Gender Equality Case Studies

This page is part of the Inclusion Case Studies from the Inclusion Framework.
Gender Equality is a focal point for some of the most exciting and innovative work currently taking place in EUTOPIA. On this page, we showcase some examples of that work.

Please note that the following information is correct at the time of writing (November 2022), but is subject to change.

Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Gender equality is promoted at VUB through a number of measures, both holistically through the Equality Action Plan 2021-24, and through specific initiatives such as the annual Gender Week. Here, we showcase the activities of the RHEA Research Centre, which encompasses much of the gender-related work at VUB.


RHEA: Research Centre Gender, Diversity and Intersectionality

Overview: RHEA is an interdisciplinary, interfaculty and internationally networked research group committed to the development of scientific research and the valorisation of knowledge in education, external and internal policy-making and public debates.

RHEA evolved out of the Centrum voor Vrouwenstudies (Centre for Women’s Studies), which was established at VUB in 1987 as the first academic centre for women’s studies in Flanders. RHEA was relaunched as research centre on Gender, Diversity and Intersectionality in 2014.

By integrating intersectionality in its name and working, RHEA centralizes the importance of understanding gender inequalities always in interaction with other categories of differentiation based on ethnicity, sexuality, religion, class, ability and age. Intersectionality has therefore been integrated as a central theoretical framework in the centre’s research, education and activities.

Education: For more than 20 years, RHEA has pioneered education on gender and diversity in Flanders. The centre provides specialised and integrated education on gender & diversity at bachelor, master and doctoral levels. Specific courses include:

Research: RHEA facilitates fundamental and applied research on gender, diversity & intersectionality in a variety of academic disciplines. The centre serves as a platform for researchers from different faculties and departments to collaborate and engage in dialogue. Thanks to the wide-ranging expertise of its members, RHEA is able to provide internal and external advice on equal opportunities and diversity policies.

RHEA members perform and collaborate on research in multiple disciplinary areas and on various topics that can be clustered around the following research lines:

  • Harmful cultural practices and gender-based violence
  • Equality policies and political representation
  • Intersectionality and feminist theory
  • Gender, religion and secularism
  • Bio-ethics and sexual and reproductive rights
  • Migration, anti-discrimination policies and citizenship
  • Post-colonial theory, (de)coloniality and epistemic diversity
  • Gender, diversity and education
  • Agency, identity and subjectivity

Leadership and Membership: RHEA is led by director Gily Coene and co-director Karen Celis, and coordinated by Susan Dierickx. A central team is responsible for planning and follow-up of the overall goals, strategies and activities. The core team is composed of the directors, coordinator and a small group of RHEA-researchers and members.

RHEA members are VUB researchers from a variety of academic disciplines working on issues related to gender, diversity and intersectionality. RHEA offers these researchers a platform for exchange and cooperation, spreads relevant information through an internal mailing-list and (co-)organises activities for both specialised and broader audiences.

RHEA membership is open for researchers/lecturers connected to VUB who work in the field of gender & diversity, from a variety of academic disciplines. Members engage with RHEA by attending events, presenting their research, and providing input for others’ research projects and activities.

CY Cergy Paris University

Gender Equality Project

The Gender Equality Project at CY is managed by Stefania Marcassa, and has produced several outputs over the last few years, including a Gender Equality Policy, a Charter for Inclusion, numerous awareness-raising events and research seminars, and partnerships with a range of organisations.

CY’s creation and implementation of a Gender Equality Plan is financed by the Horizon 2020 project LeTSGEPs (Leading Towards Sustainable Gender Equality Plans in research organisations). The Plan is aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and operates through partnerships with EUTOPIA and other programmes such as:

  • E-WinS (European Women in Sport), an Erasmus+ programme to promote and accelerate women’s participation in sport in European cultures, through research and awareness-raising about women athletes and their role in sport governance.

    The project is coordinated by CY Cergy, in collaboration with partners in Poland, Spain, Bulgaria, Finland, and the UK.
  • Women Safe, an institute in Saint-Germain-en-Laye dedicated to supporting women and children who are victims of violence. Working with experts in psychotraumatology, relevant areas of the law, and other partners, the institute is also dedicated to raising awareness on this topic, and training those who come into contact with victims of violence.

    This partnership has enabled the creation, in CY, of a crisis unit with a dedicated phone-line and email account through which people can receive professional guidance. Women Safe is able to provide neutral mediation between students and/or staff in cases of harassment or other forms of misconduct.
  • The Women in Science competition, organised by the CY Alliance for a sixth consecutive year in 2022. Each year two women receive a prize of €1000 each, awarded by a jury of experts from various institutions (including Yale University, CNRS, and the Women & Sciences Association in recent years, as well as schools of the CY Alliance).
  • The Women in Science congress, a project led by National Federative Association of University Science Students (AFNEUS), and hosted in Paris in 2022. The event aims to address the under-representation of women in scientific fields, through exhibitions, serious games, and thematic debates across three days. At the 2022 congress, CY was represented by Stefania Marcassa, who presented the activities of the Gender Equality Project so far.
  • CY has also obtained the HRS4R label (Human Research Strategy for Researchers), which highlights the university’s commitment to implementing fair and transparent recruitment and appraisal procedures for researchers.

University of Ljubljana

Gender Equality Plan

The University of Ljubljana’s Gender Equality Plan 2022-2027 (GEP UL) aims to provide a working and learning environment that is sensitive to gender and other discrimination or bias: the plan’s intersectional focus recognises that disadvantages can accumulate when a person has multiple personal circumstances that may discriminate against them – for example, a disability in addition to their gender. The Plan is also sensitive to the complexity and plurality of gender, as a concept, in the modern world.

The GEP UL builds on the university’s past work in this field, which has been carried out through various faculties’ involvement in national and international projects: the Plan is founded on data-gathering and analysis regarding gender equality (and Gender Equality Plans) in Ljubljana, in Slovenia, and internationally. The GEP UL recognises the excellent work that has been done so far, while also addressing the need for a more holistic and comprehensive institutional action plan.

As well as setting top-down strategic goals, the GEP UL also affirms the need for individual faculties and members to develop bottom-up initiatives to promote gender equality and diversity. The document lists a wide range of issues to be addressed, describing specific objectives, actions, and target groups associated with each topic.

The project aligns with the goals of the European Commission’s 2020-2025 Gender Equality Strategy, helping to facilitate the university’s participation in Horizon Europe and the European Research Area more generally.

Association of Students of Business Sciences

The Association of Students of Business Sciences helps to connect students in the Faculty of Economics, and to support them in getting the most from their education. Since its inception in 2016, the group has grown to include around 50 members who attend weekly meetings and monthly events.

Among the association’s many activities, there is a particular focus on promoting gender equality. The group regularly facilitates round-tables on International Women’s Day, inviting high-ranking guests from business and politics to discuss the representation of women in various fields.

The goal of supporting female students in Economics is also a key guiding principle in other initiatives, such as:

  • Training workshops on project management, personal finance, marketing and business etiquette and communication
  • A mentoring programme in which older members support newly arrived students in defining their goals and identifying ways of reaching them
  • Regular evaluations to gather feedback from members about their experience in the association, and the benefits they feel they get from it

Universitat Pompeu Fabra Barcelona

UPF promotes gender balance and gender mainstreaming through a range of curricular and extra-curricular initiatives, events, and resources. The importance of gender equality is enshrined in the UPF Equality Plan, in bodies such as the Centre for Gender Studies, and in regular awareness-raising events such as Equality Week.

The incorporation of gender perspectives in all the university’s policies works in tandem with the incorporation of LGBTI+ perspectives. These policies are implemented practically through awareness-raising training events and other central initiatives, run by the UPF Equality Unit and the vice-rector for Social Commitment and Sustainability:

  • The university works with various public services, including the police and specialised associations, to respond to inquiries and complaints about gender-based violence and LGBTI+ phobia affecting any member of the university community. The Equality Unit’s website provides links to various support services, as well as informative resources on issues such as homophobia in sport and LGBTI+ perspectives in teaching.
  • In 2017, new measures were implemented to enable any member of the UPF community to change their name and other personal or contact details on the university’s systems. This process was implemented to guarantee the rights of transgender, transsexual, and intersex persons to be identified, at university, in accordance with their gender identity.
  • The Inclusive Spaces initiative ensures the presence of non-gender-defined toilets in each of UPF’s three campuses, as well as providing spaces for baby caring and breastfeeding, and toilets adapted to the use of the menstrual cup.
  • The #AmbPerspectiva Network is a group of teaching and research staff who support other teachers in the incorporation of gender mainstreaming in teaching.
Below, we showcase the BibTIC guide to gender mainstreaming in the classroom, the Viquidones project, the annual awards for gender research, and the international contest Wisibilízalas.
Gender mainstreaming

UPF’s Equality Unit oversees an extensive set of tools and resources designed to support academics in reviewing and adjusting the gender balance in their courses, in various different ways. This can involve diversifying the set texts or illustrative examples used, the types of activities undertaken in the classroom, and the language used in teaching materials.

UPF provides over 150 guidance documents (called BibTIC or ‘Library and Computer’ guides) on a range of topics, including one on Gender Perspectives. This guide offers a searchable and accessible collection of publications, videos, research groups, and toolkits exploring issues to do with gender balance in research and teaching, and in relation to specific academic disciplines. Among other things, this website links to:

  • A framework for the incorporation of gender perspectives in university teaching by AQU (the Catalan University Quality Assurance Agency)
  • An extensive set of discipline-specific guides on this subject by the Xarxa Vives network of Catalan universities
  • Viquidones UPF, described in more detail below.

The name of this initiative is derived from ‘Viquipèdia’ (the Catalan version of Wikipedia) and ‘dones’ (meaning ‘women’), and it was established in response to the fact that only 17% of Wikipedia biographies are about women (or 18.56% of those in Catalan). The goal of Viquidones is to detect and reduce gender bias on Wikipedia, both in terms of the website’s content and its content editors.

Members meet regularly during the academic year and work together to discuss the nature of the problem, explore possible solutions, and develop the knowledge, skills, and confidence required to contribute actively to Wikipedia and other collaborative websites. Members can also learn how to organise workshops or wikimarathons with their friends or colleagues.

Participation in Viquidones counts towards the Program of social commitment activities (PACS), which is open to the entire UPF community. Students participating in Viquidones can obtain an ECTS credit for attending eight sessions and adding one entry to Wikipedia.

Awards for research in gender

The UPF Equality Unit and the Catalan Women’s Institute (ICD) co-finance awards for gender-focused research. Three different prizes are available for final-year undergraduate projects (€1000), master’s theses (€1000), and PhD theses (€1500). The awards have been running since 2015, and all prize-winning research is published via the UPF e-repository. Awards are presented at the annual Conference of the Centre for Gender Studies, which also oversees a range of activities and resources to promote gender perspectives in teaching and research.


This international contest aims to break gender stereotypes associated with STEM subjects and careers by ‘visibilising’ women who work in relevant areas. The contest is aimed at schools in Spain and Latin America, and participating students form ‘Senior’ or ‘Junior’ teams depending on their age-group. Each team creates a website containing Wikipedia-style profiles of at least three contemporary women working in STEM fields (at least two of whom must be engineers) in Spain or Latin America.

Teams are encouraged to profile women who are not yet included on Wikipedia, and are also judged on the social media impact of their profiles. Technical support and guidance videos are provided to help teams create their pages. Prizes are awarded to students in the top three teams of the ‘Junior’ and ‘Senior’ categories, and cash prizes (from €400 to €1000) to those teams’ schools.

Participating students and teachers have praised the contest not only for promoting women in STEM but also for enabling students to develop important skills. As one of the testimonials on the website says, ‘Participants have been very involved, improved their digital skills, worked cooperatively, and became feminist activists.’ The first five editions of Wisibilízalas have attracted 3700 participating students across five countries. The programme is regularly reviewed with the goal of measuring and increasing its impact, broadening its geographical scope, and further enhancing participants’ development of soft skills.

Wisibilízalas was founded by Ana Freire, a lecturer from UPF’s Engineering School and ICT Department. It is currently organised by UPF’s School of Management, the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, and the Spanish Foundation of Science and Technology (FECYT). The contest is funded entirely by contributions from various STEM companies. For more information, see the articles published in 2018 and 2020 by Freire and Verónica Moreno Oliver.