Breaking into traditionally male-dominated work requires careful consideration of past gender roles and how to address why these came about.
A frequent barrier to fulfilling gender mainstreaming goals shared by project participants was the sentiment of some workers or departments that gender mainstreaming did not make sense for them. This was particularly true of departments or roles which have traditionally male-dominated workforces, countries where gender mainstreaming is not culturally top-of-mind, and projects that did not deal directly with human participants. One participant put it this way:
I wouldn’t say we’ve gotten strong pushback from anyone, but it’s more like, “Well, this doesn’t apply to me.” And so it’s been a challenge for us. I think a good challenge to think about ways we can make the content connect with folks that may be working in programmatic areas where it hasn’t come up before.
The gender specialist team found that it was important to focus on changing attitudes through training and conversations that demonstrate areas of gender inequity most relevant to these groups. For example, a project coordinator who focused on projects primarily dealing with lab research and no human participants was asked to consider who was given credit for the research being done and the gender balance of the research team itself. This enabled some changes in the way the coordination team evaluated their projects and helped them to identify areas where gender mainstreaming was most relevant to them.
For more tools to help you onboard employees into gender mainstreaming, consider checking out the following solutions: