Gender Equality

Gender equality is the result of the absence of discrimination on the basis of a person’s gender in opportunities and the allocation of resources or benefits or in access to services

(EC, Strategy for equality between women and men 2010-2015, amended)
This definition was adapted from the definition in the European Commission document ‘Strategy for equality between women and men 2010-2015’. It was suggested by the Consortium to replace sex by gender since sex and gender are different concepts as reflected in the definitions below. Since we are talking about gender equality, gender was considered more appropriate. This definition was preferred by most partners and stakeholders since it was argued to be the only non-binary definition (the one that does not distinguish just between men and women) of the available definitions. The problematic nature of a binary understanding of gender was emphasised since there is a whole range of possible positions between the stereotypical understanding of women and men.

Gender Equity

Fairness of treatment for women and men, according to their respective needs and interests. This may include equal treatment or treatment that is different but considered equivalent in terms of rights, benefits, obligations and opportunities.

(International Labour Organisation)

The highlighted definition was preferred by most partners because it was considered more straightforward and easier to understand.

Work-Life Balance/Work and Personal Life Integration

Work and Personal Life Integration:

Work is part of life, and therefore to see it in terms of a work/life interface is misleading; and ‘Personal life’ captures the range of commitments and duties which an individual may have, and which can vary across the life course, while still allowing family to be a large part of personal life for most people.

(ILO report –Fagan et al., 2012)

(International Labour Organisation).

The Consortium agreed that the Work and Personal Life Integration is the most appropriate concept instead of Work-Life Balance for PLOTINA since there were great difficulties in getting consensus about the ‘balance element’. The Consortium considered Definition 1 as useful in elaborating on the work and personal life included in the preferred definition. For example, work arrangements should be sufficiently flexible to enable workers to undertake lifelong learning activities and further professional and personal development,not necessarily directly related to the worker’s job. Personal life should refer not only to caring for dependent relatives, but, also to “extracurricular” responsibilities or important life priorities.

Culture/Organisational Culture

Culture consists of patterns, explicit and implicit, of and for behaviour acquired and transmitted by symbols, constituting the distinctive achievements of human groups, including their embodiment in artifacts; the essential core of culture consists of traditional (i.e. historically derived and selected) ideas and especially their attached values; culture systems may, on the one hand, be considered as products of action, on the other, as conditional elements of future action.


(Kroeber & Kluckhohn 1952: 181; cited by Adler 1997: 14)



Organizational culture is a set of shared mental and implicit assumptions that guide interpretation and action in organizations by defining appropriate behavior for various situations

(Ravasi and Schultz, 2006,amended)

[Organisation Studies]


The Consortium agreed to include both definitions because they would be both useful for this project since definition 1 comes from an anthropology perspective and definition 2 from an organisation studies’ perspective. They were both endorsed by the Consortium.

We added implicit to the mental assumptions in the organizational culture definition to reflect the potential implicit assumptions that individuals have.


Sex is a biological quality or classification of sexually-reproducing organisms, generally female, male, and/or intersex, according to functions that derive from the chromosomal complement, reproductive organs, or specific hormones or environmental factors that affect the expression of phenotypic traits that are strongly associated with females or males within a given species

(Gendered Innovations Website)

The Plotina definition and definition 2 were both considered appropriate due to clear reference to medical/biological characteristics and the absence of binary distinctions. However the preferred one was endorsed by most partners in the Consortium.


Gender—a socio-cultural process—refers to cultural and social attitudes that together shape and sanction “feminine” and “masculine” behaviors, products, technologies, environments, and knowledges. “Feminine” and “masculine” describe attitudes and behaviors on a continuum of gender identities. Gender does not necessarily match sex.

(Gendered Innovations Website)

The highlighted definition was endorsed by the Consortium because it distinguished between “sex” and “gender” and avoids the binary distinction between men and women.

Gender Identity

An individual’s internal sense of gender, which may or may not be the same as one’s gender assigned at birth.  Some gender identities are “woman,” “transman” and “agender” but there are many more. Gender identities refer to how individuals and groups perceive and present themselves, and how they are perceived by others. Gender identities are context-specific.

(Adapted from Gendered Innovations Website)


The Consortium decided to adapt the definition 1 adding the element of perceptions of gender identity by others and the influence on the context (using definition 3).

Gender Roles

Gender roles are learned behaviours in a given society, community or other social group. They condition which activities, tasks and responsibilities are perceived as appropriate to males and females respectively. Gender roles are affected by age, socio-economic class, race/ethnicity, religion, and the geographical, economic, political and cultural environment.

(Gendered Innovations Website)

Both definitions have been endorsed by a number of partners but the highlighted one was preferred due to the non-binary element and the inclusion of cultural environment as an important factor affecting gender roles.


A stereotype is a widely held, simplified, and essentialist belief about a specific group. Groups are often stereotyped on the basis of sex, gender identity, race and ethnicity, nationality, age, socioeconomic status, language, and so forth. Stereotypes are deeply embedded within social institutions and wider culture. They are used to justify and maintain the historical relations of power. They are often evident even during the early stages of childhood, influencing and shaping how people interact with each other.

(Gendered Innovations Website – amended)

The first definition has been endorsed by most partners. The Consortium added a sentence about power relations in the highlighted definition, which is part of definition 1.

Gender Mainstreaming

Gender mainstreaming is the (re)organisation, improvement, development and evaluation of policy processes, so that a gender equality perspective is incorporated in all policies at all levels and all stages, by the actors normally involved in policy-making.

(European Commission)

Gender dimension (in research, in relation to WP4)

Gender dimension means integrating sex and gender analysis into research […] integrating into all phases of basic and applied research—from setting priorities, to funding decisions, to establishing project objectives and methodologies, to data gathering, analyzing results, and evaluation.

(Gendered Innovations Website)

Femininities and Masculinities

Femininities” and “masculinities” describe gender identities. They describe socio-cultural categories in everyday language; these terms are used differently in biology (see below). Because femininities and masculinities are gender identities, they are shaped by socio-cultural processes, not biology (and should not be essentialized). Femininities and masculinities are plural and dynamic; they change with culture and with individuals.

(Gendered Innovations Website)