Welcome to SPEAR's COMPASS Guide!

How to navigate gender equality change work in a holistic way


SPEAR's COMPASS is a holistic and practical approach that helps you draft an effective and sustainable Gender Equality Plan (GEP) and implement gender equality measures in your Research Performing Organisation (RPO).

Together with the EIGE GEAR-tool by the European Institute for Gender Equality, you will have important guidance to set up your institution's GEP. The EIGE GEAR-tool offers a comprehensive Step-by-Step guide for establishing a Gender Equality Plan and provides essential scaffolding for GEP design, implementation, and monitoring, while SPEAR's COMPASS supports you in ensuring the quality and sustainability of defined objectives and measures within your GEP.

SPEAR's COMPASS methodology draws on seven carefully selected principles (Creative, Open, Mitigating, Processual, Accountable, SMART, Sustainable).

The COMPASS approach incorporates and extends beyond the classic SMART-paradigm for defining objectives. While specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-bound objectives are deeply relevant to gender equality work, it is our understanding that effective gender equality practice and cultural change draw crucially on participation, processual skills, and a wider sustainability perspective than SMART objectives alone are able to capture.

To ensure that you include each guiding principle, we prepared a range of questions and inspirational material that will help you stay open, alert, and reflective in the complex undertaking of gender equality change work. 

Let’s get started!

SPEAR's COMPASS Guide: what it covers.

SPEAR's COMPASS Guide is hands-on and ready to be implemented.
We collected good practice examples, instructions, and materials that will support you in your gender equality journey. 

SPEAR's COMPASS Guiding Principles: the acronym explained.

Each letter of SPEAR's COMPASS represents a Guiding Principle.
The Guiding Questions are closely linked to each one of them. 


Focus on change, your context and the community.

Think outside the box! Keep your institution‘s culture, processes, and values in mind, but dare to be creative, challenge the status quo and invite new ways of thinking!


Make your process transparent, open and participatory.

When allowing differing views and ideas from a range of different stakeholders, change is more likely to be realized. Engage stakeholders from various backgrounds and organisational responsibilities and let them own the journey!


Mitigate biases and stereotypes.

Design your decision-making processes with effective bias-blockers. Be mindful of and check planned or existing actions and procedures against intersecting factors. Try to step into the shoes of different target groups and eliminate unwanted side effects. Make the measure non-discriminatory and accessible to everyone.


Focus on processes, practice, and practitioners when creating and evaluating measures.

Take into account relevant process stakeholders, create possibilities for interconnections and synergies. Facilitate structure and process rather than content. 


Measures should be fair and supportive, and ensure equal treatment and clear leadership responsibility.

Set and follow codes of responsible and ethical conduct. Be responsive to changing environments and favour systematic approaches. Clarify where responsibility lies and engage from there. Remember to systematically monitor and report on progress.


Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Result-oriented, Time-bound

Objectives and measures should answer basic questions: what, why, how, who, when, and where (Specific). Establish quantitative and/or qualitative indicators and respective targets (Measurable). Make sure the objectives and measures are within reach and that they can be achieved, even if they require effort (Achievable). Objectives should measure outcomes, not activities (Result-oriented). Indicate when the objectives and measures can or are expected to be achieved (Time-bound).


Make measures replicable, continuous, and (self)generative.

Ideally, your measures and actions are not just short-lived, but systematically anchored and structurally embedded as well as underpinned by your leaders taking responsibility and action.