In the last decades, women’s participation in Higher Education has increased in most Western countries, even if the well-known phenomena of horizontal and vertical segregation still persist (O’Connor, 2017). The reasons for the persistence of these phenomena have been widely studied (Ridgeway, 2011; Pearce, Wald, & Ballakrishnen, 2014; Rhode, 2016), highlighting the importance of defining and implementing affirmative actions to improve women’s situation in Higher Education. In this context, the European Union (EU) has placed the topic of gender equality (GE) in Higher Education with high relevance in the political agenda. As a result, several research projects have been approved to design and implement Gender Equality Plans (GEPs) in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). This paper reflects the design and implementation process of GEPs in a group of countries integrating an international project . Based on data analysis of national legal documents, this paper examines the macro factors that can contribute to improving GE at the institutional level. The empirical analysis is based on a qualitative approach sustained on the analysis of national legal documents related to the economic, political, and social domains of Portugal, Slovakia, and Israel. The comparative analysis among the countries reveals that there are relevant actions already in place in national legal frameworks that can be seen as positive to design and implement GEP in HEIs.

Author Biography

Sara Diogo is an invited assistant Professor at the University of Aveiro (Portugal) and a Post-Doc Researcher at GOVCOPP -Governance, Competitiveness and Public Policies Unit. She is also a Researcher at CIPES -Research Centre on Higher Education Policies. She did a joint-PhD in the University of Aveiro and in the Finnish Institute for Educational Research at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland, comparing policy changes in Portuguese and Finnish higher education systems. Her research focus on comparative higher education research, internationalisation, gender, and international cooperation for development.

Carina Jordão is currently a researcher at the Department of Social, Political and Territorial Sciences of the University of Aveiro, Portugal. She received her PhD in Labor Relations, Social Inequalities and Trade Unionism from Faculty of Economics of the University of Coimbra in 2018. She has been studying the phenomenon of in/equality between women and men in the labor market, especially in European Union countries. Her current interests also focus on gender in/equality in research, higher education, and intimate partner violence.

Teresa Carvalho is an associate Professor, member of the board of the research center CIPES (Center for Research in Higher Education Policies) in the University of Aveiro. She has been a member of the executive committee of the ESA (European Sociological Association) since 2016. She has published her work in edited books in Springer, Palgrave, and Emerald and in international journals such as Higher Education, Higher Education Policy, Higher Education Quarterly, Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, Studies in Higher Education and Leadership, among others.

Hana Himi, PhD. is a Senior Lecturer in Beit Berl Academic College. She is also the College’s Presidential Adviser for Gender Equity and Commissioner for the Prevention of Sexual Harassment. She holds a BA degree in Social Work from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, MA and PhD. degrees in Criminology from Bar-Ilan University and a Graduate Certificate in Psychotherapy from Haifa University – Faculty of Social Work and Health Studies. Along with her academic career she is Director of the Clinical Unit of NATAL –Israel Trauma and Resiliency Center (NGO) and a psychotherapist. Her research interests are psychotherapy, crisis intervention, stress, trauma, post-trauma, logotherapy, meaning of life, violence, youth at risk, and gender equality.

Maya Ashkenazi, MSc. is an international project coordinator and a research assistant in the Research Authority of Beit Berl Academic College, Israel. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree (BSc.) in Civil Engineering and a Master of Science degree (MSc.) with honors in Urban and Regional Planning. Both degrees are from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology; and a Post-graduate Teaching Certificate in English as a Foreign Language from Beit Berl Academic College. She is a novice English teacher in a learning center for gifted and excellent children in Rishon Letzion, Israel.

Veronika Mešková works as a project manager and is responsible for the implementation of the Gender Equality Plan (GEP) and for internationalization at the University of Žilina, Research centre at Žilina, Slovakia. She has finished her studies in economics and management at the Matej Bel University in Slovakia. Her diploma was focused on setting and analysis of the personal costs in small business. She started her professional career in a publishing house, MEDIA/ST, and after one year she changed for a recruiter role at American IT corporate DELL.

Zélia Breda holds a PhD in Tourism, a MA in Chinese Studies (Business and International Relations), and a BSc in Tourism Management and Planning from the University of Aveiro, where she is Assistant Professor and Director of the MA in Tourism Management and Planning. Her research focuses on tourism development, networks, gender and tourism, and internationalisation of the tourism economy.