Gender sensitization refers to the concept of gender sensitivity, recognizing gender roles, identifying the privileges and the discrimination existing within genders and above all creating awareness regarding gender equality. Workplace is a very crucial place which allows an individual to learn, grow and prosper. The success and productivity of workplaces largely depend on how employees irrespective of their genders are treated there. In this context the relationship between male and female workers is vital to assess the overall development of a workplace. The workplace can be a telecommunication industry, media house, consultancy group, corporate firm, NGO or something else. Whatever the workplace is it is important to stress on the concept of gender sensitization within it. Trainings based on gender sensitization and awareness campaigns on gender equality are largely focused on creating a gender neutral work environment for all sexes especially women. Reports of gender discrimination and violence on women are still common everywhere even when it is the 21st century.
Experiences of Gender Inequality at workplace
Indra Nooyi, the former CEO of Pepsi Co secured rank on the Forbes list of 100 most powerful women of the world for many years. For once one might think that her prestigious workplace was extremely gender neutral and treated her with equality. But the truth was revealed by herself at Tina Brown’s Women in the World Summit in 2016 where she talked about the challenges coming her way and one of the most depressing challenges was facing discrimination from male colleagues. Nooyi’s experience describes the struggles of many other women who had to fight all the odds just for being women to survive in a male dominated work environment. Despite being capable and placed at equal positions sometimes it is also found that women employees are paid less than their male colleagues. The representation of female bosses and leaders in every industry is less than 50% on an average. Gender discrimination on the part of women is one of the main reasons behind this poor representation.
Unequal and discriminatory attitude towards women results in their insecurity, lack of confidence and low self-esteem. While some of them tend to fight against this injustice, some others become permanent objects of masculine aggression. It is worth mentioning that although women most of the times become victims of gender discrimination but the “less masculine” males and the gender non-binary people are also targeted violently by the perpetrators. Therefore trainings on gender sensitization along with implementation of strict rules against gender biasness are extremely important to be included in the curriculum of all the workplaces. Only this can lead to an inclusive work environment free from gender discrimination in the society.
Identifying specific areas
There should be objectives stated in a module of the training program aiming to achieve all of those. The program should be designed in such a way that should address all the possible challenges faced by the employees. It should be kept in mind that anyone can be a victim of gender discrimination or violence so the set of rules mentioned in the program should include voices of all the genders. Anonymous surveys among employees should be conducted so that they can come up with their grievances without any hesitation or fear. Monthly reports regarding status of work environment should be submitted to higher authorities. Above all most importantly there must be a cell or separate department in all the workplaces for listening to the problems of the employees and taking immediate action against the offenders. Considering the increasing crimes on women at workplaces legal provisions have also been established in the country. The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act 2013 protects every women employee working in India. This act criminalizes physical contact, demand or request for sexual favors, sexually favored remarks, showing pornography or any other non-consensual physical, verbal as well as non-verbal behavior which is sexual in nature. Despite the presence of this act it is unfortunate that incidents of sexual harassment of women are still reported. Only the presence of this act is not enough. Stringent actions should be taken so that the perpetrators are punished under this act. Moreover, there should be more acts and legal provisions to deal with harassments involving all the genders. Only then achieving goals of gender sensitization in a complete manner will be possible.