The implementation of gender equality policies and processes means to bring changes in the organization policies and management practices and change is never easy, in any context.

It is not enough to prepare a good Gender Audit system and methodology, nor to prepare a well balanced Gender Equality Plan to reach gender equality. Academias are very structured organizations, often quite gerarchic and with long standing traditions and practices, used to tackle new issues and requests at high level of competence and autorevolezza. It is therefore very important to carefully plan communication and marketing strategies as it is necessary for any change management plan – adapted to this specific context.

There is an important work top managers have to plan and carry out since the start of the project – and during  the whole process – that greatly influences the success of the envisaged results that requires specific planning and strategic skills, like any other project.

Here the most important:

  • Top management and decision-makers support to the Gender Equality project, and its staff, in words, presence and actions: visible support to the project, presence at dedicated events; communication of what the project is about and why, the advantages for the organization (equality means quality and good international reputation); what the advantages for people (at personal level for intrinsic and extrinsic reasons);
  • Creation of an informal network of influencer and supporters at all levels, as well as a formal network of Delegates in all Departments;
  • Creation of a Work Team with mixed competence, position and autorevolezza. The skills needed are about: the integration of gender culture and practices in organizations (Gender Studies competence is something else), change management, events organization;
  • Direct link between the Work Team and Top decision-makers as they have to work in strict connections and agreement.
  • Recognition, visibility, rewards, acknowledgement given to people that are actively engaged in supporting gender equality and the Gender Audit
  • Active support from outside gender experts throughout the implementation process as Academia need expertise to put into daily practice ideas and goals.

Critical situations to be avoided

  • No presence and visible support of top decision-makers and managers to the project and its Work Team;
  • Lack of a communication Plan;
  • The Work Team working on its own, with no connections with decision-makers
  • The lead of the project implementation given to persons with no specific skills but only passion for gender equality issues: most of the activities to be carried out in these kind of projects require specific skills and experience and passion is not enough.

To sum up, it is top managers and decision-makers task to create a critical mass of supporting people, of a wide and favourable atmosphere towards gender equality and diversity valorization, both necessary to overcome indifference and inertia, sometimes opposition and hostility, so widespread as regards equality issues.