Audits and certifications

Audits and certifications assess universities and measures on the basis of defined criteria. They therefore represent a possible quality assurance method for gender equality measures.

In Germany, three national audits and certifications are used to assess academic institutions.

TOTAL E-QUALITY Award Since 1997, the association TOTAL E-QUALITY Deutschland e. V. has been presenting the TOTAL E-QUALITY award to European private-sector and scientific organisations, administrations and associations.  The goal is to establish and sustainably anchor equal opportunities. The “Diversity” add-on award was introduced in 2015 to recognise exemplary commitment in this respect. In the research sector, which CEWS advises, a self-assessment process is used to examine the following areas and compare them with other institutions: recruitment and filling of posts; career and personnel development; balancing employment and family responsibilities (work-life balance); institutionalised equality policy; planning and control elements in organisational development; organisational culture; research, teaching and studies; moral harassment, sexual discrimination and violence; appraisal of employment situation.
audit familiengerechte hochschule berufundfamilie Service GmbH awards the “berufundfamilie” (work and family) audit certification to companies and institutions, and the “familiengerechte Hochschule” (family-friendly university) audit certification to universities and research institutions. Applicants must demonstrate active efforts to create family-friendly study and working conditions. Advice and support are provided to research institutions in the form of a detailed analysis, continuous process optimisation and sharing of specialist and methodological knowledge. Targets and measures are developed for eight action areas: work, research and study time; work, research and study organisation; work, research and study location; information and communication; management; personnel development and academic qualification; remuneration elements, benefits in kind and study funding; service for families. 
Diversity Audit Stifterverband awards universities the “Shaping Diversity” audit certification on completion of a two-year audit process, including workshops to assist the university with the development and implementation of a university-specific diversity strategy. The main action areas considered should include strategy and structure; studying and teaching by university management; service and advice; internal communication and participation; external communication; personnel management; IT and property
Country Title/Link Brief description
UK and Ireland Athena SWAN Award Twice a year, Advance HE presents academic institutions (universities and research institutions), departments or faculties with awards for their commitment to equality. The goal is to bring about both cultural and systematic change within institutions, as well as to support women's careers in the research system. Applicants are required to sign up to the Athena SWAN principles. Institutions can progress from a bronze award to silver and then gold. Institutions from the subject areas of arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL) and science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) are eligible to apply. Particularly innovative measures are made available in a database.
UK and Ireland Race Equality Award Twice a year, Advance HE presents academic institutions (universities and research institutions) with awards for their support of ethnic minorities among their staff and students. Applicants must be members of the ECU’s Race Equality Charter (REC). Institutions can progress from a bronze award to silver.
UK and Ireland Project Juno The Institute of Physics (IOP) presents awards to physics faculties, schools, institutions and organisations which demonstrate particular commitment to equal opportunities. The goal is to recognise these institutions and support an inclusive working culture. Institutions can progress from Supporter level through to Practitioner and then Champion.


Gender Equality Award

From 2007 to 2013, the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research presented an annual Gender Equality Award of 2 million kroner to universities and research institutions which had taken active steps to promote equal opportunities. Institutions were required to submit a gender equality action plan including appropriate measuring instruments. In November 2014, it was announced that the award would no longer be presented.
USA ADVANCE The National Science Foundation (NSF) awards funding to universities and academic institutions in the STEM disciplines to support women in the research system. The ADVANCE programme aims to increase the representation of women in order to develop a diverse working environment.
Australia Employer of Choice for Gender Equality Each year, the Workplace Gender Equality Agency recognises companies that support equal opportunities in the workplace. The citation is not specific to research institutions, but has previously been awarded to universities. It considers seven areas: Leadership, strategy and accountability; Developing a gender-balanced workforce; Gender pay equity; Support for caring; Mainstreaming flexible working; Preventing gender-based harassment and discrimination, sexual harassment and bullying; Driving change beyond your workplace
Australia Pleiades Awards The ASA Inclusion, Diversity and Equity in Astronomy Chapter recognises organisations in the field of astronomy that take active steps to promote women’s careers, equal opportunities and inclusion. The distinction is inspired by the Athena Swan awards. There is a bronze, silver and gold award. 

More information can be found in the publication “GENDER-NET Analysis report: Award schemes, gender equality and structural change” from the GENDER-NET ERA-NET project.

Funding number: 01FP1901