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Gender Equality Network for DBS provided by Home Office

The Gender Equality Network (GEN) in the Home Office aims to ‘embed gender equality in who we are and what we do’. GEN is committed to raising awareness and holding the business to account for what it does on gender equality.

GEN operates at all times according to its core principles:

  • Respect diversity
  • Challenge cultural norms and gender stereotypes
  • Confront discrimination and tolerance of violence
  • Promote opportunity
  • Recognise achievement
  • Transparency

We are an inclusive support network. Currently no membership is required – we consider everyone part of our network and we encourage all staff to engage in the subject matters that affect them the most. Our current priorities are: talent, balanced representation, workplace culture, and intersectionality.

GEN is run by a small group of volunteers who deliver projects within specific remit to address key gender equality issues in the business. We have been working to better understand how to promote collaborative working, some of our recent projects include:

  • Collaborating with Men: One of our members has been seconded to the University of Cambridge, working on their Collaborating with Men study on changing workplace culture to be more inclusive working with private and public-sector organisations to gain clear understanding of workplace issues and implement bespoke interventions.
  • Lean in Circles: Established for Grade 6 and 7 staff based on the premise that people learn best in groups. The groups were self-selecting and include both male and female staff who are working together to support each other in their personal development. The circles operate under the fundamentals of: communication, commitment, confidentiality, and challenge.

GEN helps identify gender inequality in the Home Office, and ensures that issues are raised, action promoted, and support given those being directly impacted. GEN also works closely with the other staff support networks to provide specific learning, training and support opportunities to staff where it is needed.

We are working to better understand the issues facing staff and deliver effective interventions to tackle them. There is no one-size-fits-all solution and we believe intersectionality (interconnected issues impacting groups/individuals with overlapping characteristics such as race, class, and gender) holds the key to improving the experiences of many staff.

GEN works closely with our champions, supporters and sponsors (both male and female) throughout the organisation, and external champions, to deliver significant and sustained change. Together, we focus on delivering the Gender Equality Action Plan priorities and working with the department to deliver the Home Office “Inclusive by Instinct” diversity and inclusion strategy.

Our staff have said:

‘The Home Office’s Gender Equality Network (GEN) strive to ensure gender equality is embedded in who we are and what we do in the organisation.

From influencing policy relating to issues such as shared parental leave, engaging in projects to better understand the issues impacting women’s access to senior leadership positions, signposting men to sources of support for those that are the victim of domestic abuse, celebrating successes and identifying areas of concern specific to women and men in the workplace during International Men’s and Women’s day; to engaging closely with experts (across Whitehall, the private sector and academia) to ensure the Home Office is at the forefront of delivering the best for all our people.

I have witnessed first hand the positive impacts GEN have had on individuals and at an organisational level. They inspired me personally to get involved in the gender inclusivity discussion and I joined GEN core team in 2016.”


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