Gender 101 Training

Speeches Shim

This video provides USAID partners with an introduction to the gender equality fundamentals, concepts, and terms needed to advance gender equality, diversity, and inclusion in the workplace.

ENGENDERING INDUSTRIES PROGRAM – The Workforce Gender Equality Accelerated Program is a leadership program that develops the skills and tools needed to increase gender equality, diversity, and inclusion in the workplace.

Three GridCo technicians pose in front of an electric power station
GridCo Technicians
Ryan Kilpatrick / USAID

Launched in 2015, USAID’s Engendering Industries program supports organizations in developing countries to increase economic opportunities for women and improve gender equality in the workplace. Expanding women’s participation in male-dominated sectors leads to tangible economic empowerment outcomes for women, such as formal employment opportunities and higher income. Increased gender equality also improves an organization’s business performance, helping companies meet their bottom-line by enhancing employee satisfaction, reducing turnover, and driving productivity. Well-functioning organizations are also vital in supporting stronger and more resilient economies. Through a customized best practices framework, demand-driven coaching, and a Gender Equity Executive Leadership Program, Engendering Industries builds the capacity of leaders to implement gender equality interventions that increase the professional participation of women and improve business performance.

Video Transcript 
Welcome to Gender 101 webinar. This webinar is offered by the USAID Engendering Utilities program. Gender 101 is an introduction to gender equality. We hope it will provide you with the understanding you need to successfully participate in our activities. My name is Agathe Gondinet. I'm from France, and I facilitate this webinar with my colleague, Jan Reynders, from the Netherlands. We are both gender specialists. Before we start, let me tell you something important. Everybody you meet, we all have a very unique experience of gender issues. This experience depends on many things, including our culture, our background, our age, our life experience, et cetera. With Engendering Utilities, we respect and value your unique experience of gender issues, and we believe that this diversity is what makes the Engendering Utilities program so rich and valuable. Gender issues manifest differently depending on countries and cultures, but gender issues are everywhere. And this webinar will help set the common ground between us about what gender equality is and how we can all contribute to a positive change and improve gender equality wherever we live, wherever we work. We hope you enjoy this webinar. And one last thing before we start. Please make sure you have with you what you need to take notes and put your ideas down during exercises. Thank you. Gender 101 webinar is here for you to understand the concepts of gender equality, diversity, and inclusion, discover and reflect on gender equality statistics from around the world, and explore how gender based stereotypes, biases, and discrimination serve as barriers to gender equality. You will also discover and reflect on solutions and how your organization can benefit from these solutions. Very importantly, you will build a vision of what your country and the world will look like when gender equality is achieved. In this webinar, we would like you to remember these three key messages. Gender equality doesn't mean that women and men are the same. It means that women and men should have the same rights and opportunities in their life regardless of their sex. Women and men are not treated equally in the world, mostly because of gender based stereotypes, bias, and discriminations. Proven solutions exist that bring benefits to both female and male individuals as well as organizations and societies. Let's start with situation of gender equality in the world today, what gender equality is, and what it is not. Even if in some context, gathering data is still a challenge. And even if the situation varies from one country to another, international organizations such as the United Nations are able to tell us what situation of gender equality is globally. Simply put, in the 21st century, women are still more likely than men to be poor, to be hungry, to be illiterate, to be sick, and to be excluded from decision making. Women are more poor than men, particularly women between the ages of 20 and 34, divorced women, and widowed women. Women are more hungry than men. 60% of the world's chronically hungry people are women and girls. Women have less access to education than men. 2/3 of all children that are denied school access are girls. 75% of the world's 876 million illiterate adults are women. Women have less access to health services than men. For example, almost 300,000 women died in 2013 from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Most of these deaths were preventable. Women are massively excluded from decision making compared to men. Women hold only 21% of the world's parliamentary seats, and only 8% of the world's cabinet ministers are women. All this shows that women are more deprived than man of the basic rights and opportunities and that they have less control than man over their own life and environment. All around the world, women and girls are massively victims of gender based violence. What is gender based violence? Gender based violence is violence that is directed at individuals based on their biological sex and gender identity. You may have been a victim of gender based violence yourself. Girls and women but also boys and men can be victims of gender based violence. But facts show that women are massively victims of gender based violence. One in three women around the world is likely to be a victim of gender based violence in her lifetime. Examples of gender based violence against women and girls are female infanticides, early and forced marriage, honor killings, female genital cutting or mutilation, child sexual abuse and exploitation, trafficking in persons, sexual coercion, harassment and abuse, neglect, domestic violence, economic deprivation, and elder's abuse. For instance, in New Zealand, 20% of women will be physically abused by a male partner and one in five women will be a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime. Gender based violence is one of the biggest causes of injury and death to women worldwide, causing more death and disability among women aged 15 to 44 than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents, or war. The fact that boys and men are also victims of gender based violence does not mean we need to create a hierarchy of suffering between women and men, whether one is worse for the other. All gender based violence is bad and unacceptable. Man to face gender specific issues, such as [INAUDIBLE] and lower life expectancy. So gender equality is not about empowering women only. It's about building better lives for women and for men beyond harmful traditional roles and norms. Improving gender equality allows all individuals to live better lives independent from their sex or the social norms and expectations assigned to that gender. It is important to acknowledge that dominant patriarchal norms and values are harmful for women and for men. Women are often well aware of that. They feel it every day. But many men are not yet aware of it and easily just take their privileges for granted, not realizing the harm of the rigid social norms and expectations on their lives. We have seen gender issues manifest differently depending on the country, but every country faces gender based violence. And promoting gender equality is about preventing gender based violence and contributing to more respectful and happier relations between women and men, boys and girls. Let's talk now about gender equality in the workplace. And let me ask you a few questions. Do you think women have the same job opportunities as men? The answer is no. The 104 economies still have legal frameworks preventing women from working in specific jobs. In several countries, women are not allowed to work at night. They are not allowed to drive a bus or work in specific industries, such as chemicals, oil, and gas that are supposed to be too dangerous for women. In 18 economies, husbands can legally prevent their wives from working. Now, do women have the same access to the labor market? Again, the answer is no. 63% of women age 25 to 54 have access to the formal and informal labor markets versus 94% of men. Also remember that women are overrepresented in informal and vulnerable employment and unemployment. As you can see, labor markets remain highly sex segregated. Sex segregation means that women have much less choice. They cannot work wherever they want like men. Men have more opportunities in terms of industry and position. Male dominated industries are industries where women represent less than 20% of staff. The most male dominated industries in the world today are construction and transportation. Now, do you think women are paid equally as men for the same job? No. Women earn an average of 77% of what men earn for the same job. Public and private organizations need to thoroughly assess gender gaps among their staff and become more transparent about salaries. One last question. Do you think women work less than men? No. Women bear disproportionate responsibility for unpaid care and domestic work. Women tend to spend around 2.5 times more time on unpaid care and domestic work than men. You may experience this in your own family. We have shown you that the situation of women around the world is very challenging. Now, would you say that gender equality is improving in our world? Think about the country in which you live yourself. Are things changing perhaps? Well, the truth is that gender equality is improving in some aspects. For instance, the access of women and girls to education and health services has improved in many countries. Many countries have also adopted legal frameworks to address gender inequalities and to enhance women's economic participation. As you probably know, the international community is joining efforts to improve gender equality globally. Gender equality is one of the Sustainable Development Goals, also called SDGs, a set of objectives adopted by all the United Nations member states in 2015. SDG goal number five is to create gender equality and empower all women and girls by 2030. We also see changes in norms that allow men to take on more caregiving. But global challenges such as climate change and pandemics are affecting women more than men and seriously hamper achieving the SDG by 2030. Climate change affects vulnerable communities more, and we have seen that women already more affected by poverty. The COVID-19 pandemic that started in 2020 is another example. The impact of a crisis are never gender neutral, and COVID-19 is no exception. The World Bank explained in 2020, and I quote, "There is a risk that gender gaps could widen during and after the COVID-19 pandemic and that gains in women and girls and accumulation of human capital, economic empowerment, and voice an agency built over the past decades could be reversed." The main impact on women is loss of income and an explosion of unpaid care and domestic work burden. More women will be pushed into extreme poverty than men. But we're also seeing a fast increase of gender based violence around the world since the start of COVID-19 pandemic and related prevention measures. All this shows that gender equality does not improve naturally or spontaneously. Changes in the situation of gender equality in our different countries and in the world at large are only the result of our changes in behavior and our actions, our policies, and our decisions as individuals, as communities, as countries, and as international community. By joining this webinar today, you're joining hundreds of thousands of leaders, many women's and men's organizations, feminist organizations across countries who are continually advocating for a more equal world. So thank you. After looking at gender inequalities in the world, it is important for you to know exactly what gender equality is and what it is not. According to the United Nations, gender equality refers to the equal rights, responsibilities, and opportunities for women and men, girls and boys in all their diversities. Women's and men's rights, responsibilities, and opportunities will not depend on whether they are born male or female. As defined by the United Nations, gender equality implies that the interests, needs, and priorities of both women and men are taken into consideration, recognizing the diversity of different groups of men and women. For instance, not all women have the same needs. It depends on their age and their background. Now, what gender equality is not. Gender equality doesn't mean that women and men will become the same. Gender equality is not a women's issue but concerns and should fully engage men as well as women. I'm sure you already know this, but please remember that the word gender does not mean woman. So the main aim of gender equality is to empower both women and men to take over non-traditional roles to equally benefit from economic and social opportunities. For example, men should be able to spend more time in family care, and women should have a better access to the labor market. The distinction between sex and gender is very important to understand if you want to contribute to more gender equality within your organization. You want to be able to explain this distinction to your friends and colleagues. Let's start with the sex. Sex refers to the biological differences between women and men. Physical and biological characteristics include sex organs and hormones. Sex has two main categories, male and female. Sex remains the same regardless of time and culture. On the other end, gender refers to the social and cultural differences between men and women. It has two main categories, masculine and feminine. Gender roles may differ across time and culture. Gender distinctions are created by social norms. For example, a gender expectation or norm in many countries is that girls and women should take care of domestic work. Why is that? Do women use their sex organ or their hormones for domestic work? Or is it a social construct that assigns them to this role? Another gender norm is that men should be tall and muscular and the breadwinner in the household. The same way men do not use their sex organ nor their hormones to work. It is a gender norm that dictates in many countries that it is their role to be the breadwinner. Gender is a social construct that evolves across time and places. Gender distinctions are not part of anyone's DNA. Those norms are based on patriarchy, which is a system of society in which men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it. Those gender norms mostly come from times where physical characteristics were important to survive. But in today's world, what is more important to live a good life? Is it your muscles or your size or is it your level of education, your capacity of innovation, and your resilience in times of crisis? The aim of increasing gender equality is to allow both women and men to go beyond traditional roles, undertake non-traditional roles, empower themselves, and develop their potential. Now let's speak about sexual orientation and gender identity. It is another very important distinction you want to be able to explain while advocating for gender equality. As we've already seen, sex is about the physical and biological characteristics of a person that distinguish males and females. Sexual orientation is each person's capacity for profound emotional, affectional, and sexual attraction to and intimate and sexual relations with individuals of a different sex or the same sex or more than one sex. There are three predominant sexual orientations. Towards the same sex or gender, homosexuality, towards the opposite sex or gender, heterosexuality, or towards both sexes or genders, bisexuality. In France, for instance, 3% of women and men declare they are bisexual and 5% of women and men declare they are homosexual. In Japan, 5% see themselves as homosexual and 6% in Mexico. Gender identity is different than sex orientation. It is not who you are attracted to but how you identify yourself. It is a person's innate, deeply felt, internal and individual experience of gender, which may or may not correspond to the person's physiology or designated sex at birth. Transgender people are persons whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. According to Amnesty International, 1.5 million people identify themselves as transgender in the European Union, making up 0.3% of the population. But not all transgender people undergo physical transition. Being transgender doesn't imply any specific sexual orientation. Therefore, transgender people may identify as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, or something else. You may have heard the acronym LGBT. It stands for lesbian, who are homosexual women, gay, homosexual men, bisexual, and transgender. As you can see, gender equality is about promoting the rights and opportunities of people with diverse sexual orientation and diverse gender identity. It is about creating flexibility beyond rigid social norms. It is important to put gender equality in the broader context of diversity and inclusion efforts and intersectionality. Individuals can be discriminated for their sex, their gender identity, and sexual orientation, but also for other social cultural characteristics, such as their social background, race, poverty level, ethnic group, age, mental or physical handicap, et cetera. Diversity, inclusion, and intersectionality focus on all the social cultural traits. From a diversity point of view, you may ask yourself, does my organization have a diverse workforce? Does it have people of diverse social background, poverty level, ethnic group, sexual orientation, age, handicap, et cetera? Inclusion goes further than diversity. Inclusion focuses on actually valuing and honoring diversity of identity traits in an organization. By designing and implementing active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity to leverage it as benefits for an organization. You may ask yourself, is my organization's work force diverse and is this diversity recognized and valued? Do people simply have a seat at the table or are they really part of the conversation and decision making? Do all employees feel valued and engaged in my organization? Intersectionality describes the unique ways race, gender, class, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, ability, education, profession, social status, and other social and demographic identities come together to inform people's lived experiences. Intersectionality recognizes that so-called identity markers create a complex conversion of disadvantage. It shows that some individuals may be marginalized because of an addition of several characteristics. For instance, women above the age of 45 or young men from rural areas or a certain ethnic group. You all know the proverb if you want to go fast, you go alone. If you want to go far, go together. Science tells us that a diverse group of people in which different characteristics are honored and valued contribute to more innovative and resilient organizations. This is because of collective intelligence. Collective intelligence is a shared or group intelligence that emerges from the collaboration of several individuals. Put around the table a group of people of the same age, the same sex, the same social background who graduated from the same university and have a similar professional experience and ask them to come up with innovative ideas and solutions to solve a problem or address a crisis. Now, put around the table a diverse group of people. Imagine how the different work and life experience, education, et cetera will create a more creative and rich conversation to solve the same problem. Gender equality, diversity, and inclusion efforts often go hand in hand, and we encourage you to apply a thoughtful intersectional approach that recognizes multiple diversity dimensions of an organization's workforce when implementing any change intervention. So in this section about gender equality, we have seen that in 2020, women are more likely to be poor, hungry, illiterate, sick, and excluded from decision making than men. One in three women around the world are likely to be victims of gender based violence, GBV, in their lifetime. Gender equality does not improve naturally or spontaneously. It results from our collective behaviors, efforts, and decisions and can be reversed especially in times of crisis. Gender equality is about empowering both women and men to take over non-traditional roles to equally benefit from economic and social opportunities despite social norms assigned to genders. This also includes people with different gender identity and different sexual orientation. Gender equality efforts go hand in hand with diversity and inclusion efforts and requires an intersectional approach where all differences are recognized and valued. Now we're going to present the main barriers to gender equality that are gender stereotypes, gender bias, and discrimination. You will also reflect on how being a woman or a man has shaped your life and work experience. Let's start by gender stereotypes. We've already discussed gender norms. Gender norms are social constructs dictating how men and women should be and act. Gender stereotypes are simplistic generalizations about the gender attributes, difference and roles of women and men. Examples of gender stereotypes are women [INAUDIBLE] and are more caring that men. Women are the weak sex or men are competitive and violent. Think about how many movies convey stereotypes. Men are violent and aggressive characters will kill people, while women are portrayed as fragile characters who need to be protected and rescued by a man. Our culture and our environment constantly reinforces stereotypes. It is therefore important that we progressively identify the gender stereotypes around us. Can you give more examples of gender stereotypes? Please pause the video and take a minute to answer the following questions. What are the adjectives usually associated with women and men? Give three adjectives for women are and three adjectives for men are. Think about what you hear around you from your friends, your family, or at work. Thank you for doing this exercise. I guess you did not find it too difficult. You may have thought of adjectives such as women are easily influenced, submissive, passive, home oriented, easily hurt emotionally, indecisive, talkative, gentle, sensitive to others' feelings, very desirous of security, cries a lot, emotional, verbal, kind, tactful, nurturing. Now, do you think that all women are like that? Or do you think that these are mere generalizations? Do you know women who are not home oriented, who are not passive? Now let's see what adjectives are usually associated with men. Maybe you thought of adjectives like aggressive, independent, not easily influenced, dominant, active, not easily hurt emotionally, decisive, not talkative, tough, not sensitive to others feelings, rarely cries, logical, analytical, cruel, blunt, not nurturing. If you look at these lists, you can see gender stereotypes put women in a situation where the emotions are problematic. Women are too emotional. While men are supposed to not express their emotions. Men don't cry. Do you agree that both women and men have emotions, because they're all humans, after all, and that all individuals should increase their emotional intelligence? A new term for you, perhaps. Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify, manage, and express one's own emotions as well as identifying and managing the emotions of others. It's a key component of quality leadership. Gender stereotypes are strengthened by society, by dominant patriarchal traditions, and by commercial interests. But [INAUDIBLE] often also contributes to maintaining gender stereotypes. We should be careful not to contribute to strengthening such gender stereotypes ourselves. For example, if your organization recruits more women, don't expect those women to bring more femininity traits like kindness or cooperation. These are simply gender stereotypes. Remember, the women are all different from each other. Women may have experienced similar life experiences because of the roles assigned to them by society, and they may demonstrate more attention to others because they know what it means to be put in this disadvantaged situation. But what really matters for your organization is a difference in perspective. Life experience, backgrounds, education, age, and all that, that individuals, female and male, can bring. And that is what will create collective intelligence and success for your team and your organization. After gender stereotypes, let's see why gender bias and discrimination are also barriers to gender equality. Gender bias is when we make decisions based on gender. This usually results in favoring one gender over the other, which in practice often means that decisions are favoring men and boys over women and girls. For example, during a recruitment interview, a female candidate is asked if she's planning to have a child soon. The male candidate is not asked that same question. Asking the question, was the female candidate in a disadvantaged situation? Well, she has to justify herself. You expect that if she has a child, she will take care of the baby rather than her partner and that she won't be able to do her work. Gender bias in this situation results in selecting the woman only if she demonstrates other qualities that the male candidate does not have. The female candidate starts from a disadvantaged position simply because of her biological characteristics or sex and the social role assigned to her, her gender. Discrimination against girls and women is the result of gender bias. It means treating girls and women differently from boys and men in a way which prevents them from enjoying their rights even when their qualifications for the job are equal. Some sectors are male dominated because of discrimination against women. Some sectors are women dominated, like care work. For example, most nurses are women, even if this is changing a bit. Care jobs are usually less valued by society. They offer poor work conditions and lower salaries than male dominated sectors. Prohibiting women from working at night is discriminatory. Not recruiting a pregnant woman it's discriminatory. Sex discrimination is very common, and you may have experienced it yourself or you may have witnessed it in your work environments. Have you noticed that women and men who do not behave according to gender stereotypes are sometimes criticized or discriminated against? A man in a leadership position who demonstrates empathy or emotion can be labeled as weak, and a woman who shows leadership or is firm and assertive is usually considered bossy. Gender stereotypes and gender bias are the causes of discrimination. Another cause is gender blindness, a new concept, perhaps. So what is it? Gender blindness is when someone fails to recognize that the roles and responsibilities of men and boys and of women and girls in specific social, cultural, economic, and political context and backgrounds are assigned to them based on their gender position in society. Gender blindness maintains the status quo and will not help transform the unequal structures of gender relations. For instance, when someone says, we always treat women and men equally in our organization, we do not make any difference, this can be a sign of gender blindness. Has this person done the work of assessing and measuring the exact situation of women and men in the organization? For instance, looking at the distribution of women and men among decision making positions. Does he or she have measurable information about gender based salary gaps in the company? Or is he or she simply assuming there are no gender gaps in your organization because he or she has not really looked into it? Or perhaps he or she wishes or hopes it does not exist in the company. This is gender blindness. The same way racism is about discriminating people because of skin color, sexism is by discriminating people, especially women and girls, because of their sex. We all need to realize we have gender bias, and we should not feel guilty about it, but we should act in a responsible way and progressively treat people more equally, independent from the sex or any other identity trait. Please pause the video for a minute and look at the list that we created of the often heard biases and discrimination in companies and organizations when male staff is asked about women in corporate leadership and management positions. Do you think such ideas exist in your company? Now let's do another exercise. I would like to ask you a question. Imagine if you were born a different sex. Do you think your life would be different? Please take a moment to pause this video and reflect. If you're a woman, imagine for a minute that you were born a man. If you're a man, imagine that you were born a woman. Would your opportunities and achievements in life, at work be different? Would you behave differently with the persons of the other sex? Would you raise your children differently? Do you think you would work in the same field at the same position? What would be better or more challenging in your life? What decisions in your life would you have made differently? Now, please pause the video and take some time to reflect and write down your thoughts. I hope you enjoyed this time to reflect about yourself. Maybe you came to realize the challenges that women and men have to overcome because of social norms assigned to them. Maybe you discover that your life would be very different. Maybe you even felt that you would not like to be born the other sex. Maybe you've also realized that because of your sex, you are prevented from doing certain things that are important to you, like spending more time with your family, less time at work, or wanted to have a different career in a different field. Remember that gender equality is about offering both men and women the opportunity of going beyond traditional roles that society assigned to their gender. It is about having a fulfilling life and contributing to happier communities, organizations, and societies. So maybe it's time to follow some of your dreams. In this section, we have seen that gender stereotypes, gender bias, and discriminations are the main obstacles to equal rights and opportunities for women and men. Gender blindness prevents us from addressing our gender bias. The simple exercise of imagining that we were born a different sex reduces gender blindness and raises our awareness. In this section, we want to explore solutions to increase gender equality. Proven solutions exist that bring benefits to female and male individuals as well as organizations and societies. The first solution to improve gender equality in the long run is to implement gender equitable interventions. But what is the difference between gender equity and gender equality? What does this picture tell us? On the left side, you can see three characters trying to look at the game through a fence. The character on the left has the right size to see the game. The second one can barely see the game, and the third character in the wheelchair cannot see anything. As you can see, all three characters have a small box that they can use to watch the game. The character on the left doesn't need it. The second could not see anything without the box. The third character can simply not use it. This scene on the left describes what equality means, what happens when we treat different people equally. But as you can see, treating everybody the same way, they all receive a box to watch the game, results into people not having the same access to the game simply because the box doesn't take into consideration their individual size and physical condition. Equity is different. It is when you give people what they need to enjoy the same opportunities as others. Equity is more focused on the end result. Do people have what they need to succeed? Gender equity will help us achieve gender equality. The right side of the picture shows what equity looks like. People are different and are given the exact support they need to enjoy the same end result. They are all watching the game together. You can see that the character in the wheelchair is using a ramp, while the character in the middle stands on a box, and the character on the left doesn't need any box at all. If women are put by social norms, gender bias, and stereotypes in a place where they are discriminated against and can't enjoy the same opportunities as men, what is the solution? Shall they be excluded from the game? Is the solution to treat them exactly like men? Remember what we said about gender blindness. Sometimes when we think we treat everybody equally, we are actually not seeing the very unequal situations where people find themselves. Or is the solution equity, where a woman will be provided with what they need to succeed? In the workplace, what would be the equivalent of the box or the ramp? It is gender equitable measures like quotas in recruitment, the target of having 50% of women in the workforce, the target of having 50% of women in leadership positions or technical positions, et cetera. A gender equitable measure can also be a mentoring program for talented women where they will be trained, coached, and supported in their career. Men can feel excluded from some gender equitable initiatives, but a more gender sensitive work environment actually benefits all employees, both male and female. For example, the work life balance policy or better safety rules are good for both male and female employees. We need gender equitable interventions. Quotas, targets, specific programs for women to achieve gender equality. And gender equality is good for everybody, both men and women. This picture is another way to illustrate that gender equity is necessary to achieve gender equality. As you can see, both the woman and the man are performing technical tasks on the electric pole. But to achieve this equal situation, equity was necessary. The woman who is slightly shorter than the man is standing on the longer ladder. Without this ladder that represents equity interventions, the woman could not perform her tasks. Thanks to gender equity, gender equality becomes possible. We have just seen that gender equitable interventions are a great tool to achieve gender equality. Now we're going to present what applying the gender lens in decision making means. The gender perspective or gender lens is a focus that brings a framework of analysis in order to assess how women and men affect and are affected differently by policies, programs, projects, and activities. It enables recognition that relationships between women and men can vary depending on the context. A gender perspective takes into account gender roles, social and economic relationships and needs, access to resources, and other constraints and opportunities imposed by society or culture, age, religion, and/or ethnicity on both women and men. If you want to apply the gender lens, it is very simple. All you need to do is to ask yourself the following question before taking any decision. Have I or have we considered how this decision, policy, initiative, program is actually going to affect women and men differently based on information about their different needs and challenges? As you can see in the picture, the gender lens will bring you a clearer view of equality, diversity, and inclusion matters. It will help you address them better. How could we apply the gender lens? Let's work together on an example. You see, the technical staff of your organization need some training. And you want to increase the training budget for technical department [INAUDIBLE]. Situation is that 95% of the technical department staff are men. Women represent 20% of the organization's workforce, and most of them work on administrative and customer relations positions. Before making the decision of increasing the technical department's training budgets, try to apply the gender lens. Please pause this video and ask yourself these questions. What effects could this decision potentially have on the female and the male staff in my organization? Could it reinforce gender inequalities in my organization? How can I apply the gender lens and make a decision that will actually address technical staff training needs and gender gaps in my organization? What decision won't reinforce existing gender gaps in my organization and may even contribute to reduce them? Thank you for trying to apply the gender lens to this decision. You may have considered that men are overrepresented in technical departments. This means that your decision of increasing the training budget will actually benefit men more than women in the company. And we know that training is key in career opportunities and promotions. You have applied the gender lens and seen the different situation of women and men in the company. Now, what can you do about it? Are you sure that the training you want to create for technical staff are adapted to female technical staff availabilities and schedule and the fact that they may have more family responsibilities than men? Have you considered identifying training needs among non-technical departments where women are overrepresented, like customer relations? As you can see, applying the gender lens is about anticipating the consequences of our decisions on women and men. There is no perfect decision. With applying the gender lens, make sure a leader that anticipates the consequences of [INAUDIBLE], a leader who contributes to the solution instead of reinforcing the problem. What does it mean when we say engaging men in gender equality, equity, and justice? From the earlier sections, we have learned that everyone is gendered, and hence that promoting gender equality and equity is not just the responsibility of women but of everyone. We also learned that patriarchal traditions place men in positions of power. This means they must play a key role in transformation of unequal gender relations. Given the position of power sanctioned for so long by traditions, we can expect that many men in your companies may have anxieties and fears about all this gender equality work. They may even resist it. So the question for many men will be, gender equality, what's in it for men? The simplest response, as we already discussed before, is that patriarchal traditions are also harmful for men, locking them in straitjackets of gender stereotypes, also limiting their opportunities, even if they often do not recognize this negative effect on their own lives. Hence addressing gender stereotypes and transforming inequalities benefits not just women but men as well. To make headway, in a gender equality program, men must be engaged and their fierce resistance must be understood and subsequently addressed. We must be clear. There is no simple solution to gender inequality, bias, and gender based discrimination. A number of steps have shown to be a condition for success. It needs acknowledgment from the entire company that there is a gender inequality and addressing any existing gender blindness. Subsequently, [INAUDIBLE] these commitments and support at all levels of the company, starting from the top management and leadership. There is no quick solution. It needs time. And it is vitally important to recognize and deal with resistance and existing fears and anxieties. As you can see in this picture, the role of men in gender equality is to contribute to a more equal distribution of roles and responsibilities at home and at work. This result in happier and more harmonious relations between women and men. We can specify the roles of male leaders [INAUDIBLE]. Listening to both male and female staff to understand the existing bias and anxieties, but also the opportunities they see. Understanding that the work culture and practice will require changes to welcome female staff in different positions. Accepting that women will not feel welcome to the company if they only answer on the unchanged terms of a male and masculine culture. And understanding what adaptations are required in policies, practices, and facilities. Reviewing and analyzing the prevailing recruitment policies and job conditions and hence the career opportunities for women and for men. This needs to be followed by a company wide orientation of female staff and male staff that a company culture change is needed. Subsequently, the HR departments need to facilitate the appropriate advertising, recruitment processes, training, and coaching. As you can see, gender equality is a win for all, both for men and woman. For countries and organizations, the equal involvement of women in the workplace contributes to meaningful returns on investment. And it is associated with several benefits that we would like to present now. The first one is an improved national productivity and economic growth. Excluding women from the workforce leads to inefficient economies, unequal growth, and missed opportunities for development. When women are paid equally, access the workplace equally, and can create companies and businesses freely they create wealth and economic growth. Resilient workplaces and national economies that can withstand shocks. Companies with gender diverse boards outperform those with no women in terms of share price performance during times of crisis or volatility. Companies with greater gender diversity are better able to recruit and retain top talent. Increased profitability and organizational performance. The top 25% of companies in male dominated industries that have the most gender diverse executive leadership teams are 47% more profitable than those in the bottom 25%. And hence, organizational reputation and ability to attract talent and retain employees. Companies with stronger gender inclusion have improved employee satisfaction and reduced employee turnover and absenteeism. Sustainable development outcomes. Studies show that women who are economically empowered are more likely to invest their money back into the family, spending money on children's nutrition, health, clothing, and education. This generates positive sustainable development outcomes. Innovation. Inclusive business cultures lead to 60% increase in creativity, innovation, and openness and 38% better assessment of consumer demand. The reason is not that women inherently bring certain qualities. Remember what we presented on gender stereotypes. It is because as individuals, they bring a different life and work experience that shaped their approach to challenges. Their contribution improves the team's collective intelligence, creativity, and innovation the same way age diversity or ethnic diversity improves collective intelligence. Also most women bring a specific attention to women's needs and challenges within the company. They tend to apply more frequently the gender perspective or gender lens to their decision making, which results in both female and male staff increased performance and well being. Gender equality also has great benefits in times of crisis. In times of crisis, the risk of layoff is bigger for women than men. And attention to gender equality, diversity, and inclusion may recede as a strategic priority for organizations. But the reality is that companies who do not let up on their gender equality, diversity, and inclusion efforts bounce back from recessions best. In 2019, the study reviewed publicly traded companies before, during, and after the 2009 Great Recession. The study found that the financials of companies that maintained a diverse and inclusive environment flourished while those that didn't saw precipitous declines. It is in the business interest of companies to maintain gender equality and diversity as a priority for increasing resilience to prepare for the challenges of the future. In this section, we looked at three important solutions to improving gender equality. In your company, you need to initiate and develop gender equitable initiatives. In preparation for any decision in a company on project and otherwise, you may need to apply a gender lens. Men must be engaged as allies, role models, and champions of gender equality. Now, we would like you to reflect on the following questions to build your own vision of what your own life, your country, and the world will look like when gender equality is achieved. As you know, every journey starts with the vision of where we want to go. We all need to build this vision of what a gender equal world looks like to make sure we are moving forward in the right direction and will actually get there. So please pause this video and reflect on the following questions. Imagine that you wake up one day and that your country has achieved perfect gender equality. Do you have different opportunities as an individual? Do you feel safer? Do you feel your life is more balanced and fulfilling? Do your children, if you have any, have different opportunities? Imagine that no woman in your community ever experienced gender based violence. What does it change for them, their family, your community, your country? How different is your couple and family life now that relations are equal between men and women? Think about the politics in your country. How has it changed now that there are as many female as male political leaders? Is your country doing better? How has your country developed from a human, social, cultural, economic, and environmental perspective? Thanks for building your vision of a gender equal world. Your answers to those questions are very personal, and there are no good or bad answers. Here is a representation of a gender equal world and society. The illustration was created by United Nations women. As you can see, in this society, women are not discriminated anymore and have access to more life and work opportunities. Women and men have financial autonomy and equal access to property and resources. Gender based violence doesn't exist anymore. Women and men live happier lives where family responsibilities are shared among equal partners. Both women and men can become political, religious, cultural, intellectual, and economic leaders depending on their interests, talents, and aspirations. Individuals contribute to collective well being, developing their talents and aspirations. Countries become more resilient to crises, develop quicker, have less inequalities, and become more sustainable socially, economically, and environmentally. We're almost at the end of this webinar, but before we conclude, I would like you to reflect on two last questions. This will help you summarize what we have learned during the webinar. The first question is, what facts or statistics illustrate gender inequalities and the disadvantaged situation of women globally? Please pause the video and take some notes to answer the question. Here are some facts that illustrate gender inequalities globally. In 2020, women are more likely than men to be poor, hungry, and illiterate, sick, and excluded from decision making. 60% of the world's chronically hungry are women and girls. 2/3 of all children denied school are girls. And 75% of the world's 876 million illiterate adults are women. One in three women around the world are likely to be victims of gender based violence in their lifetime. The second question is, imagine that a colleague or friend says, there is no discrimination against woman in our company. Men and women are treated equally. Why should we have initiatives that benefit women only? What will you answer to him or her? Please pause the video and take some notes to see what you would answer to this person. Here are a few things that you can answer to this person. For example, sometimes we assume there is no discrimination nor inequality when we actually don't have proper facts nor statistics to support this assumption. For example, has your organization conducted a salary gap analysis to make sure there is no salary gap between men and women in the same position? Is gender based violence and sexual harassment monitored by the organization or do we simply assume it doesn't exist because it doesn't get reported? Are there as many women as men that are promoted to upper positions every year? Because global statistics show that discrimination and gender based violence in the workplace affect women more than men, it is very necessary to monitor gender inequalities in every organization and provide women with the specific supports they need to be safe and to develop their full potential. If we don't want to maintain the status quo, gender inequalities need to be addressed through specific and targeted interventions. Thanks for answering the two questions. If you would like to read more about gender equality, we highly recommend you United Nation's women website. You will find many resources, including free online trainings. Thanks a lot for joining this webinar, and we hope to see you soon in USAID Engendering Utilities activities.

Last updated: November 17, 2022

More Videos