Some Principles of Gender Analysis:
Implementing Gender Equality in Organizations
An analysis of gender equity policies in an organization and elsewhere has
resulted in the conclusion that, while no single defined set of principles
exists, the following are important elements of a conceptual framework:
1. Accountability.From a management point of view, accountability
tends to revolve around different processes. In a mature
equity culture, accountability for equity issues is not be singled out for
attention. However, the culture to date tolerated comments of the kind that "it
is someone else's responsibility" or "that's what the gender unit is for". Until
there is more mainstreaming of responsibilities accompanied by accountability,
only the committed few will fully carry out those responsibilities, and only
restricted outcomes will be possible. In order to overcome this difficulty, a
wider framework for gender equity responsibilities across an organization needs to be
established to promote stronger forms of accountability. It is also essential that staff in management and
supervisory roles accept responsibility for gender equity policies and practices
within their units.
2. Comparability.While there are no gender equity absolutes,
comparison is a strong mechanism to lift the performance of like institutions.
The benefit arises from sharing statistical data, policy and practices.The
adoption of this principle involves policy and best practice at other
organizations and comparative data analysed. Benchmarking with other organizations,
particularly in terms of staffing profiles, can be a valuable tool in assessing
progress in various areas. Gathering information on policy
and practice elsewhere is likely to assist, for instance, in identifying
successful ways of increasing the number of women on committees and enhancing
the career prospects of women.
3. Networking.The absence of an effective internal gender equity
network can result in two undesirable consequences. Firstly, inequities due to
lack of knowledge about opportunities can flourish and secondly, the
effectiveness of the system in drawing the organization's attention to such
inequities is diminished. Networking within the organization can therefore be
enhanced with the aim of furthering staff awareness, understanding of, and
commitment to, gender policies, principles and practice.This can include
an organization-wide information capture, the establishment of communications
mechanisms to ensure that the organization is aware of, and responsive to, the
needs of its staff, and grievance advice.
4. Cultural Values.This is probably the most important and
wide-ranging of the principles. By focussing on its cultural values, the
organization can have the opportunity to identify possible improvements. It is
only by addressing cultural values that the core business of the organization will
be seen from a equity standpoint. Policies, procedures and
education programs need to be developed, implemented on an integrated basis and
evaluated to promote workplace attitudes towards gender equity. Diverse issues
in relation to gender equity needs to be examined in consultation with
all staff and information on best practice promulgated.
One strategy can be to include gender equity in
the terms of reference of the organization's reviews.
5. Strategies.The four areas listed above constitute major focal
points for considering the health of the organization with regard to gender issues.
In Strategies, a fifth principle is added.This captures the
organization's commitment to developing knowledge and understanding of how the
system can be changed in order to meet overall equity objectives. Under this
members of the organization are empowered through knowledge of
existing strategies. New programs which identify and address inequalities,
special needs and the status of women in relation to employment at all levels
also need to be established and evaluated.
Source: The ANU Gender Equity Plan