Beyond Binaries: Highlights from Our Gender Responsiveness Training

29 Apr, 2024

In the landscape of modern workplaces, fostering an environment of inclusivity and understanding remains an important element of organisational success. Recently, our team underwent training to broaden our perspectives and enhance our commitment to gender responsiveness.

Donn Hasar and Sudharsana Kundu from Gender at Work Consultancy Pvt. limited led the training, bringing expertise and passion for genuine change. Donn opened the session with powerful remarks, emphasising the significance of understanding gender beyond binaries in today’s diverse work environment. "It’s not just about men or women; it’s about respecting all identities along the spectrum" Donn asserted.

A highlight of our training was the 'Privilege Walk' activity. This eye-opening experience demonstrated the starting points individuals have in life due to cultural, economic, social, and gender-related privileges. Participants lined up side-by-side, taking steps forward or backwards in response to a series of statements read by the trainers. This activity helped develop understanding and empathy among colleagues in a room full of shuffling feet.

The impact of the Privilege Walk prompted reflections from the team. "I never realised how many invisible advantages I carry with me every day. It’s something I’ve taken for granted," shared by one of our colleagues.

Post-activity, the trainers guided a discussion on practical steps towards creating a more gender-responsive workplace through an iceberg model of discussion. The session covered important topics like using inclusive language, understanding gender identity and expression, and strategies to combat unconscious biases. One of our colleagues shares their takeaway, saying "Gender responsiveness is about more than avoiding conflict and patriarchal mindsets—it’s about actively creating a space where everyone can thrive."

Following the "Gender at Work" training, there was another session to explore gender dynamics within our projects. The session was expertly led by Lena, with Shambhavi moderating the discussions and activities.

One of the highlights was introduction of the 'Reach, Benefit, and Empower' model. This framework is designed to guide our projects from a gender perspective, ensuring that our interventions are not only accessible (Reach) but also beneficial (Benefit) in equitable ways and, importantly, empowering (Empower) all genders.

Lena Korbar highlighted the progression needed within our approaches: "Being gender-sensitive is a good starting point, where we acknowledge gender differences and inequalities. However, being gender-responsive involves designing and implementing projects that understand these inequalities and aim to address them directly. Ultimately, the goal is to be gender-transformative, where our projects actively contribute to changing underlying social and power structures that perpetuate gender disparities."

As we continue on our journey towards inclusivity, it's imperative to remember that the path to equality is ongoing. It's about continuously striving for improvement. Every step forward, no matter how small, contributes to a more inclusive workplace culture.