Reflections on experiences of promoting a gender equality action plan in University College Cork

Caitríona Ní Laoire, Sarah M. Field and Nicola Maxwell (GENOVATE, University College Cork)

In this paper, we present some reflections on the process of promoting a gender equality action plan (GEAP) in University College Cork. We outline the issues that the GEAP sought to address as well as the key aspects of the action-research project as it evolved during the course of the GENOVATE project. The GENOVATE approach combines action-research with stakeholder engagement, and the focus here in particular is on the engagement strand, and on the challenges of engaging with very different stakeholder groups who had different expectations, hopes and fears in relation to gender equality promotion in the academy.  The paper discusses how the project’s engagement strategy negotiated this context; the key challenges, achievements and lessons to emerge are highlighted, and the possibilities of contributing to organisational cultural change through this kind of approach are discussed in this context.