Gender Strategy

Jen assists organisations to develop a strategic approach to gender change that is specifically crafted to the organisation and takes into account the organisation’s history, structure, culture, values and the particularities of its workforce.

Gender Strategy

Why gender strategy?

The momentum towards greater gender equality continues to build both within organisations and broader society. It is more critical than ever that the current spotlight on gender equality, and the energy, commitment and investment of many, translates into real and sustainable change. 

Building gender equitable organisations is complex, requiring a strategic approach specifically crafted to the organisation, and taking into account the organisation’s history, structure, culture, values and the particularities of its workforce.

Gender Equality Partner

Jen's consulting approach is to partner with organisations, applying an evidence based approach and drawing on the latest scholarship and practice. This approach augments and develops internal expertise.

These three anonymised examples of Jen’s recent work illustrate her approach.

Example 1. European Research Institute Gender Strategy Consultation & Review

Rationale:The Institute leadership team was frustrated with their failure to progress, with the male dominated gender profile remaining unchanged. An expert international perspective was sought.

Approach: Extensive document and data review prior to visit, including working with staff to refine data gathering, analysis and presentation. Institue visit included interviews with executive members, workshops (focus groups) with various groups of staff (male and female) including early and mid-career researchers, senior scientists, HR and equity staff, a combined workshop for presentation of findings and generation of strategies with a broad range of stakeholders, and a pre and post visit meeting with the extended directorate

Process Outcomes: Focus on developing staff (including in data analysis), building gender awareness and commitment to change. Facilitated respectful discussions (with various groups including directorate) regarding gender in workplace with opportunity to input into recommendations

Deliverables: 30 page report with review findings, an analysis of data within a framework for change and recommendations. Appendix included re-worked data pack and career maps.

Example 2. Australian University: Development of Gender Equity Strategy and Action Plan

Rationale: This university had a strong record in the gender equality area, with committed leadership. As part of a strategic review, it considered that an outside perspective would be beneficial in driving further progress.

Approach: Extensive desktop analysis, six focus groups, interviews with all 12 members of Executive, 

Process Outcomes: Development work with E and D staff on Staff Survey analysis and reporting, presentation of data for annual reporting to University and Divisions, preliminary work on data for Athena SW

Deliverables: Research report, Strategy 2017-2020 

Example 3. Australian University Athena SWAN application process

Rationale: The University wished to maximise the strategic impact of their Athena SWAN engagement. Partnering with a gender expert was considered a worthwhile investment in developing staff and gaining maximum benefit through all stages of the process, both pre and post application.

Approach: Working with the SAT committee and sub committees to build understanding of gender inequality and gender change processes, the presentation and analysis of data, and tailoring appropriate interventions. Reviewing application drafts as a ‘critical friend’.

Process Outcomes: This gender capacity building approach ensured a broad range of people with developed gender equity expertise are available for Athena SWAN next steps within the institution.  

Key design parameters for culture change

When building a culture change initiative, Jen’s approach assists organisations to address the key issues and potential stumbling blocks identified in the organisational change literature and in her doctoral research. Gender change initiatives need to be long-term and sustained, and have shown themselves to be vulnerable to changes in short-term priorities, cost-cutting measures or changes in key personnel. Careful consideration must be given to ensuring:

  • A clearly articulated rationale and link to the organisational business.

  • Consistent, visible, and active support from Executive level. Championing of initiatives must come from this level and preferably involve both senior men and women. (read more)

  • Engagement with men and women at all levels of the organisation. (Partners for change) A broad and diverse range of staff is strongly preferable. (see below for examples of gender capacity building) A particular focus on middle managers is necessary as their engagement or otherwise can make or break the initiative. (leadership development)

  • Any gender specific activities must be linked to the broader organisational change agenda, and not be stand alone. (leadership development for women, mentoring and sponsorship)

  • Leadership accountability, similar to accountability for other initiatives such as OH&S is essential.

  • A continuous improvement approach with investigation, monitoring and review process to fine-tune and inform interventions and approaches (research and evaluation)

Gender capacity building

The 'bifocal approach' links individual development to organisational change. Jen maintains a strong focus on building the capacity of individuals to understand gender processes and inequalities, and develop their capacity to build and lead more gender equitable organisations.

Audiences include Heads of Department, Leadership teams, HR teams, Senior women, women in STEMM, women in Engineering.  Examples of her work are listed below.

Institution Target Group Format & Duration Title
University of Western Australia HR manager, all section of HR Half day workshop A strategic approach to gender in HR
Ocford University, UK Department Heads & Committee chairs, Athena SWAN initiatives for women in STEMM Presentation followed by half day workshop Frameworks for change
Durham University, UK Leaders, including Heads, Directors Half day workshop A strategic conversation: Frameworks for change
University of Western Australia Mid-Level to senior male & female staff interested in working for gender equality in their workplace Full day work shop, Delivered with male co-facilitator Partners for Change
Auckland University of Technology Open Presentation of research 'Some things change some stay the same': Gender change processes in a STEM Faculty


All the people I spoke with recommended Jen, and they were right. Read More

- Professor Marilys Guillemin
The University of Melbourne

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Contact Jen
+61 (0) 412 806 377

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