Visible commitment and support from management and leaders
A visible and consistent commitment from all leaders and managers is critical to the success of a gender equality strategy. Gender equality initiatives must be driven from the top down, which requires role-modelling inclusive and equitable behaviours and practices.
It is to be expected that some leaders may have reservations regarding the practical implementation of gender equality initiatives. This may be a result of previous experiences in which women were unsuccessful in roles, or based on perceptions of women’s capacity to successfully perform in particular positions. It is important to recognise these concerns, while at the same time encouraging commitment from leaders and managers to collectively address the challenges and implement positive change.
Steps to encourage engagement and involvement from managers and leaders include:
- ensuring all leaders understand the business case and are able to advocate for why the organisation is committed to increasing gender equality
- holding leaders and managers accountable for role-modelling inclusive and equitable behaviours as well as supporting with the delivery of gender equality initiatives. Preferably this should be included as a part of performance goals.
- encouraging leaders to share their perceptions, previous experiences and questions
- seeking ongoing feedback from leaders regarding any areas for concern as well as opportunities for improvement, including obtaining input for how this can be addressed/ achieved
- ensuring that leaders and managers promptly address inappropriate behaviour and escalate issues as required.
Employers can support leaders through:
- providing training in managing and supporting an equitable and diverse workforce
- ensuring leaders are equipped with information on how to respond to any questions and concerns raised by employees
- being open to feedback from leaders and promptly addressing and responding to issues raised
- offering coaching to leaders around how to address questions and concerns.
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Questions for reflection: