Objective: address gender inequalities in recruitment and progression

Action

Undertake a review of employee lifecycle processes and practices to identify gender and intersectional inequalities and barriers.

Measures and timescales

Review undertaken with clear actions and interventions identified. Ongoing until the end of September 2025.

Review completed with guidance developed and implemented by the end of September 2023.

Review of maternity returners policy and guidance, by the end of September 2023.

Ownership and existing plans

EDI strategy.

Workforce EDI plan via the reforming our business programme.

Human resources operations team.

Policy team.

Areas of human resources to be confirmed, depending on intervention.

Action

Develop an action plan and series of pilots including in positive action.

Measures and timescales

Action plans developed with measures of success by the end of December 2025.

Pilots implemented and reviewed by the end of June 2026.

Ownership and existing plans

EDI strategy.

Workforce EDI plan via the reforming our business programme.

Human resources operations.

Policy team.

Areas of human resources to be confirmed, depending on intervention.

Objective: promotions process

Action

Undertake a review of promotions processes across UKRI.

Measures and timescale

Review undertaken with recommendations identified by the end of December 2024.

Action plan developed with measures of success by the end of June 2025.

Pilots implemented by the end of December 2025.

Reviews of pilots by the end of December 2026.

Ownership and existing plans

EDI strategy.

Workforce EDI plan.

Human resources operations team.

Policy team.

Areas of human resources to be confirmed, depending on intervention.

Gender in research and teaching: objectives

Objective: connect with externally focused approaches to, and understand implications for, centres, institutes and units (CIUs) with a view to capturing, sharing and embedding evidenced good-practice

Action

Collect evidence and data on existing practices within CIUs.

Measures and timescales

Evidence collected and analysed by the end of September 2024.

Ownership and existing plans

EDI strategy.

Action

Develop a framework for considering diversity dimensions (including gender) into research, and teaching approaches within UKRI’s CIUs (aligning with strategy and external-facing approaches where relevant).

Measures and timescales

Framework produced and implemented by the end of September 2024.

Ownership and existing plans

Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) strategy.

Measures against gender based violence (GBV): objectives

Objective: promote culture of anti-GBV and anti-sexual harassment

Action

Develop a programme of anti-discrimination, anti-bullying and anti-harassment work to include sexual harassment, involving:

  • policy review
  • line manager guidance
  • best practice research.
Measures and timescales

Programme developed and delivered by the end of June 2023.

Ownership and existing plans

Workforce equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) plan.

Policy team.

Action

Include GBV in the current review of the safeguarding policy.

Measures and timescales

Policy includes GBV. The review of human resources policies is ongoing.

Ownership and existing plans

Policy team.

Action

Improve reporting mechanisms for sexual harassment, particularly through a safe space system.

Measures and timescales

Introduction of safe space reporting tool by the end of June 2024.

Ownership and existing plans

Workforce EDI with governance, and pay and strategy teams.

Action

EDI training to include considerations of sexual harassment.

Measures and timescales

Training developed by the end of December 2022.

Ownership and existing plans

Workforce EDI with governance, and pay and strategy teams.

Data collection and monitoring: objectives

Objective: improve analysis, and monitor and publish data by sex and gender on an annual basis

Action

Develop a standardised question set across the UKRI workforce and external systems.

Measures and timescales

Questions set, and guidance developed and implemented by the end of December 2022.

Ownership and existing plans

Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) strategy.

Workforce EDI plan.

Action

Refine and improve data collection systems.

Measures and timescales

Data systems improved by the end of June 2024.

Ownership and existing plans

Human resources data.

UKRI services for human resources, accounting, reporting and procurement (SHARP).

Actions

Undertake interventions to improve disclosure rates of gender identity and trans status.

Set targets to improve underrepresentation of gender or sex.

Measures and timescales

Interventions and campaigns result in an increase in disclosure rates to exceed identified targets. Work on disclosure to start in 2023, with measures by the end of 2024.

Ownership and existing plans

Workforce EDI.

Resources: objectives

Objective: maximise gender equality expertise at UKRI

Action

Create a pilot cross-organisational gender equality collective, with gender equality expertise from across UKRI.

Measures and timescales

Develop a framework for how gender expertise is used in equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) work in human resources and in the EDI strategy. To be completed by the end of June 2023.

Ownership and existing plans

Workforce EDI or councils.

Councils, researchers, practitioners and networks.

Action

Develop subject level knowledge within UKRI EDI teams.

Measures and timescales

Framework and collective established by the end of June 2024.

Ownership and existing plans

Workforce EDI or councils.

Councils, researchers, practitioners and networks.

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