Sometimes it is good to “pretend” you know what you are doing until this attitude becomes a reality and you feel confident enough with your knowledge and expertise but, when it comes to equality, it is actually the opposite.
The hardest thing about norms is to find them and become aware that they exist. Norms tend to be invisible until someone breaks them. To see what norms are relevant in your organization, try asking yourself these questions:
Norm criticism is not about being against norms. Its aim is to question them. Think about it like literature criticism. Literature criticism isn’t against literature. It analyses it. Norm criticism asks: what norms do we want? Is a particular norm necessary? What happens if webreak it? Who is it including and excluding and what are the effects?
When the rest of the world is asking what does Finland do right due to Pisa, in Finland we continue to be very keen to discuss the “poor” boys and how to help them. There is not one solution as there are too many explanations why it looks like this. A lot of teachers in the schools also acknowledge that it is not a single question about boys and girls, but about different boys and girls being very successful or less successful in school. Factors as class, mother tongue or geographical location are more visible on the field, but they are still strongly connected with the question of gender.
Gender budgeting is often used for mapping the distribution of resources in an organization. The principle is at first glance quite simple: how much money goes to which post in the budget, and how many women/men is taking part of this.
This spring, the Equality Journey has been widening it’s horizons even more. This Spring, I (Christina) was invited first to Colombia to share my knowledge on statistics and equality analyzes. I brought, of course, the Equality Journey. Later, in a trainee program of East African ‘districts’ (municipalities in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia).
This week the Equality Journey’s core team: Christina, Laura and Malin-, was united at the European CEMR Conference in Bilbao, Spain. The CEMR is the Council of European Municipalities and Regions and they promote gender equality at local level through the Charter on Equality of Women and Men in Local Life. After three days, what are our general reflections?
One of our customers asked us to analyze their web page from a gender perspective. As we consider it more important and sustainable to involve and train the staff responsible for updating the web page, than to have an outsider doing the work and leaving no competence behind for future updates, we suggested two Equality Journey workshops with their web team.
Yes, yes, we know gender equality is important and a matter of social justice. Actually, we believe than women are as worthy members of society as men and there should not be any discrimination against them. I totally support that and believe in equal rights and equal opportunities. And I think I treat women and men with the same respect, I don’t consider myself sexist or anything like that. But, how can I be sure? What does it mean to promote gender equality?
What can you do when you want to start working with equality in your organization but aren´t quite sure where to begin? How can you find out what are the key questions in your field? How can you know how gender equality relates to your work? You may know that the information is out there somewhere, but how do you do to collect it?
Oh, yes, it’s a matter of justice, it’s a matter of quality, it’s a matter of employment branding, using resources effectively and it can be a part of corporate responsibility. It’s quite easy to find general arguments for why equality work is important. However you also need to ask what does it or could it mean for our organization as a part of our values and practices?
Working with change management during the last 10 years one has been able to see a pattern of which elements are needed to ensure the possibility for change. Working particular with equality we have developed four steps for change that is always present in our work.