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Action planning in practice - The example of Frankfurt am Main’s Womens Office

Edited on

15 March 2021
Read time: 5 minutes

Action planning, what is it, how does it work and what can be a good example of a successful action plan? In this article we will focus on action planning in practice with the example of Frankfurt am Main’s Women Office. This article is based on a presentation by Gabriele Wenner, head of Frankfurt am Main’s Women Office, at the GenderedLandscape APN's last transnational meeting.

Ever since 1989 the Division for Women’s Affairs (Frauenreferat) have been working to ensure equal opportunities for all citizens in Frankfurt. Currently there are 370 000 women living in Frankfurt, one third of these women are migrants. One of the aims for the Frauenreferat is that all women and men should live a non-violent, independent and equal life. Having clear goals is one important step when it comes to change, however which actions need to be taken to accomplish our goals? Wenner points out the signing of the European Charter for equality of Women and Men in Local life, in 2012 as one important action for the successful work in Frankfurt. By signing the charter the Frankfurt city council committed to draft a tailored action plan for the needs of Frankfurt of Main. Along with the signing of the charter the Frankfurt city council gave financial funding of €100.000 and assigned a coordinator. The charter includes several aspects on how to foster gender equality at local government level. The action plan in question includes a detailed summary of priorities, activities and resources.

The Frauenreferat decided to concentrate their resources and focus their work to one key component over two years. 120 participants representing business, administration, civil society, politics and science have since May 2014 developed three different action plans. The three plans each had four different forums where they engaged in the process of developing ideas followed by concrete measures. The Frauenreferat was overwhelmed by the huge response and interest to work on the action plan collectivity. During a six month period the three workshops and four forums developed concrete objectives that resulted in Frankfurt am Main’s first action plan! In similar projects the citizens often get the opportunity to participate during the planning phase. Frankfurt stands out in their choice to let citizens participate and evaluate the adopted measures.

With the action plan in place several campaigns were organized with different types of participation. Thanks to the established action plan the city of Frankfurt had defined key topics. One campaign focused on fighting sexism, another focused on women in politics and one campaign focused on fighting gender stereotypes. The main component of the campaigns were a big, press-effective kick-off on International Women’s day. The campaigns were advertised all over the city, for example with billboards in public spaces and advertising in public transport. The advertisement was also reinforced by usable materials such as postcards and stickers as well as accessible information on the internet.

The success of the “Frankfurt way” is not only represented by the city-wide campaigns and the action plans. The reach and awareness of the work of the Frauenreferat has increased both on a local, national and international level. There has been a consistent growth of support and cooperation partners. One of the most distinct changes is that the budget of the Frauenreferat has doubled since 2014!