Use proxy metrics for gender balance breakthroughs

Despite good will, best intentions and some progress, gender balance initiatives have generally not delivered anticipated outcomes in a timely manner. One reasons is that significant change is necessarily long-term (over years), since there cannot simply be a ‘spill’ and reappointmentof current positions. Consequently, the highest level metrics are relatively slow-moving, lagging indicators which likely don’t precisely portray the ‘realtime’ current context (which leading indicators would). Adopting a range of evidence-based proxy metrics that are tightly fitted to context offers the opportunity of developing actions and gauging progress for both short-and medium-term horizons also. Correctly crafted, proxy metrics powerfully serve as highly context-relevant leading indicators of progress. Proxy metrics also facilitate short-cycle experimentation and corrective action which is more effective in complex contexts than long-term metrics found in typical linear planning approaches.


  • Refresh your thinking around planning, supporting and monitoring gender balance initiatives that support breakthrough outcomes.
  • Craft powerful proxy metrics for your organisation during this highly practical module that is strongly grounded in up-to-date research in the field.
  • Learn how to implement and refine your gender balance proxy metrics using a safe-to-fail approach ideally suited to complex contexts.
  • Network and share perpsectives with colleagues who are also committed to faciliating gender balance breakthroughs and progress in their own organsation.


  • Understand what proxy metrics are and why they are such a powerful tool in planning, implementing and monitoring gender balance (and many other) initiatives.
  • Examine gender balance proxy metrics in the context of the field in general and your organisation in particular. Link initiatives to solid evidence that contributes to positive gender balance outcomes.
  • Support successful implementation and outcomes of your proxy metrics effort by framing thinking and action within a strategic change framework.
  • Develop a range of proxy metrics that you can implement in your organsation along with a plan to dynamcially test and refine them.

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