Mandatory training is often used by organizations who seek to provide a unified base-level knowledge of topics associated with gender mainstreaming such as policies for the prevention of sexual harassment or general knowledge of the differential experiences of women and men in the workplace.
The danger of mandatory training is the perception that they can become a box-ticking exercise with limited impact on changing attitudes and beliefs for workers who do not opt into the training voluntarily. As such, they should be used with caution. However, one participant in our research was surprised with the number of conversations that were sparked after a series of mandatory trainings around the social influences on gender expectations:
I had actually a surprising amount of dialogue with colleagues when it was rolled out, some of whom were like, “We want to ask a bit more about what you’re talking about where gender roles are culturally defined and not innate” and they were sort of feeling quite troubled about that.
The training instigated further conversations between gender specialists and those who were required to attend that helped them participate in discourses they typically were not having. The participant found that this raised the overall level of acceptance for gender mainstreaming issues and, at the least, provided a strong understanding of the organization's perspective on key gender issues to the wider staff.
Learn more about engaging employees and affecting attitude and behavior changes through gender mainstreaming training opportunities here: