As a general map we have with us the GEAR tool, () launched by EIGE, the European Institution for Gender Equality. For anyone heading for gender equality in academia, this map gives directions on which roads are probably most worth taking and how to traverse the different landscapes – those that are easily forced and others that involve both hard climbing, careful steering and occasional punctures.
We have the support of each other – quite necessary when heading for such an adventure – and we have the map. There are six steps in the GEAR tool, or six gears in the GEAR vehicle. Our driving experiences vary, and we are careful when putting in the first gear and getting started: each institution making an overall plan for their individual journey – where are we heading, how do we get there, how much time do we think the road will take, which people can we expect will help us along the way, where are the difficult parts and how will we enforce them. It is slow driving, but we need to be sure about our skills, roads, landscapes and vehicles before we speed up. Once we are on the move, we’ll put in the second gear, assessing the state-of play, driving slowly and carefully observing our environment and developing our driving skills. Gear three, setting up a GEP, lets us speed up and and get going, making the last definite and detailed plans for our journey. Once we have reached the necessary speed for cruising, and can change between gears four and five – impelementing, monitoring and evaluating a Gender Equality Plan – we are well on our way, driving carefully in a hilly landscape. But as all drivers know, we’ll probably also meet obstacles – structures, people and bad weather in the organization – which compel us to periodically put in lower gears, with re-assesments and re-planning. At those times, we’ll encourage each other to be stubborn enough to reach as far as possible and hopefully end with the sixth gear, after GEP, when driving is easy and the vehicle proceeds as if by itself..
Welcome to share and be inspired by our journey!