Training is a common tool for organizations seeking to change employee behaviors about gender issues at the individual, organizational, and wider social levels.
While an important task, changing outdated attitudes and behaviors requires counteracting a lifetime of social and cultural learning that has instilled a specific understanding of gender roles for many employees. In this case, pedagogies, or theories of learning, related to the natural learning patterns for adults can be leveraged to better facilitate behavior change around key gender ideas and assist in the unlearning of behavioral norms that perpetuate gender inequalities.
A strong example of this comes from iDE’s Bangladesh office who utilised an approach to staff training which leveraged Paolo Freire's Critical Pedagogy and approaches to adult education. iDE Bangladesh incorporated exercises of critical reflection for participants through observation and self reflection. This not only helped both male and female workers have a better understanding of key gender issues in the workplace, but helped them to identify changes that could be made to make their office more equitable.
After the training sessions, these changes were put into action, with cross-learning and informal discussion sessions between provincial office staff, the creation of a mentorship programme for women leaders, and changes to meeting procedures which better facilitated equal sharing of ideas and information amongst participants.
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