Why Is Gender Audit Methodology So Important?
As a gender consultant working closely with the private sector, it is really interesting to see how some concepts that are widespread among academic circles, non-governmental and intergovernmental organisations become popular in time. These sectors’ long guidelines, which are not attractive reads for the private sector, to be frank, have been kept out of sight of companies for many years and are now being adapted for the more straightforward, practical and result oriented approach of businesses. Workplace gender audit is definitely one of these trending concepts of recent years.
Gender audit and its methodology are not newly invented evaluation processes. Although there are different styles of gender audits, i.e. thematic or participatory, it was first introduced mainly by big international development organisations, and the ILO towards the end of 1990s. It is important to note that these toolkits were not initially developed for companies. Following the disruption of the #metoo movement and its impact on the private sector’s perception of the importance of gender equality, a better understanding developed around the current social climate and the need for the adaption of gender audit methodology to support and amplify this much needed transformation towards gender balance in the workplace.
Let’s have a closer look at gender audit and it’s methodology:
Why should your company undergo a gender audit?
A gender audit enables companies to take a picture of the gender related weaknesses and strengths in their workplace: How many women are in the executive level in your company? How are your departments gendered? – i.e. do women dominantly work for HR while men work in procurement or sales departments? What is the percentage of men having parental leave? Gender audits also serve to detect future opportunities and set realistic targets for short, mid and long term prospects, depending on the size, sector and operational capacity of your company. Some examples for such targets could be promoting 2 women to executive level in 2 years or introducing a gender sensitive policy to support more LGBTQ in the workplace.
Who can have it?
Any company of any size from any sector can undergo a gender audit. There are no restrictions or rules in terms of the number of employees. What is desired is that every single entity in the market get gender audited as soon as possible. It is critical to bear in mind that a gender audit needs strong and sustainable leadership to be accountable to reach the above mentioned gender mainstreaming targets in their organisation.
When does your company need a gender audit?
A common mistake is to wait until a crisis breaks out. Do not wait until your company encounters a gender-related problem like a sexual harassment case or a complaint based on gender pay gap. It is still a good option to have it in crisis times but this might diminish your credibility and reliability in the eyes of your employees, suppliers and clients. Have your workplace undergo a gender audit now and have your company regularly gender monitored!
Where can you have it?
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, ‘everywhere’ is the workplace now – your employee’s homes, digital spaces, Zoom meetings…This dramatic change has also shifted our understanding of workplace gender audit metrics and measurements. Due to these new realities, issues of work-life balance are increasingly becoming a top priority for your employees, with child care support, equality of parental duties, and mental wellbeing issues should now be included in your company’s priorities. This end of the artificial separation between the public and the private spheres, also means that your company should carefully assess, for instance, domestic violence issues during a gender audit. We at Gender Rise conduct result-oriented gender audits with an understanding that every company is unique. That is why our services are bespoke and based on thorough evaluation and quantitative and qualitative analysis of our clients’ gender metrics.