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The Gender Equality in decision-Making (GEM) project

A greater representation of women in decision-making positions facilitates progress towards more gender balance in organisations. For gender balance to be achieved, efforts must be targeted at those who are directly responsible for making decisions that affect the composition of senior decision-making panels, i.e. current and future employers. The overarching aim of the project is thus to bring together decision makers and policy influencers from employer organisations, private industry, business schools and the higher education/public sector with the purpose of creating ‘A Best Practice Guide to Accelerate Progress towards Gender Balance in Key Decision-Making Processes’.  A key objective of this project will be to both challenge and influence senior decision makers in relation to three key areas that are directly responsible for the dearth of women in positions of power. The focus in this project is on practices rather than policy because it is at the implementation stage that individual attitudes on gender have an impact.

The project’s particular focus on HR-related practices, i.e. selection, performance management and promotions/advancement, aims to (i) encourage private and public sector employers to improve gender balance in key decision-making positions through the utilisation of the ‘Best Practice Guide to Accelerate Progress towards Gender Balance in Key Decision-Making Positions’; (ii) encourage business schools across Europe to promote gender diversity in leadership positions through the design and implementation of a training programme for undergraduate, postgraduate and post-experience students on ‘Why gender balance on key decision-making committees makes good business sense’; (iii) through European employer organisations, raise awareness and encourage skilled women to advance their careers and become candidates for positions of responsibility in economic decision-making positions through the design and development of a tailored training programme for senior managers.

The project partners include IBEC (the Irish Business and Employers’ Confederation), which has direct access to a European-wide employer network; multinational organisation Dell Inc.; business schools at Cranfield University (UK) and the Kemmy Business School at the University of Limerick (Ireland); and the University of Abertay (Scotland).