The GAP Unit (formerly Gender and Participation Unit) was founded in 2007 as part of the Community Audit and
Evaluation Centre (CAEC) at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU).
It was constituted as an independent Community Interest Company -CIC- in January 2009.
The seeds of the GAP Unit were sown by the GEM Project -participatory research into the gender dynamics of community engagement in Manchester, which was carried out by Manchester Women’s Network, part of the Community Network for Manchester (CN4M) in 2003. The research found that women were under-represented in political decision-making in the city, particularly at higher levels. Dissemination of the findings led to advocacy work and development of training programmes to help address some of the needs and gaps identified. These included greater general understanding of gender equality issues within the community, voluntary and public sectors, and confidence building for women, who were generally less comfortable than men in formal public meetings.