The On An Equal Report


Identifying and Removing Gender Barriers to Social Investment within the Community Sector in the East Midlands

After a year of working with women and women-led organisations across the East Midlands, Lincolnshire Community Foundation and Sortified are delighted to publish the On An Equal Footing Report.

The On An Equal Footing project was designed to support women and women-led organisations within the Community Sector to access social investment opportunities across the East Midlands. The project was funded by the Connect Fund, and was delivered by Lincolnshire Community Foundation and Sortified.

We wanted more women-led organisations in the East Midlands to access social investment, to be more financially stable, and for more women to feel empowered to deliver their social objectives. We also sought to identify existing barriers and issues for women seeking to access Social investment. 

Five learning workshops were conducted during the project across the East Midlands. These workshops were then followed up with facilitation and development sessions for women-led organisations who had the potential to move towards social investment. Our project also created a bespoke website, and populated it with appropriate resources -

Forty-eight people participated in the workshops, with seventeen organisations moving on to receive support through facilitation sessions, and thirteen through further development opportunities. Ninety-two percent (92%) of participants noted they knew more about social investment from taking part.

The project team noted six key themes around barriers and issues for women seeking to access social investment. These became known as the 6Cs:

    • Capability

    • Capacity

    • Cashflow

    • Commissioning

    • Communication

    • Confidence

The project recommended a number of key actions (expanded upon on page 23) in order to create a better environment for women accessing social investment in the future.

    • Increase the early stage support for small and developing organisations

    • Undertake co-ordinated commissioner education

    • Provide focused development support at each stage of organisational growth

    • Support confidence building for women and women-led organisations

    • Help the community sector to better understand their product

    • Look at ways for organisations to be able to monetise their product

    • Be inclusive to small and emerging organisations

    • Ensure more women are involved in social investment

    • Normalise social investment

    • Promote for women, by women, through women