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Gender Equality Plan - GEP

At the University of Reading, we have a proud history of diversity and inclusion. Reading was the first English university to appoint a female professor (Edith Morley, 1908) and one of our former Vice-Chancellors (Lord Wolfenden) played a key role in decriminalising homosexuality in England and Wales.

The University has robust leadership and governance arrangements for diversity and inclusion. the Athena SWAN Implementation Team, the Race Equality Action Team (RE-ACT) and the LGBT+ Action Plan Group are responsible for developing and delivering action plans in the three diversity and inclusion thematic areas (gender, race and sexual orientation) that were agreed as an institutional priority for staff by the University Executive Board (UEB) in 2015. Progress is reported by the Dean for Diversity and Inclusion and the Director of Student Services to the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board (DIAB) which meets bi-annually, chaired by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor.

We fulfil the Horizon Europe GEP eligibility:

Mandatory requirements

Public document

The GEP must be a formal document published on the institution’s website, signed by the top management and actively communicated within the institution. It should demonstrate a commitment to gender equality, set clear goals and detailed actions and measures to achieve them.

We hold an Athena SWAN Silver Award at University level, which makes us one of a small group of universities to hold this award. This demonstrates our commitment to gender equality and provides us with an action plan against which we measure our progress and success. Our Athena Swan application and action plan can be found here.

We also hold Athena SWAN awards in all of our science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) schools, the majority at Silver level.


Dedicated resources

A GEP must have dedicated resources and expertise in gender equality to implement the plan. Organisations should consider what type and volume of resources are required to support an ongoing process of sustainable organisational change.

We have a dedicated Leadership and Governance structure and the Diversity and Inclusion Team to support implementation and monitoring. Diversity @Reading.


Data collection and monitoring

Organisations must collect sex/ gender disaggregated data on personnel (and students, for the establishments concerned) with annual reporting based on indicators. Organisations should consider how to select the most relevant indicators, how to collect and analyse the data, including resources to do so, and should ensure that data is published and monitored on an annual basis. This data should inform the GEP’s objectives and targets, indicators, and ongoing evaluation of progress.

The University publishes equality and diversity data annually to assess the progress made and challenges faced in achieving our equality and diversity objectives.

This takes the form of two separate reports - the annual Diversity and Inclusion Report and the annual Gender Pay Gap Report. The latest and previous reports are available on the annual reports webpage.



The GEP must also include awareness-raising and training actions on gender equality. These activities should engage the whole organisation and be an evidence-based, ongoing and long-term process. Activities should cover unconscious gender biases training aimed at staff and decision-makers and can also include communication activities and gender equality training that focuses on specific topics or addresses specific groups.

All of us have a responsibility to create and sustain an inclusive and welcoming environment for everyone at the University, so we ask all staff to complete our online learning module about equality and diversity: Diversity and Inclusion, Unconscious Bias and Unconscious Bias for Panel Members. More information on training can be found on our Diversity and Inclusion pages (Diversity @Reading).

We provide funding and mentoring for staff members to attend targeted development opportunities.  

Our diversity and equality networks help to support and promote diversity and inclusion at Reading.


Recommended requirements:

Work-life balance and organisational culture

GEPs aim to promote gender equality through the sustainable transformation of organisational culture. Organisations should implement necessary policies to ensure an open and inclusive working environment, the visibility of women in the organisation and externally, and that the contribution of women is properly valued. Inclusive work-life balance policies and practices can also be considered in a GEP, including parental leave policies, flexible working time arrangements and support for caring responsibilities.

This is covered under our Athena Swan application, section 5. Our family leave, flexible working and smart working also support this requirement.


Gender balance in leadership and decision-making

Increasing the number and share of women in leadership and decision-making positions touches upon all aspects in the GEP. Measures to ensure that women can take on and stay in leadership positions can include providing decision-makers with targeted gender training, adapting processes for selection and appointment of staff on committees, ensuring gender balance through gender quotas, and making committee membership more transparent.

This is covered under our Athena Swan application, sections 2 and 4.


Gender equality in recruitment and career progression

Critically reviewing selection procedures and remedying any biases can ensure that women and men get equal chances to develop and advance their careers. Establishing recruitment codes of conduct, involving gender equality officers in recruitment and promotion committees, proactively identifying women in underrepresented fields and considering organisation-wide workload planning models can be important measures to consider in a GEP.

This is covered under our Athena Swan application, section 5.


Integration of the gender dimension into research and teaching content

The GEP should consider how sex and gender analysis will be included in the research or educational outputs of an organisation. It can set out the organisation’s commitment to incorporating sex and gender in its research priorities, the processes for ensuring that the gender dimension is considered in research and teaching, and the support and capacity provided for researchers to develop methodologies that incorporate sex and gender analysis. Research funding and research performing organisations both have a role to play in ensuring this.

This is covered under our Athena Swan application, section 5. Support for teaching and learning is also provided via the Centre for Quality Support and Development (CQSD).


Measures against gender-based violence, including sexual harassment

Organisations establishing a GEP should consider taking steps to ensure they have clear institutional policies on sexual harassment and other forms of gender-based violence. Policies should establish and codify the expected behaviour of employees, outline how members of the organisation can report instances of gender-based violence and how any such instances will be investigated and sanctions applied. They should also consider how information and support is provided to victims or witnesses and how the whole organisation can be mobilised to establish a culture of zero tolerance toward sexual harassment and violence.

We have a Harassment and Bullying policy (including violence and sexual harassment) as well as Harassment reporting and support. This is covered under our Athena Swan application, section 5.