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March 7, 2021

Why gender sensitivity trainings are important?


March 7, 2021

Islamabad: “Aray yaar, she will get married, have a baby and leave this job. No reason to send her to the training.”

“Women should stay home and take care of the family.”

We all have heard comments like these or witnessed an action that negatively targets working women. Often it is unintentional — nevertheless, it is unacceptable.

The men who use micro-aggressions may mean no harm and may not even realise that they are making a sexist comment. However, insensitive comments can be exceedingly hurtful to girls and women, especially if they cannot do anything about it.

An example of a behavioral micro-aggression would be a manager ignoring a female employee’s feedback in a meeting. Another example of environmental insensitivity would be office furniture that makes it easier for anyone to walk up to close.

Depending on your perspective and how you’ve experienced gender, it may be blatantly obvious or very puzzling to understand the importance of gender sensitivity training.

Political circles, educational institutions, the corporate world, retail, and others are sadly unaware of sexism and other forms of discrimination rampant in their institutions. A handful of the organisations conduct gender sensitivity training.

What is gender sensitivity training and why should we care? Gender sensitivity training comprises lessons on the concept of gender, how different genders have varying perspectives, and the critical need to close the gap between genders to support equality. Depending on the training environment, it may focus more on gender discrimination in the workforce or a particular field. Or, it may emphasize the barriers certain genders face in higher education. After covering key concepts and terms on a broad scale, training on gender sensitivity will connect these macro-level notions to a specific group of people in an office, classroom, or other community.

This training is essential to incorporating various perspectives into our everyday lives. In the gender sensitivity workshops, participants learn other genders’ diverse perspectives and develop a more well-rounded comprehension of the human experience, which ultimately benefits everyone.

What are best practices? Here is what we have learned during several gender sensitivity workshops conducted so far.

Remember that everyone has some implicit bias. Because of this, it may be best to look for a third party to conduct training for you and your group. This way, you’ll receive a more objective evaluation and learning experience.

Be sure to incorporate teachings on gender identity and proper pronouns. These concepts may be entirely new for some. Therefore, they will help those unfamiliar not to offend anyone and better understand gender as a social construct.

Connecting gender sensitivity training to other necessary training like anti-bullying or anti-harassment will help build a cohesive curriculum.

It’s essential to define intersectionality within the context of your training. This will encourage the understanding that gender intersects with many social categories like race, class, etc.

A fundamental principle of gender sensitivity training is refraining from making assumptions about people’s gender and preferences. Make sure this is covered.

Do everything you can to hold participants’ attention. Conducting interactive exercises, calling on participants who haven’t spoken up, and similar practices will ensure people are in the best setting possible to soak up the information.

Finally, be sure to use relevant examples throughout the entire course. Connecting broad concepts to real-life instances allows participants to contextualize and concretely understand concepts.

Gender sensitivity training can make a huge impact. We know it because we can see the difference in language and attitudes before and after the workshop.