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ACU Gender Grants 2020: advancing equity and equality across the Commonwealth

Published on 17 December 2020

ACU Gender Grants help member universities meet the costs of organising projects promoting gender equity and equality in their institutions.

Now entering its fourth year, this latest round of grants will support a wide range of initiatives, workshops, and events in nine different countries across the Commonwealth. We are delighted to announce the ten ACU member institutions receiving this year’s Gender Grants, and what their project plans are.

Tata Institute of Social Sciences, India, will launch a ‘Campus Conversations’ initiative that aims to generate conversations around respectful gender relations and increase awareness of gender perspectives on campus.  As part of the project, they will deliver a series of workshops for staff and students and written modules to help them mainstream gender issues into the curriculum. In addition, a monthly feminist calendar to record India’s hidden histories relating to gender and sexuality in higher education will be created.

Murdoch University, Australia, will develop guidelines to fairly assess the performance and achievements of academic and professional staff. The guidelines will explain how the principle of achievement relative to opportunity should be applied when assessing performance, considering diverse life experiences such as career disruptions relating to relocation, parental leave, caring responsibilities, periods of part-time work, disability, cultural obligations and domestic violence. Furthermore, the project aims to raise awareness of menopause experiences as an important gender equity matter.

Kibabii University, Kenya, will deliver bespoke training to support gender responsive procurement at Kibabii University. Best practises for implementing a gender-responsive procurement policy will also be shared along with recommended tools and approaches for mainstreaming gender-sensitive procurement processes at the University.

Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nigeria, will organise workshops to encourage women’s participation in leadership and governance and motivate more Nigerian women to participate in politics. The training will also be aimed at encouraging men to support women to help increase the number of women in leadership, governance and politics.

General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University (KDU), Sri Lanka, will focus on assessing and increasing the level of awareness of gender issues among the KDU community. The project aims to ensure zero per cent gender discrimination at KDU, create an effective institutional policy and promote equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities for both men and women at all levels at the university, thus supporting SDG 5: ‘Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.’

The University of Nigeria Nsukka, will establish a student-based organisation - Campus-Campaign Against Sexual Harassment (C-CASH) – to reduce sexual harassment at the university. The intention is to create an environment where students feel strengthened to speak up against sexual harassment. The proposed activities will include seminars, anti-harassment workshops as well as radio, stage and documentary drama created by C-CASH members to inspire bystanders and students to take positive action, amplify youth voices and empower survivors to speak up. The creative outputs will be shared with the university community using a variety of approaches such as websites and social media platforms.

Balochistan University of Information Technology, Engineering and Management Sciences (BUITEMS), Pakistan, will launch a training workshop series to raise awareness of sexual harassment, encourage the reporting of incidents and support women in handling harassment issues. The intention is to promote a systematic culture at the University that protects workers and students from sexual harassment. Self-defence training against assault will also be facilitated.  

University of Northampton, UK, will launch a ‘Supporting Women’s Writing in the Time of COVID-19’ initiative to address systemic barriers to women academics’ research and writing. This project aims to improve the environment for female academics at the University of Northampton by creating supportive spaces for them to develop their writing practice, and by identifying and targeting systemic barriers within the institution to their research process.

Queen's University, Canada, will focus on an action research project exploring how teacher education programs can support teacher candidates who are transgender and gender non-conforming, whilst recognising that many sexual minority and LGBTQ+ teacher candidates also face barriers to joining the profession. This project and its action research approach is the first of its kind in Canada, and its findings will benefit transgender-spectrum and gender non-conforming prospective teachers, students, and other stakeholders across the Commonwealth.

Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Ghana, will deliver tailor-made training interventions to STEM female academicians at KNUST to help them break glass ceilings, hone their competencies and prepare them to navigate leadership pathways to the top. The university envisages a first female cohort by September 2021, trained in leveraging their competencies to secure top university management roles.

Meet our gender grantees

More information

The ACU Gender Programme advances gender equity in higher education through local projects, grants, and advocacy.

For more than 30 years, we have worked to address gender issues – such as championing women in leadership and combating sexual violence on campus – in partnership with our member universities.

Since the ACU Gender Grants were launched in 2016, 39 universities in 20 countries have benefited, and at least 800 beneficiaries have participated in workshops supported by the grants.

Find out more about our Gender Grants

For all further enquiries, please email