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Europe’s Regional Partnership for Gender Equality in the Digital Age

EQUALS-EU aims to promote gender equity in social innovation.

Grant Agreement Number: 101006396

Funded by: HORIZON 2020        Duration: 01/01/2021 – 31/12/2023




Progress towards gender equality in Europe is moving slowly, and key dimensions have worsened. The EU’s Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025 calls for a Europe where women and men, girls and boys, are equal, where diversity is a recognized asset to the economy and society, and where women have equal opportunities to participate and thrive in society. The EU has committed to improving the structural inequality between men and women, and empowering and promoting the social, economic and political inclusion of women and girls. However, a conclusive strategy for eliminating gender inequality and reshaping institutionalized stereotypes and discriminatory practices has yet to emerge.

The information society presents new possibilities for generating and distributing wealth and knowledge. Active participation of women in the information society is a matter of justice and equality and improves EU competitiveness. Digital inclusion provides new pathways and novel solutions for ensuring that women and girls can participate in the entire sphere of economic, social, political and cultural life. The participation of women and girls in research and innovation is crucial for promoting digital inclusion and addressing the complex social and economic challenges facing Europe. However, innovations are often disproportionately driven by and benefit men. Fostering gender inclusive innovation ecosystems can help cultivate a new generation of women inventors and address the economic, social and cultural roots of gender inequality that affect women’s lives from childhood to adulthood, in education, employment and social life.

Within this context, more effort is needed to promote gender equity in innovation and entrepreneurship, in STEM education and lifelong learning and in employment in the ICT industry.


EQUALS-EU aims to create smart, sustainable and inclusive innovation ecosystems by building capacity and expanding networks for women and girls in social innovation and entrepreneurship. For this reason, it brings together a plurality of societal actors and individual citizens as co-innovators and co-designers of the project’s key activities. This approach is a form of participatory social innovation, which creates new opportunities for strategically reforming policy and practice.

This activity focuses on appraising gender equity in national social innovation ecosystems.  It will establish a clear baseline of existing actors, practices and policy developments that are or have the potential to promote gender equity in social innovation and entrepreneurship. Specifically, it provides a launching point for mainstreaming gender equity in relevant policy goals, implementation routines, and organizational strategies. It will lay the foundation for understanding the benefits of adopting gender equity in policy and practice.

The main activities include a state-of-the-art appraisal of social innovation ecosystems and gender inclusive innovations, the development of a visual map of social innovation and entrepreneurship eco-systems and stakeholders, an assessment on gender equity and digital inclusion innovations, as well as a report on gender equity in social innovation ecosystems.

By using co-innovation methods EQUALS-EU aims to produce new gender equity solutions and ICT products and services. Specifically, it will develop and implement a combination of innovation camps and hackathons. The combination of these two types of events will enable EQUALS-EU to take concrete steps towards implementing radical solutions to realizing gender equity in practice in the innovation camps and in the hackathons, creating cutting-edge new ICT products and services for enhancing digital inclusion for women and girls.

The main result will be a concrete roadmap for promoting gender equity in social innovation and entrepreneurship.

This activity provides strategic advice and guidance and catalyses commercial growth and social impact for 24 women-led start-ups. It initiates, oversees, and concludes a work placement program focused on professional development mentorship and training to advance at least 72 social entrepreneurs from 24 countries.

To achieve this, EQUALS-EU will provide business development mentorship and training work placements for 24 women-led start-ups, co-innovate two Gender Equity Tools for Digital Inclusion and will create and spin-off professional network for women and girls in social innovation and entrepreneurship.

The activity focuses on the professional development of 24 future leaders and advocates in gender equity and digital inclusion. The main activities focus on building capacity in educational cooperation for gender equity and digital inclusion, co-designing and hosting an intensive international summer school consisting of three, one-week boot camps.

This project description reflects only the author’s view and the Agency is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 962547.

Project Partners

KMOP – Social Action and Innovation Centre
OSLOMET – Oslo Metropolitan University (Project Coordinator) – Norway
SPIDER – Swedish Program for ICT in Developing Regions
Missions Publiques -France
Global Universal Design Commission Europe
GSM Association
Kharkiv National University of Internal Affairs
The Graduate Institute Geneva
Latvian Academy of Sciences
University of Valencia
Klinikum Der Universitaet Zu Koeln
Middle East Technical University
University of Haifa
BLITAB Technology GmbH
Havelsan Hava Elektronik Sanayi Ve Ticaret
Intersection. Centre for Science and Innovation
United Nations University
Korea Advance Institute of Science and Technology
South Korea


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