5. Develop and implement the strategy

Once you have completed the diagnosis, you will be in a good position to develop your goals and objectives for the strategy. You can use your results to benchmark your organisation against the 17 gender equality focus areas in the Diagnostic Tool as a guide.

The gender equality strategy is your foundation document, but it is also a working document which will grow and change with your organisation.

For organisations just beginning to prioritise gender equality, it is commendable to aim for an ambitious strategy, but it must also be realistic. If you are a long way from answering ‘yes’ to all of the questions in many of the gender equality focus areas, you may want to invest your energy into a few of the most relevant areas at first.

Your strategy should address:

  • Why is gender equality important to our organisation?
  • What is our vision?
  • How will we achieve our vision?

Any employee or stakeholder should be able to look at your strategy and understand your organisation’s level of commitment and the tangible steps you are taking towards the organisation’s vision of gender equality.

You can follow a simple process to develop goals and objectives:

  1. Design objectives that are practical and measurable using input from stakeholder consultation and diagnostics.
  2. Identify who will be affected by each goal – make sure this group has been consulted.
  3. Identify risks that may be associated with our goals and objectives and create a risk-mitigation plan.
  4. Identify relevant metrics and indicators for collection and monitoring.

To monitor each of your objectives, you will need to designate specific metrics that can be collected and measured. For example, your objective could be to increase the uptake of flexible working arrangements – this can be measured by the number of formal flexible working arrangements.

Once the goals and measurable objectives have been developed, link these with your vision statement document to form your complete gender equality strategy document.

When the goals and objectives have been endorsed by leadership, the rest of the strategy can be completed. There is no prescriptive way to document a strategy. However it is advisable to keep it short and simple to encourage more people to engage with it. You may even choose to display the strategy on a single page (see the full guide below for examples).

You can review your strategy and realign your goals against leading practice when you are further along the process.

It is important that you stage the implementation of your gender equality strategy carefully, engaging in regular organisational communication (both internal and external where appropriate) at every step of the process. In order to ensure that the strategy is implemented effectively, it is important that steps are taken first to ensure that all relevant stakeholders have received the appropriate training and preparation. Likewise, it is crucial that stakeholders have the confidence and authority to appropriately respond to any resistance or backlash if or when it emerges.

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Backlash and resistance to change can occur at any level of an organisation but understanding where the response comes from can help you to drive buy-in. For more information, see the Male Champions of Change guide to ‘Backlash and Buy-In’ and the report by VicHeath (En)countering resistance - Strategies to respond to resistance to gender equality initiatives.