26th Sep 2023


EU agencies celebrate first-ever diversity and inclusion awards

  • 'An inclusive workplace doesn't just have a diversity of people present, it has a diversity of people involved, developed, empowered, and trusted by the organisation", says Olga Borissova, chair of the EUAN Diversity and Inclusion Working Group
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The 49 EU agencies and joint undertakings composing the EU Agencies Network (EUAN) employ over 11,600 staff members, making them the second largest employer in the European Union, right behind the European Commission.

It is not surprising, therefore, that diversity and inclusion is one of the central pillars to their strategy to promote a healthy workplace environment, based on mutual respect, collaboration, cohesion, and efficiency.

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"Diversity and inclusion are more than policies or projects. This is about respecting the unique needs, perspectives, and potential of all our team members. A diverse and inclusive workplace is one that makes everyone, regardless of who they are or what they do, to feel equally involved and supported in all areas of the workplace. An inclusive workplace doesn't just have a diversity of people present, it has a diversity of people involved, developed, empowered, and trusted by the organisation", says Olga Borissova, chair of the EUAN Diversity and Inclusion Working Group and head of administration at ACER.

In this context, the EUAN has organised the first edition of Diversity and Inclusion Awards, giving the opportunity to all EU agencies and joint undertakings to showcase their best practices in the area. The award forms an integral part of the EU Agencies Network strategic priority to position the EU agencies as a role model for administrative excellence.

Fusion for Energy wins first prize

Fusion for Energy (F4E) Women's Network was given the 2022 EUAN award for promoting diversity & inclusion. The winners were announced during an online ceremony which took place on Thursday, 9 February 2023.

In the words of Carlien Scheele, member of the jury and executive director at European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), the prize was awarded for "the change the initiative brought, its outreach and impact, the cultural shift it called for, its long-term implementation and sustainability, and for its clear co-design and in-house team engagement."

Alessia Vecchio, head of F4E Administration and main sponsor of the Women's Network, highlighted that with the Women's Network "we are creating a change; meeting, discussing, and confronting with each other. We really hope we can make a difference both for men and women in F4E."

Launched on 8 March 2022, the F4E Women's Network is a rich and vibrant community of around 150 persons and a potent voice on issues related to gender equality and awareness, as well as a safe environment to share experiences.

It also offers the opportunity for personal and professional growth, with the ambition to create an impact beyond the network itself. While this learning takes place informally, it contributes to strengthen female colleagues' leadership capability, which is a priority for F4E.

Eight projects competed in the D&I Awards. The F4E Women's Network constituted one of eight projects competing for the prize, including:

"Awareness Campaigns for the promotion of Diversity and Inclusion", communication initiatives at the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

"Mainstreaming a gender equality culture and fostering women leadership" at the European Banking Authority (EBA), to strive towards gender equality without major organisational disruption.

F4E's "Towards a Socially Sustainable procurement via Gender Equality Criteria" which touches upon gender-responsive public procurement.

An Informal Task Force group composed by staff members from the European Environment Agency (EEA) discussing regularly best D&I practices in other EU Agencies and international organisations.

A clip on diversity and inclusion launched by F4E in May 2022 to celebrate the EU Diversity Month.

A "Speed networking event for women to foster Women in Transport", promoted by the European Union Agency for Railways (ERA) to help close the gender gap.

An F4E campaign "Breaking stereotypes — be your own you!", launched on International Men's Day aiming to raise awareness about the socioeconomic, cultural, and political efforts to promote positive role models, fighting certain stereotypes surrounding men and improving gender equality.

The Awareness Campaigns by EASA, the speed networking by ERA and the campaign on breaking stereotypes by F4E were also recognised with a certificate of excellence.

Alessia Vecchio, in her role as EUAN coordinating agency, was "proud to say that eight initiatives were submitted: all of them with tangible and direct positive impact on the diverse and inclusive dimensions of agencies and JUs as a valuable employer. All initiatives are valuable, and we hope they will be an inspiration for others."

The Diversity & Inclusion Awards ceremony was the last big event under the F4E presidency of the EU Agencies Network, which will officially end on 28 February 2023.

The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA), based in Frankfurt, will take over the EUAN chairmanship as of 1 March.

Author bio

The EU Agencies Network (EUAN) comprises 49 EU agencies and joint undertakings composing the employ over 11,600 staff members, making it the second largest employer in the European Union, after the European Commission.


This article is sponsored by a third party. All opinions in this article reflect the views of the author and not of EUobserver.

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