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Promoting equality

Research supporting our equality commitment
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We believe that promoting and tackling inequality is central to meeting need. That’s why we ask applicants to think about equality issues. Our commitment doesn’t just end there either. We also try to identify and address any barriers to equality in our programmes.


Through our programmes, evaluations and research we’ve seen that many projects attract fewer men than women. This is despite the fact that many projects deal with issues that tend to affect men more acutely.

Understanding why fewer men engage in our projects helps us address their needs more effectively. We can all do this by:

  • consulting with men about their needs and preferences
  • designing projects with men in mind
  • using ‘hooks’ or incentives to build interest
  • building partnerships with service providers and venues
  • treating participants as individuals
  • offering different levels of involvement.

Sexual orientation and ethnicity

We have also undertaken research among groups that work in the fields of ethnicity and sexual orientation. This focused on how these groups can be supported to build their capacity.

You can find out more about that research on our Development and support page.


We’ve developed guidance to further support you in your quest for equality. You can find it under Publications below.

You can also find out more about our own equality principles on our Equalities page.

More about the research

Our review of patterns of applications and awards relating specifically to men, women or transgender people highlighted disparities. To investigate the disparities this highlighted, we commissioned the Young Foundation. In 2012 they researched how men could be engaged in more projects.

Tackling workplace inequality

In 2013 the Big Lottery Fund in Scotland funded seven projects under our Moving Up intervention. Moving Up aims to tackle workplace inequalities experienced by women, disabled people and people from BME communities.

We commissioned Rocket Science to carry out a study of the seven projects and produce a case study of each project and an overall report.

The approaches explored were:

  • Mentoring
  • Coaching
  • Work placements
  • Training
  • Networking.

The challenges identified include:

  • Engaging employers
  • Addressing inequality can cause initial negative impacts
  • Negative perceptions of ‘preferential support’
  • Achieving sufficient employee engagement

Read the report and case studies for further information.


BIG's equality information: Grant-holders' guide
Engaging men in your project: A good practice guide
Engagement: The blog about engaging men in your projects
Equality Matters: A good practice guide for small- to medium-sized organisations
Gender-based need in the UK: Assessing application and award data
Invisible Men: Engaging more men in social projects report