Gender equality is a human right. Women and men have different needs and priorities, but women and men should experience equal conditions in availing the fundamental freedoms in political, economic, social, cultural and civil spheres. Gender equal workplaces increase job satisfaction, augment productivity, promote participation, attract and retain talent. Today, there is a strong global momentum for gender parity.
Yet, a lot needs to be done!
The formal workspaces can play a critical role. A gender audit at work can be an effective tool to ensure #BalanceforBetter. Women are essential stakeholders in the development process – serving as workers, producers, caregivers, and consumers — yet they are not immune to the negative fallout of gender biases. Gender stereotypes are often embedded in the construction of skill sets and job descriptions confining women to conventionally defined work choices, limiting their professional development and remuneration, diminishing their employment security, and many times make them vulnerable to harassment. Sexual harassment at the workplace is not just a significant deterrent to women’s participation in work; it is a violation of their fundamental rights.
Make workplaces sites of women’s empowerment and platforms of sustainable by formulating gender-aware and evidence-based policies with conscious emphasis to ensure gender-friendly workplaces, sensitising workers and managers at all levels, monitoring physical/verbal/sexual harassment of women at workplaces and setting up institutional mechanisms for that make organisations aware of their work environment and take remedial progressive steps towards greater gender sensitisation. Evolving processes of concurrent appraisals that are non-threatening and offer opportunities of introspective and organizational reform.
Gender constructs in policies, gender theories and training and education curriculum themselves need a constant critical review to purge themselves of unconscious bias that can creep into institutional frameworks, concepts, and definitions.
Owing to the multi-layered and multi-dimensional impact of gender bias on women’s agency, there is a need to have systems of concurrent appraisals that are non-threatening and that offer opportunity of organizational introspection and reform.
A tested Gender Audit Tool-Kit that can be used by organizations to:
- appraise their processes and policies
- evaluate whether they ensure equality of status and opportunity to women
- safeguard women against discrimination, violence, indignity, exploitation, and harassment.
Gender audit assesses Gender equality in policies, programmes, organizational structures, processes, resources, practices, culture and working environment, sexual harassment at workplaces, equal employment opportunities in terms of recruitment, promotion, remuneration, and professional development, Maternity/paternity leaves benefits, monitoring and mentoring the systems.
But make sure to use it in both ways as a quantitative & qualitative tool for measuring and assessing the gender that can be customized as per the requirement of the organization. You can always provide training on gender audit, conduct gender sensitization workshops, etc.
It is time to recognize that women are an important and integral part of our workforce. Women bring in balance and diversity and, more importantly, emotional intelligence that can truly transform work and workplaces into sites of empowerment.