Lens 1

Tool 4.

Plan of action for gender equality

This tool aims to prepare a roadmap with suggested steps to the company’s board of directors on how to plan, develop and implement integrated governance with a gender perspective.


For the use of this tool, it is suggested to have carried out tool 3. Test for an integrated governance with a gender perspective, described in lens 1


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Tool 4.

Plan of action for gender equality

In such a way that the board of directors, prior to carrying out the action plan (hereinafter “Plan”), has achieved the following: 

    • Make visible the main and strategic role it plays -together with senior positions- in the development of inclusive governance with a gender perspective.
    • Show that addressing this issue requires a long-term strategic vision, in order to achieve the objectives and changes that are necessary in a company.
    • Understand the opportunities for a company to work in an inclusive organizational culture with a gender perspective. 

With this tool, we expect that the boards of directors of the companies will have the design of a guide to prioritize integrated governance with a gender perspective and determine what actions they must take to establish the objectives and strategic goals of gender equality and how to implement said Actions. 

Design stage of the plan

  • Commitment: materialize the will to formally incorporate the gender perspective.
  • Evaluation and diagnosis: evaluation and understanding of the situation of the company in terms of gender.
  • Design strategy and action plan: combination of commitment + concrete actions to achieve gender equality. Establish objectives that contribute to the strategy. Set specific and measurable objectives (KPI).
  • Policy Design: prepare the policies that establish the way in which these objectives will be implemented.
  • Evaluate, monitor and measure: establish the way to evaluate the objectives, their form of management and monitoring. Establish metrics to evaluate if the defined objectives were met, the selected KPIs must be reviewed and updated. This also implies proactively supervising by establishing mechanisms, processes and systems to supervise the execution of the strategy, both internally and externally.
  • Report and communicate: communicate the actions that are promoted in gender matters to achieve equality. When disclosing information, it must be adjusted, coherent and transparent in relation to the actions that were actually carried out, so as not to cause reputational damage to the company.

However, for the execution of the pertinent actions in each of these stages it is important to adopt a proactive approach for continuous improvement, for which it will be necessary to:

    • Allocate resources (material, economic and non-economic) to achieve the goals;
    • Assign responsibilities;
    • Set deadlines (short, medium and long term);
    • Train and sensitize; AND
    • Create communication channels to publicize the actions with a gender perspective that are carried out. 

The stages of the Plan and a description of each of them are detailed below. Likewise, the information presented includes what actions the board of directors could take at each stage and how to implement the actions through different practical recommendations, which consist of suggestions or advice.


Who? The Board of Directors


  • Declare the will to promote gender equality, for example, through a declaration of principles or manifesto.
  • Appoint a person who is a member of the board of directors as responsible for the commitment and the Plan and ensure that gender equality is incorporated into the agenda of the board of directors (in its debates and decision-making).
  • Form a gender committee with people from different areas of the company to be the ones who lead the actions of the Plan.
  • Identify leading people on the subject who are an example for the rest of the organization or who can fulfill specific roles: 
      • Sponsor: person of high hierarchical level, without distinction of sex, who uses their influence in an intentional and positive way to promote gender equality in the company. Collaborate in its external and internal exposure;
      • Mentor: the mentoring role is performed by a person who, due to her knowledge or experience, shows intentions to accompany and guide women. With her career path, she provides advice, feedback and coaching that serve as a guide for women to advance in their careers, adopt a leading position and an attitude that favors their own change; Y
      • Champion: the role is played by a leading person who is visibly committed to gender equality in the workplace, promotes change, showing conviction and the need for change to occur to achieve gender parity.

We suggest consulting tool 5, Manifesto for gender equality from lens 1, which aims to exemplify a corporate manifesto model.

Practical recommendations

To formalize and specify the commitment assumed, the board of directors may: 

  • Join the United Nations Global Pact/World Pact Network: 


  • Adhere to the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs): 


  • Adopt the badge of gender equality existing in your country or the badge for gender equality of the United Nations Development Program:


    • The board of directors may also incorporate the following guidelines into the company’s values, corporate mission, declaration of principles and corporate strategy: “Gender equality is recognized as an essential value in the company’s strategy to guarantee competitiveness and sustainability. of the business ”,“ Equal opportunities and treatment will be a transversal axis in all the policies, procedures and practices of the company ”.
  • Collaborate with civil society, governments and international cooperation organizations to promote gender equality.

Assessment and diagnosis

Who? Initially: the board of directors with an active participation of middle management and senior positions. Periodically: the board of directors with middle and senior managers and leaders of the different areas of the company

The evaluation and diagnosis is divided into two stages: evaluation and initial diagnosis; and periodic evaluation and diagnosis.


  • Set up focus groups with the aim of gathering aspirations, expectations and meeting the needs of women within the company.
  • Conduct individual interviews with staff in relation to gender equality.
  • Incorporate questions related to the subject in the work environment surveys, in order to have the opinion of women and men regarding issues such as the development opportunities they see or not in the company, salary parity, promotion processes , and all this from a gender perspective.
  • Incorporate questions regarding reasons for leaving in the graduation interviews, in order to identify causes such as lack of opportunities or career blockages due to gender issues.. 
  • Carry out a market study on the actions that other companies have in this area, to learn about different business practices and promote and guarantee gender equality.

To carry out the evaluation and diagnosis stage and identify the situation and / or baseline, it is recommended to answer tool 3, Test for an integrated governance with a gender perspective, described in lens 1

Practical recommendations

In this matter you can also consult:

Strategy and execution plan

Who? The board of directors, senior managers and middle managers, in order to ensure the transversality of the strategy. It is also recommended that the designated responsible persons involve the management areas of the company


  • Determine key performance indicators (KPI) for each of the sub-axes that are detailed in the policy stage.
  • Indicate the timetable for reaching the KPIs, when and how often their progress will be evaluated.
  • Determine the resources for the implementation and review of progress in the aforementioned measures.
  • Assign responsibilities for the application of the above measures and for monitoring the different areas of the company.
  • Define prevention and protection measures associated with the issue, as well as sanctions for non-compliance.
  • Establish evaluation and monitoring methodology.
  • Determine reporting and communication mechanisms.
  • Instruct the development of guidelines, guides, protocols, policies or codes of conduct that translate the leadership’s commitment to a business culture that promotes gender equality.

Practical recommendations

  • Determine how to set the remuneration of senior and middle managers (economic incentive) with the fulfillment of some of the established KPIs (example: bonuses or awards).

  • Focus the development of training around these two axes: women in leadership and equality in the workplace.

  • Form a technical team (with internal and external members) to act as an advisor for the construction of the strategy and implementation of the Plan.

Policy design

The Policies:

  • They must have authority and responsibility for its application.
  • You can refer to the laws in force in the jurisdiction on gender equality.
  • It can be short or long enough to provide definitions and describe responsibilities.

Ways to Implement

  • Declaration of principles on gender equality.
  • Gender equality policy.
  • Code of ethics / conduct.
  • Protocols.
  • Guides.
  • Manuals.
  • Internal procedures.

Who? The board of directors with middle and senior managers and leaders of the different areas of the company

Proposals for actions to address gender equality within the company are presented according to the four lenses for investment with a gender perspective.

    Women in Leadership



    • Establish a goal of gender parity that includes setting a term within which women must join the board of directors, senior positions, and middle managers.
    • Privilege the promotion of women by establishing the obligation to incorporate them into the selection lists.
    • Recognize the existence of roles and functions free of gender stereotypes.
    • Allocate resources for the education and training of women, and for mentoring, coaching and sponsorship programs.
    • Establish goals for women in leadership at the time of performance evaluations, aligned with the fulfillment of actions to achieve gender parity.
    • Ensure that women who are part of the board of directors, as well as those who occupy high positions and middle hands, carry out the substantive functions related to the job profile and not activities based on gender stereotypes.

    Practical Recommendations

    • Incorporate economic and non-economic incentives, as well as specific KPIs, for evaluating the performance of the members of the board of directors, senior managers and middle managers, aligned with the fulfillment of actions to achieve gender parity.
    • Select and, when necessary, replace those who occupy the main executive positions and have an appropriate plan for their succession, so that the candidates meet the necessary requirements to manage the entity, taking into account the criteria of gender parity. .
    • Implement special measures for promotions such as favoring the promotion of women when there is a tie.
    • Create exclusive contests aimed at women.

    Equality in the Workplace



    • Establish a personnel hiring procedure, including planning, job description, recruitment, selection, induction and probation processes, based on: the principle of equal opportunities and treatment; the position of zero tolerance to all forms of violence and discrimination; and transparency in the forms of decision-making, so that all parties involved understand the criteria on which they are based.
    • Provide information, tools and training in accessible formats on the risks and dangers of violence and harassment, as well as the rights and responsibilities of staff.
    • Guarantee a work environment free of violence, by designing a policy for the prevention, care and punishment of violence in the workplace, which includes sexual harassment and harassment.
    • Establish the principle of equal pay for equal work and equal value, which also addresses the issue of compensation and benefits.
    • Guarantee the necessary conditions for the balance of work with personal life, implementing co-responsibility measures that recognize the diversity of homes and families.
    • Develop effective policies and practices to ensure equal career flows and cultural inclusivity.
    • Create confidential channels through which issues can be safely raised for consideration (eg if they have experienced discrimination).
    • Incorporate women in all functions and operations of the company.

    Practical Recommendations

    • Incorporate economic and non-economic incentives and specific KPIs for the evaluation of the performance of those who make up the board of directors, senior managers, middle managers and the company’s staff in general, aligned with the fulfillment of actions to achieve equality in the workplace .
    • Make available to job applicants a mechanism to which they can go if they consider that their selection process has not been carried out objectively and following the principle of equal opportunities and treatment.
    • Prepare a job manual to incorporate their descriptions, document the functions of each job, clarify the job structure, and facilitate the processes of hiring, training, performance evaluation, and salary and compensation administration (must consider non-sexist language and inclusive).
    • To have maternity, paternity and care policies with a gender focus, so that staff have the possibility of attending to care responsibilities for girls, boys, sick people, older adults and people with disabilities.
    • Provide subsidies or other financial support for the care of children, the elderly and people with disabilities.
    • Have a co-responsibility policy that considers licenses or permits with or without pay, flexible work and telework, among other measures.
    • Carry out surveys on the average remuneration of employed persons by sex and occupational hierarchy, in order to identify the existence of income gaps within the company, where they are generated and what their causes are; as well as the fulfillment of equal remuneration for work of equal value, understood as similar or identical work.
    • Talent development and promotion programs.
    • Creation of spaces for dialogue and privacy to improve work coexistence.
    • Establish negotiation and mediation procedures to resolve conflicts in the workplace, except in cases of harassment and sexual harassment.
    • Make suitable channels available to staff to which they can turn in case they have complaints about the compensation system or their own compensation.
    • Organize training and awareness workshops on gender equality and violence in the workplace, including sexual harassment and harassment.
    • Avoid carrying out activities, giving prizes or gifts to staff based on gender stereotypes.

    It is suggested to review and implement the tools that are linked to lens 2. Equality in the workplace, according to the results obtained in the Self-diagnosis of the gender approach in business management.

    Products and services that benefit women and girls



    • Incorporate the gender perspective in the creation, development and sale of products or services.
    • Carry out evaluations of the impact of gender in the creation and development of products or services.
    • Review guidelines so that communication and marketing policies incorporate the gender perspective.
    • Collect feedback, complaints or claims made by clients, within the communication channel of the company, linked to each other from the product or service that is marketed or promoted -or not- to gender equality.
    • Conduct market research to analyze what similar companies are doing.
    • Create areas of innovation and development on products and services with a focus on gender equality.
    • Generate incentives for staff for the creation, development and commercialization of this type of products and services.

    Practical recommendations

    • Organize training and awareness-raising on the need for product design with a gender perspective, what are gender stereotypes in design and how to avoid them, impact of the product or service on the lives of women and men.
    • Design policies that promote the elimination or reduction of price differences between the same products depending on whether they are for women or men, or between products for women and products without gender stereotypes.
    • Set a quantitative goal to promote the participation and presence of women in the product and service development team.
    • Allocate resources to survey the real needs of women and girls, in order to know them as consumers and develop markets focused on them: design products and services that address women and girls and meet their needs, eliminate stereotypes of have a favorable impact on equal opportunities and treatment between women and men.

    It is suggested to review and implement the tools that are linked to lens 3. Products and services that benefit women and girls, according to the results obtained in the Self-diagnosis of the gender approach in business management

    Equality in the value chain and advocacy practices



    • Set objectives with a gender perspective in the organization’s value chain.
    • Invite supplier companies, distributors, customers and the interest groups with which it interacts to adopt a commitment to gender equality.
    • Carry out actions to close the gender gap in the population of the territory in which it operates.
    • Carry out auditing processes in the company’s procurement and contracting procedures, integrating gender equality criteria.
    • Generate the granting of incentives, benefits and / or preferences in favor of supplier companies whose majority members are women.
    • Build capacity in the value chain in matters of gender and gender violence.

    Practical Recommendations

    • Map which supplier, distribution and customer companies have adopted a commitment to gender equality.
    • Design flexible processes to consider and include as suppliers companies that are majority owned by women and / or that meet certain standards for the promotion of gender equality (for example: access to advance payments, granting of financing or credit, flexible guarantees , etc.).
    • Incorporate in contracts with suppliers and customers the assumption by the parties of the commitment to equality.
    • Set specific targets to increase the percentage of supplier companies owned by women.
    • Design tools or mechanisms to establish purchasing preferences in favor of companies owned by women and / or that comply with certain standards with a view to promoting gender equality in the workplace.
    • Establish sanction mechanisms (disciplinary procedure: serious or very serious offense) and reparation for breaches of the policies issued.
    • Organize by itself or together with actors from civil society, governments, business organizations or international cooperation organizations, awareness-raising workshops and training for interest groups on gender equality.

    It is suggested to review and implement the tools that are linked to lens 4. Equality in the value chain and advocacy practices, in accordance with the results obtained in the Self-diagnosis of the gender approach in business management.

    Cross-cutting Recommendations

    • Use inclusive and non-sexist communication.
    • It is advisable to use the word “equality” and not “equity” throughout the documents. For more information:


    • Use information disaggregated by sex in reports, goals and indicators in all areas of the company and use it systematically to make decisions.
    • Adopt and define general concepts on gender equality, such as the following: “Gender parity is the guideline that aims to equalize the participation of men and women in decision-making work spaces and guarantee the right to equal rights opportunities and non-discrimination based on gender”.

    To learn more about inclusive and non-sexist communication, visit the tools on this topic in lens 4: 2. Inclusive and non-sexist language for companies and 3. Inclusive and non-sexist digital communication for companies

    Evaluate, monitor and measure

    Who? The board of directors with middle and senior managers and leaders appointed from the different management areas of the company



    • Establish processes and systems that allow the board of directors to supervise the implementation of the Plan by leaders appointed from the different management areas of the company.
    • Verify that decision-making in the board of directors, middle managers and senior managers is in accordance with the Plan and considers gender equality in the aforementioned areas.
    • Evaluate whether the board of directors has attributed responsibilities to one or one of its members.
    • Establish monitoring functions of the gender committee.
    • Carry out periodic reports on the application of the Plan and the measurement of the KPIs by the responsible persons.
    • Have solid and two-way communication channels with all its stakeholders.
    • Create confidential channels through which staff can safely raise issues for consideration (eg if they have experienced discrimination).
    • Carry out evaluations in order to determine the status of the Plan, degree of effectiveness and identify possible actions for a continuous improvement approach.
    • Periodically review the content of the policies to adjust them to changes in the gender focus and the needs of the company.
    • Evaluate compliance with established policies and sanction and discipline mechanisms.
    • Implement measurement systems that allow, based on said data, to verify the achievement of the Plan’s objectives. This measurement should be done regularly.

    Practical Recommendations

    • Carry out the materiality analysis. The study involves analyzing the relevant aspects for each of the interest groups linked to a business: person, community in which it operates, customers, those who provide, etc. This will allow you to know if gender equality issues are relevant to stakeholders. Bear in mind that when the analysis is carried out, it could happen that the interest groups do not consider the issue of gender equality to be relevant due to ignorance or gender biases. In this case, we refer to the practical recommendations provided in the value chain on awareness-raising and training of interest groups on gender equality.
    • Establish metrics for the impact of gender equality that allow determining the benefits of the Plan. Examples: 

      • Measure this aspect using the equal pay for equal work diagnostic tool:https://lac.unwomen.org/es/que-hacemos/empoderamiento-economico/epic/herramientas-de-auto-uso
      • Measure what percentage of women the company is hiring and what percentage of women is losing, and contrast these results.
      • Track the percentage of women in the company: measure the percentage of women in managerial positions and of women in non-managerial positions full-time and part-time, evaluate the relationship between one and the other.
      • Measure what percentage of male and female employees who return after parental leave remain in the company.
      • Measure in which areas of the company women work.
      • Appoint a person as internal auditor for the evaluation, monitoring and measurement of the Plan.
      • Hire an external technical team to help monitor the Plan and establish continuous improvement plans.

    The Global Business Certification Standard for Gender Equality is a global methodology for evaluating and certifying companies for gender equality. For more information on EDGE certification: https://edge-cert.org/

    Report and communication

    Who? The board of directors


    • Carry out periodic reports and internal communications on the progress of the Plan.
    • Carry out press releases and reports on the progress of the Plan for stakeholders.
    • Use two-way communication channels with all its stakeholders.
    • Supervise that company communications (internal and external) promote the use of inclusive and non-sexist language and images and guarantee their accessibility.
    • Show the contributions of women when testimonials, quotes, examples or success stories are required.
    • Review and question, if necessary, the reports, compliance and policies to allow continuous improvement of the Plan.

    Practical Recommendations

    • Develop a communication strategy.
    • Verify that the message and narrative of the board of directors in their communications is consistent across all channels.
    • Incorporate the commitment to gender equality into corporate communications.
    • Include women as spokespersons for the Plan’s progress.
    • Keeping staff updated on the Plan in the various channels: email, Intranet, company or staff newsletter, staff bulletin board, periodic informational meetings, company image campaigns.
    • Establish procedures to determine if the actions of the board of directors and the company are in accordance with the objectives communicated internally and publicly.
    • Encourage staff to use communication channels to express or communicate concrete and positive actions on gender equality that they have experienced or witnessed in the company.

    Tips to optimize the action plan:

    Authority: existence of support from senior and middle managers;

    Material, economic and non-economic (human) resources;

    Assigned responsible persons;

    Participatory validation;

    Schedule; AND

    Attitude open to continuous improvement, review and strengthening of weak points.

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    +1 (646) 626-7000


    This toolbox is made possible by the support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the terms of Contract No. AID OAA-C-17-00090. The contents of this toolkit are the sole responsibility of Deetken Impact and Pro Mujer and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.