Equality and Diversity


EqualBITE – A Recipe Book for Gender Equality in Higher Education

EqualBITE is a ‘recipe book’ which aims to share practical and effective strategies for creating more gender balanced working environments in higher education. The recipes were written by University of Edinburgh staff and students, drawing from their real life experiences.

EqualBITE campaign
EqualBITE campaign

The methodology for the project is based on the successful book ‘BITE: Recipes for Remarkable Research’ edited by Alison Williams, Derek Jones and Judy Robertson. Gender equality, like remarkable research, is not straightforward to achieve. There isn’t a quick or easy fix. Legislation around gender equality has had an impact and many organisations have excellent internal policies. However, the implementation of policies and initiatives can vary and are influenced by the culture and environment of the workplace.

BITE: Recipes for Remarkable Research

The recipe format developed in the BITE project gives people space to reflect, sometimes humorously, sometimes critically, on how things actually are. Recipes are quick to write and provide people with an opportunity to share practical advice. The recipe metaphor also implies adaptability: ‘here is what worked with these ingredients in this place, but change and tweak to taste’. In large complex organisations like universities, the culture and environment can vary considerably across different departments: being able to adapt effective strategies is likely to enhance their impact.

The book was not produced to be a glossy politically correct version of Edinburgh’s successes in gender equality. Instead it is intended to be a frank exploration of the messy reality. The recipes to highlight some excellent practice but also to show the complexity of enhancing gender equality and to uncover the frustrations people face. The overall tone is positive and constructive with real insights to share within the University but also across the higher education sector and beyond.

Who is involved?

The project was run by Prof Judy Robertson, School of Education; Lara Isbel, Institute for Academic Development, Silje Graffer, Institute for Academic Development and Alison Williams, an external consultant.

The core team work closely with the project steering group:

  • Prof Jane Norman, Vice Principal, People and Culture
  • Dr Jon Turner, Director, Institute for Academic Development
  • Prof Simon Clark, Head of School of Economics
  • Dr Caroline Wallace, Senior HR Partner, Equality, Diversity & Inclusion


The content generated from the programme of events has beeen edited and is now published as an open access book of recipes, case studies and articles. An official book launch was held May 2018. 

The free e-book can be downloaded at: https://www.sensepublishers.com/catalogs/bookseries/other-books/equalbite/

Further information about the project leading to the publication of the book, please visit : http://www.equal-bite.hss.ed.ac.uk/ , or contact the EqualBITE team at equal.bite@ed.ac.uk or 0131 651 7143.