Engagement is strategically important for organisations as numerous studies have proven its impact on the bottom-line and sustainability. ”A successful employee engagement strategy helps create a community at the workplace and not just a workforce. When employees are effectively and positively engaged with their organisation, they form an emotional connection with the company. This affects their attitude towards both their colleagues and the company’s clients and improves customer satisfaction and service levels” (www.opcuk.com).
In this edition of the LeMaSa Chronicle we highlight the role that team development can play in creating a more engaged workforce. We also look at the concept of Gender Mainstreaming.
I wish you success in building an optimal workforce. Enjoy the long holidays during April!
According to Unesco (www.unesco.org/women), Gender Mainstreaming was defined by the United Nations Economic and Social Council in 1997 as 'a strategy for making women's as well as men’s concerns and experiences an integral dimension of.the policies and programmes in all political, economic and societal spheres so that women and men benefit equally and inequality is not perpetuated.'
“Mainstreaming” differs from Employment Equity or Affirmative Action in the sense that it is a process, rather than a goal. The aim of the mainstreaming process is to bring what can be seen as marginal (e.g. the voice of women) into the core business and main decision-making processes of an organization. It is therefore a comprehensive strategy that considers and addresses the experiences, needs and priorities of men and women in all institutions, policies and programmes, throughout the programme cycle.
The main reasons why Gender Mainstreaming was introduced were:
§ Equality objectives institutions are changed;
§ Although they will always have a place, projects aimed solely at women do not necessarily promote male-female equality as they often do no address the underlying reasons for gender disparities
§ Equal treatme nt does not guarantee equal results.
Gender Mainstreaming is therefore more effective in terms of ensuring gender equality, as it does not rely on women-only programmes and institutions, but rather makes gender issues part of the main agenda. The process ensures that women and men have equitable access to resources (including opportunities and rewards). The intent is not that gender should become the predominant theme, nor the only category of analysis when implementing a project or programme, but that gender is one of the many other relevant cross-cutting issues taken into account, such as the environment and other diversity issues.
The process of Gender Mainstreaming is especially important when designing and implementing organisation design and development interventions. We often design and develop organisatons without considering the different roles, responsibilities, experiences and between women and men in relation to the issue being addressed.
Gender Mainstreaming is not a new concept, but in South Africa our focus was more on ensuring that we meet numeric targets with regards to female representation and we did not necessarily focus on bringing gender issues into the mainstream of programmes and institutions. By introducing the Gender Mainstreaming approach, we will ensure that institutions, policies, programmes and projects respond to the needs and interests of all members of society, and distribute benefits equitably between men and women.
Contact LeMaSa if you need any assistance with Gender Mainstreaming initiatives in your organization.