Does your organization help workers to support gender equality and be #EachforEqual?
This year, the theme for International Women’s Day is #EachforEqual, which asks individuals to "challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations, and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively each one of us can help create a gender-equal world.”
This speaks to the need to recognize and fight bias and stereotypes in order to achieve a respectful and inclusive workplace. Readers will remember from Blog 36 that bias and stereotypes are developed early in our lives and are difficult to change, even when we recognize them. Organizations can also be affected through policies and processes that are based on bias and stereotypes that have become normal and accepted.
Historically, women have not worked in the trades due to bias and stereotypes and the resulting myths and other barriers about their suitability for trades work – not because of any inherent inability. This has resulted in policies and processes that unintentionally exclude women from recruitment and advancement.
However, correcting such policies and processes to achieve gender equality is a key component of a respectful and inclusive workplace and improves an organization’s financial performance.
If organizations want to succeed in creating and supporting a respectful and inclusive workplace and promote gender equality, it is not enough for upper-level management to be aware of the importance of gender equality for business success. Workers also need information about the benefits and best practices to support gender equality.
There are four best practices that should be included in a respectful and inclusive workplace initiative that will help organizations to achieve gender equality and workers to be #EachforEqual :
1. Organizations must develop and commit to respect and inclusion as a core value. It must be clearly stated, and provide the framework for every other policy and process, including gender equality, so that workers understand its importance. People are more motivated to support an initiative when they understand the purpose behind it.
2. Leaders must be unified and visible in their commitment to gender equality. For example, they should make statements about why they are committed to gender equality and attend events promoting gender equality. They must also encourage and support workers in their efforts to promote gender equality.
3. The organization must communicate its commitment to gender equality widely and through every communication channel. Workers need information on:
- the benefits of gender equality to the organization and society
- how individuals can support gender equality
- the myths and barriers that have prevented women from participating in trades work
- the impact of myths and barriers on tradeswomen’s lives
4. The organization’s training strategy must use multiple channels and methods to ensure that gender equality is not a separate, isolated initiative but is part of the organization’s core values of a respectful and inclusive workplace. The training should include opportunities for workers to understand their own bias, and help them to become allies through:
- online learning
- in-class discussion
- role playing
- case studies
These four best practices will support your organization’s respectful and inclusive workplace by helping workers to be #EachforEqual.
Organizations that want to help their workers to support gender equality should consider using the BuildForce Respectful Workplace Policy Framework and Implementation Guide. The Policy Framework provides the general principles to guide the development of policies such as gender equality. The Implementation Guide includes all of the above best practices to ensure that all policies are widely communicated and appropriate training is provided so that all workers have the knowledge to support gender equality and other policies necessary in a respectful and inclusive workplace.
What can an effective Respectful and Inclusive Workplace Program deliver?
- Become an employer of choice - attract, retain, and advance top talent from all sources of labour
- Unlock collaboration and innovation - create high-performing teams through diversity of thought and experience
- Build your brand - your organization will gain a competitive edge as a leader and innovator
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The BuildForce Canada Online Respectful and Inclusive Workplace Toolkit includes:
- the Respectful Workplace Online Self-Assessment Tool to assist organization leadership in assessing their current situation and identifying where they may need to make changes
- the Respectful Workplace Policy Framework and Implementation Guide to assist organizations in creating and implementing a policy that supports a respectful and inclusive workplace
- the Respectful Workplace Online Training Course to train workers on how to create and support a respectful and inclusive workplace
- the online course Introduction to Understanding Systemic Racism: A Guide for Leaders and Managers
All the resources you need to create and support a respectful and inclusive workplace!