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Analysis and assessment of social innovation ecosystems and gender inclusive innovations 

Analysis and Assessment of Social Innovation Ecosystems and Gender Inclusive Innovations 

The Methodology Report describes the methods applied in acquiring the data needed to understand where the EU stands with regards to gender equity in digital and social innovation. In order to investigate the current situation in different countries and networks, a questionnaire was developed and distributed to over 200 actors – university departments, start-ups, incubators, companies and public institutions. 

The questions were formulated with guidance from a survey of over 40 mapping tools. Responses from the pilot study indicated that half of the respondents were vested in ensuring gender equality within innovation, were aware of supportive policies and were active members in networks. This suggests that there are structures and networks for EQUALS-EU to build upon, but there is a need to intensify the focused work regarding gender in innovation in European countries. 

The pilot made the project consortium aware that the nuances in concepts and words, such as equity, equality, gender mainstreaming and inclusion, were different in different languages, and they also did not necessarily make sense in relation to the respondents’ realities. The project partners therefore decided to develop a Lexicon of Gender Equality Words as an additional output of the project.

The Visual Map of Stakeholders visualises the collaborative partnerships between and among the organisations that responded to the survey from the 22 countries with the Miro Board tool to present the level of need, interest, power and influence of stakeholders in relation to gender equity in social innovation and entrepreneurship.

The Compendium provides a comprehensive overview of innovations for gender equity and digital inclusion in 22 EU and non-EU countries that were included in the research. The key findings suggest that gender equity in digital and social innovation can be addressed in at least these two ways:  

  • Supportive structures for female innovators and innovation businesses 
  • Innovations that address some kind of gender equity issue or an issue of specific relevance for women  

In addition, the existing partnerships or collaborative relationships between organisations is stronger with global organisations such as the European Union and UN bodies that are supporting work towards gender equality. In-country or regional collaborations were rather disparate, suggesting the need to stress and invest more on efforts to strengthen networks regionally, as well as nationally. EQUALS-EU therefore will leverage on the strong networks such as those with the European Union and UN bodies that appear to connect different initiatives working with gender equity in social and digital innovations, to work towards strengthening and even creating networks regionally and nationally. 

The findings also show that there is strong knowledge about existing policies that promote and support gender equity. Global policies take on regional, national and similarly trickle down to local communities in their framing of the focus and efforts on working towards gender equality. Responding organisations also noted that most of the policies that they were aware of were being implemented to a certain extent. 

The report concludes by looking at the constructive relationship between gender and innovation, and notes that the lingering biases are still anchored by a binary view of men and women. A strong recommendation that is also offered by several organisations is to approach gender equality in digital and social innovations by looking at the relationships that happen between genders, and then drawing on this data to frame processes and products with a gender inclusive lens.  

The Policy Brief of 6 pages analyses the characteristics for gender inclusive innovation ecosystems. You can also take a look at our infographic presenting the highlights on the Policy Brief and Glossary of Gender-Associated Terminologies here.

The Policy Brief forms one part of Deliverable 1.4. The second half of the deliverable presents 22 case studies of country reports