Social Enterprise UK is working in partnership with the University of Westminster on a programme of work focused on social enterprises and gender empowerment.

Many social enterprises are working to tackle gender inequality – creating jobs, opening up opportunities and tackling entrenched social attitudes. This programme aims to work with social enterprises to help them embed gender empowerment into their work and day-to-day operations.

Since November 2021 an expert team of academics from the university have been running a series of practical workshops with participating social enterprises to help them develop strategies to empower the women they employ or support. Early workshops took place online but have now moved to in person events, the latest of which looked at how the Theory of Change and Social Relations Approach can be used to develop gender empowerment strategies. Academics taking part in the programme are Dr Lilian Miles, Dr Maria Granados, Dr Vincent Rich and Dr Anastasia Alexeeva

Why should I get involved and who can take part?

The workshops are open to any Social Enterprise UK member interested in doing their part to create a gender equal world. Participating social enterprises do not need to have a primary social purpose of tackling gender inequality. The programme is a great way to provide your social enterprise with the organisational tools necessary to put in place systems which empower the women you work with and support, taking academic theory and putting it into practice.

If you’re interested in taking part, please contact our membership team at membership@socialenterprise.org.uk

Social Enterprise UK members are invited to take-part in the next round of workshops, the details of which are below.

Gender Empowerment Workshop - group photo Social Enterprise UK University of Westminster

Upcoming sessions

14 June – Design thinking with Dr Maria Granados and Dr Lilian Miles

Many social enterprises are doing fantastic work advancing gender empowerment, while others are still thinking and planning on how to embed it in their day to day practices.  Continuing with our series of workshops to challenge social enterprises to reflect on and improve their gender empowerment (GE) strategies, our next workshop will focus on design thinking, a human-centred approach to improving the situation of people through the experiences they have.  In this hands-on session, we will provide a step by step guide on how to design impactful and innovative solutions to current GE challenges faced by the social enterprise or their beneficiaries.  

 Overview Workshop Content:

  1. Explore what are the current gender empowerment challenges faced by social enterprises (i.e. understanding what gender empowerment means, translating gender empowerment into different kinds of practice, navigating barriers to implementing practice)
  2. Understand how design thinking can help social enterprises to develop solutions driven by women’s experiences and needs
  3. Practice the ‘empathise’ and ‘define’ stages to design a GE solution

Location:  University of Westminster, Marylebone campus, 35 Marylebone Rd, London NW1 5LS

7 July – Impact Measurement Workshop with Dr Lilian Miles

This session will help social enterprises understand the meaning of ‘impact’ and develop criteria to measure impact. How does their gender empowerment strategy translate into practice (what kinds of practices do they adopt to support gender empowerment) and what indicators are available to measure impact in order to track progress? We will explore the range of indicators used to measure gender empowerment and help social enterprise identify those most relevant to them. Working individually and collaboratively with their stakeholders, they will also develop an impact model which works best for their gender empowerment projects. 

Developing a Gender Empowerment Guide for Social Enterprises in the UK

As part of this series of work a Gender Empowerment Guide is being produced for use by social enterprises to empower the women they employ. Co-produced with social enterprises, the guide will showcase best practice, potential challenges and how to address them, and clear indicators to measure the effectiveness and impact of GE practices.