Gender inequity and prejudice usually stems from bias a person forms based on experience. Every so often, we hear, observe, or read about issues associated with gender prejudice, and the extent that it humiliates not only the victims, but also their beloved ones. The victims are tired and are articulating their frustration and sense of oppression in many ways. They are crying out loud and saying, “We are no longer able to tolerate inequity just because we are females.” Their demand for equality and social justice calls for public and private actions to finally address this perennial problem. To that, I offer two strategies – policies and training initiative that will reduce and ultimately eradicate gender inequality in our society.
First, organizations, regardless of whether they are public or private, must include policies that address the issues of gender inequity in their mission statements. The policies must unequivocally state: equal pay for equal work; and violence toward women will not be tolerated, and no more preference on who gets promoted on the basis of gender. Similar statements build partnerships consisting of men and women of good will that fight all kinds of gender inequity regardless of their origin.
Second, organizations, regardless of whether they are public or private, must provide regular training on gender responsive practices. The training must inform workers of the issues and behavior associated with gender equity. The policies and expected practices should be a guide for regular workshops, and provide assessment metrics designed to measure improvements that will serve as a basis for further training.
In the envisioned regular workshops, the objectives and the outcome must be clearly defined and concisely stated. For example:
By the end of each training session, participants will:
- Define gender inequity in the context of their work, home and their communities.
- Understand the organization’s policies, procedures, and efforts necessary to provide equal opportunities to all regardless of one’s gender.
- Explore and analyze individual perspectives on gender equity.
- Encourage discussion followed by debriefs on acceptable and unacceptable behavior.
- Develop handouts on gender responsive practices that are consistent with equality, social justice for all and that support company mission.
In conclusion, I believe that the only way to tackle the gender inequity that is clearly ubiquitous in our society is to employ more aggressive and comprehensive policies that address gender equity issues in the mission statement. In addition, cultivate a culture of effective communication that promotes mutual respect and harmonious relationships. Finally, organizational leadership must commit to continuously, and on a regular basis, train employees regarding issues related to gender equity. With open exchange of ideas, perhaps participants will begin to see gender equity in its complex forms, not just from their individual perspectives.
Finally, with open exchange, participants will have a better understanding of issues gender inequity and ultimately, benefit from the huge advantage of inclusivity in the work place.
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