Mainstreaming gender in organizational policies and practices

Mainstreaming gender in organizational policies and practices

Increase Share of Women in Leading Positions (Switzerland)
Organization MeteoSwiss
Country Switzerland
Description For leading positions, women are chosen over men given the same professional qualifications.   

Period

2012 - to date 
Issue Addressed The practice is aimed at increasing the share of women in leading positions, as well as in the total workforce.

Results / Impact

Since 2012, the proportion of women increased by 2.6% and stood at 30.2% of the overall workforce of MeteoSwiss as of 2016. The percentage of women in higher wage groups is at 20%.
Success Factors / Replicability 2.6%  

Limitations/

Challenges 
--
Sustainability --
Lessons Learned --

 

Supporting Parents (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)
Organization Met Office
Country United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Description

1. HR and Pay Policies supporting Maternity and adoption leave:
a. Pay: Met Office tops up the statutory pay to award full pay for the first six months of each maternity or adoption leave period. This is followed by three months statutory pay.

b. Shared parental leave: If both parents work at the Met Office, they can chose to take Shared Parental Leave. This allows parents to share up to 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of pay between them after the birth of their child.

c. Parental leave: This offers qualifying parents the right to take unpaid time off work to look after their child. Each parent is entitled to 18 weeks’ leave for each child, up to their 18th birthday. The maximum amount of parental leave each parent can take in a year is 4 weeks for each child.

d. Keeping in Touch Days (KITD): Parents can have up to 10 days during their maternity leave without loss of statutory maternity pay. Any work carried out on a day shall constitute a day's work for these purposes.

e. Flexible working options

  • Part-time (The contractual working hours per week are less than full-time hours)
  • Job share, or job split (The duties of a full-time post are shared between two or more part-time employees.)
  • Annualised Hours/Term-time arrangements: The annual contractual hours are set but the employee’s weekly or monthly working hours vary. For example, an employee may work school term-time only so as to be able to be at home during the school holidays.
  • Flexi-time: Involves a variable work pattern. The weekly contractual hours remain the same but employees may work more than their appointed hours over a period and take time off later, or work fewer hours and make the time up at a later date.
  • Compressed hours: Remain full time whilst working fewer days, usually resulting in a 4 day week or 9 day fortnight. 

f. Home working: Either occasional, on an ad hoc basis, through informal approval from manager. Or a formally agreed regular arrangement, either partial or full time. 

2. Internal Parenting network: Staff have set up a parenting network group. This includes:

  • Online (Yammer) social media group with 145 members
  • Occasional meetings
  • Buddy scheme

Period

1a. At least 14 years; 1b. 3 years; 1c. unknown; 1d. At least 14 years; 1e. unknown; 1f. At least 10 years, but supported by improvements in tools to facilitate easier remote working over the last 2 years, including the introduction of iphones, ipads, improved remote access for laptops and the roll-out of Windows 365. 2. 4 years

Issue Addressed

Supporting and retaining staff who choose to have children.

Results / Impact

1a. Pay: Instrumental in allowing parents to take a full year of maternity leave. 
1b. Shared leave: Allows both partners to choose their work – life balance.
1c. Parental leave: Allows parents to spend more time with their child and strike a better balance between work and family commitments.
1d. KITD: Staff feel more supported in returning to work after a significant period away. The return to work is done smoothly. 
1e and f. Flexible and home working: Balances the needs of the employee with that of the business. It can help to increase productivity, improve motivation, and attract and retain talent. 

“My husband and I are both at the Met Office and have both worked part time (4 days per week) since I returned to work in 2011 after our eldest child was born, having one day each per week with the children at home. Our requests for part-time working were supported by our managers right from the start. Like many Met Office staff, we both have an informal arrangement to work flexibly and have always found our managers to be enormously supportive and considerate of our needs. My husband and I frequently swap our non-working days, both for personal and work reasons, and we regularly juggle our working hours in order to fit around our children’s needs, for example, to attend sporting and musical events at school, or to take our children to medical appointments. We often work from home as part of this flexible working, which enables us to make up or anticipate missed work hours more easily, and achieve a better work-life balance in general. We find this flexible working has a very positive impact on our lives, as it allows us to save annual leave for family holidays and days out, and enables us to have a proper, extended break from work and quality time with our children.“ Met Office parent

2. Encourages an atmosphere of positivity across the Met Office towards working parents - whether expecting or returning to work - mums, dads and anyone with childcare responsibilities: 

  • by demonstrating different ways to balance work and parenting;
  • by running a buddy scheme for employees with childcare responsibilities or expecting children; and
  • through the provision of information and support for working parents.

“I joined the Met Office Parenting Network in 2013, and mentored two new mothers, which I found both rewarding and beneficial for my own development. I was allocated time for this work in my job plan and my efforts were acknowledged by my manager."

Success Factors / Replicability

1. Executive level support and approval. Culture of supporting working parents.

2. Staff with the drive and supportive managers to give them time to set the group up and be part of it.

Limitations / Challenges 

1. One of numerous HR priorities.

2. Motivated staff with the drive to set this up. 
Sustainability

1. Ongoing, agreed HR policies.

2. Ongoing as long as staff find it useful and so have the drive to keep it going.
Lessons Learned 1. The policy and processes can be complex, so good, clear communications to staff, with HR support are needed. 

 

Strategic Plan on Women's Development (Thailand)
Organization Thai Meteorological Department 
Country Thailand
Description

The Strategic Pan on Women's Development of the Thai Meteorological Department (2017-2020) is a set of actions in advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women.The main focus area is on enhancing the number of female meteorologists attending international meetins and trainings. Promoting female meteorlogists to the executive level is another major area. 

Period

2017-2020

Issue Addressed

Gender equality is the ultimate objective, with women enjoying better life and security with modern living. It further aims at creating equal training opportunities for women to enter into the executive level workforce and retain their positions.

Results / Impact

1. More women attended meetings and workshops in the past years. For example, the Thai Meteorological Department has 426 women on its payroll, of which 313 attended workshops, trainings and activities within and outside the country.

2. More women are now in management or executive positions. For example, 5 out of the 17 executives of the Thai Meteorological Department are female, including the Director of Bureaus and the Director of Meteorological Centers. 

Success Factors / Replicability

Numbers of female meteorologists who attended meetings and trainings

Limitations / Challenges 

Budget constraints

Sustainability

1. Proper support in finanical and human resources management for women and men.

2. Encouragement of skilled female workers to pursue and attain management positions via training opportunities.

Lessons Learned Encouragement of highly educated females to enter the workforce. Training on gender issues.

 

Participatory Approach to Raising Awareness on Gender Equality (Nigeria)
Organization Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet)
Country Nigeria
Description

Setting up a gender committee with membership drawn from each of the Agency's departments/units for compilation of gender statistics and sensitization of senior managers on the need for gender balance in all departmental activities.

Period

Since 2012. Earlier, the statistics were compiled by the gender focal point and a few staff members.

Issue Addressed

Th practice aimed to facilitate NiMet's participation in gender-related programmes and activities, such as completion of WMO gender questionnaires, representing the WMO Sub-regional Office in Nigeria at the UN Gender Theme Group anchored by UN Women, and representing NiMet at the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs.

Results / Impact

Fairly effective as both the staff and management of the Agency now make some conscious efforts to ensure that both genders are given opportunities in training programmes and representations of the agency. 

Success Factors / Replicability

Support received from the Permanent Representative (PR) of Nigeria with WMO and the good performance of many of the female officers when nominated to represent the Agency.

Significant increase in number of female directors, heads of unit, as well as in the number of female delegates to meetings both within and outside Nigeria, especially in the past few years.

Incentives and penalties need to be put in place to encourage good performance and deter poor performance as well documentation of the good practices.  

Limitations / Challenges 

Subtle influence from "non-gender-friendly" cultural beliefs and opinions. Changes in departmental/unit's representatives and change in office locations, which resulted in loss of some records. 

Continuous resistance to efforts to adhere to unbiased gender criteria which consider staff performance only, regardless of sex.  

Sustainability

Elements that need to be put into place to ensure that the practice is institutionally sustainable include:

  • More support from the PR and commitment of the Committee members;
  • Funding/servicing of occassional meetings and programmes of the Committee;
  • The benefits outweigh the costs as shown from present statistics.
Lessons Learned

Usefulness of involving all stakeholders as each department/unit makes effort to be well represented. However, there may be a need to restrict the membership of the Gender Committee to professional staff only due to the following challenge.

Bringing both professionals and the administration/finance staff together worked well but as statistics of recent time shows, the non-meteorological staff (i.e. support staff) were found to outnumber the professionals whom they are supposed to service, which generated some negative impacts, such as reduced interest in the Committee's activities. 

 

Women's Recognition (Poland)
Organization Institute of Meteorology and Water Management - National Research Institute (IMGW-PIB)
Country Poland
Description

Traditionally, many women have been employed in the Institute of Meteorology and Water Management - National Research Institute (IMGW-PIB) since its establishment. 641 women and 765 men are currently employed, with women holding senior management positions. The representation of women in senior management is 54 while men account for 104. Women possess key managerial qualifications and posts. For example, Administrative Director - Deputy Director of IMGW-PIB, Director of the Maritime Branch in Gdynia, Operational Chief of Forecasting Services, Head of Climate Project, Heads of Synopticians. Female participation in training events and seminars is also significant. Some female staff hold doctorate and higher digrees and provide leadership in the workplace. They are fully appreciated for the unique qualities and abilities they bring to the Institute. Among them are scientists specialized in meteorology, hydrology and climatology. Several doctoral theses were defended at the Institute by women.The development and implementation of gender equality strategies are maintained through the recruitment, retention and promotion of women in the IMGW-PIB. The Institute aspires to having gender balance in the involvement of women and men in the generation and delivery of weather, hydrological and climate services. 

Period

This practice has been introduced at IMGW-PIB many years ago. 

Issue Addressed

--

Results / Impact

Women possess unique qualities and abilities which they bring to the workplace. Female leaders are creative and resourceful when completing tasks and other duties and responsibilities.

Success Factors / Replicability

Enhanced undertansding and awareness of women's skills, qualities and contribution to meteorology, hydrology and climate.

Limitations / Challenges 

There have not been any constraints in applying this practice.

Sustainability

--

Lessons Learned

It is worth striving towards gender parity at all levels and increased representation of women in senior management. 

 

Maternity and Parental Benefits (Canada)
Organization Meteorological Service of Canada (MSC)
Country Canada
Description

The objective of this practice is to offer benefits to biological mothers, including surrogate mothers, who cannot work because they are pregnant or have recently given birth. Parental benefits are offered to parents who are caring for a newborn or newly adopted child.

Period

In Canada, the Unemployment Insurance Act of 1940 introduced unemployment insurance to Canada, but it was another 30 years before the Act provided provisions for maternity leave. Starting in 1971, mothers with 20 or more insurable weeks could claim up to 15 weeks of benefits. 

Issue Addressed

The practice allows women to be eligible for the basic rate of benefits at 55% of their average insurable weekly earnings, up to a maximum amount. For the MSC's meteorologists, they may opt for maternity benefits of between 18 and 52 weeks. Further, with certain conditions being met, the maternity benefit can be topped up to 93% of the weekly rate of pay.

Results / Impact

This type of benefit is tremendously useful to the mother and her newborn child where child care and nurturing for the as much time within the first year is crutial.  From an organizational perspective, it creates an environment attractive for recruitment and retention. It enables women to start families and know that they have financial security while they are away and job security for when they return.

Success Factors / Replicability

Over time, the importance of maternity benefits, for the MSC, the Government of Canada and other employers has grown. Now, in order to compete as an employer of choice, these types of benefits are not only desirable, they are expected!

Limitations / Challenges 

There are, with anything else, conditions that must apply in order to receive certain benefits. For example, the employee must sign an agreement with the employer stating that following her return to work, she will work for a period equal to the period she was in receipt of maternity allowance. There are too many details to list here for these purposes however suffice it to say that the benefits strongly outweigh the limitations and constraints.

Sustainability

The sustainability for this good practice has already proven the test of time.  Childbirth is the oldest, natural and most life-changing element of any woman's life. Maternity benefits allow a new mother to have some financial security while taking the time to rear her newborn(s) during that crutial first year of life.

Lessons Learned

In order to maintain that employment advantage, employers must look to go above and beyond the minimum requirements for parental leave benefits. New fathers are also looking to share more in the early upbringing of their newborns and fathers are now being given benefits to allow them for some paid time to support the growing family during that formative time for baby.

 

Employment Equity (Canada)
Organization Meteorological Service of Canada (MSC)
Country Canada
Description

The objective of this practice is to maintain a representative workforce. This translates into a workplace that is accessible to all groups of employees such that employment equity groups find themselves welcomed and comfortable.

Period

The Employment Equity Policy was first introduced in the Government of Canada on October 6, 1994. It has been revised on July 1, 1999 and is still in effect with Departmental goals being considered over the years.

Issue Addressed

The practice is aimed at improving representation in four Employment Equity groups, namely: Women, Persons with Disabilities, Visible Minorities and Aboriginal Peoples.

Results / Impact

Ultimately, the policy has raised awareness of Employment Equity concerns and it has improved the statistical figures by Branch, Department and by the Federal Government by way of having a representative workforce within the Government of Canada.

Success Factors / Replicability

In order for something this encompassing to be pervasive throughout government or other large organizations, it is imperative that there be commitment to a detailed employment equity plan. The plan should focus on accountability, awareness, recruitment, retention and a positive workplace.

Limitations / Challenges 

There must be excellent communication with a strong vision related to this type of policy. For the group related to women, for example, there is a need for women to understand and appreciate the organization's state of representativeness when it comes to women and appreciate what the goal is for recruitment and retention.

Sustainability

This type of policy can only work when it is put into place from the top. It must have the support from senior management and it must have the buy-in from employees for this to work. There must be demonstration of advancement and improvement of the statistical figures over time and there should be support to Employment Equity groups, like women, to learn how to help improve those numbers as well.

Lessons Learned

A lesson from this good practice is that there must be support from the most senior ranks of any organization to put this type of policy into place for the long-term. There must also be demonstrated patience on the part of all employees and managers alike to see it through.

 

Training on Unconscious Bias (United States of America)
Organization NOAA/NWS
Country United States of America
Description

Providing unconscious bias training to NWS employees.

Period

July 2016-present

Issue Addressed

Practiced introduced via webinar and face-to-face training.  The unconscious bias training is designed to increase awareness, reduce implicit stereotypes about people, and improve workplace diversity.

Results / Impact

One of the biggest impacts has been self-awareness.  The effectiveness of this training program is evidenced by the positive survey responses presented to the trainers.

Success Factors / Replicability

Requirements for success are having a good message (presentation) that is interesting, engages and educates the intended audience, and can be presented in multiple formats such as webinars, in person, or Google Hangouts.  

Limitations / Challenges 

N/A

Sustainability

Leadership must provide financial and moral support. 

Lessons Learned

The key takeaway is awareness training increases consciousness, which by extension decreases the likelihood of bias-based hiring practices.

What worked well is engaging the workforce at every level of authority in practical exercises that demonstrated how the unconscious mind operates and the consequences of biased hiring decisions on automatic pattern recognition. The practical exercises worked well because each person was able to experience personal awakening after participating in the unconscious bias training.

Gender Mainstreaming Website (United States of America)
Organization NOAA/NWS
Country United States of America
Description

Create and publish a website/webpage within the organization's web presence specifically on the topic of Gender Mainstreaming. The website to include general Gender Mainstreaming information (what, why, how-to) highlighting from Gender Mainstreaming activities, stories, and links to additional information and contacts.   

Period

March 2017-present

Issue Addressed

The practice was introduced as there was unfamiliarity with Gender Mainstreaming within the agency and among its stakeholders, and has the intent to be a one-stop resource of information on the topic. 

Results / Impact

This is a relatively new practice and is still just getting some traction in terms of attention.

Success Factors / Replicability

The website needs to have information that is both engaging and pertinent to the organization.

Limitations / Challenges 

There are no limitation beyond what is typical of any information webpage of the organization. 

Sustainability

The website needs attention more importantly in terms of currency and ensure continued usefulness and relevancy. 

Lessons Learned

The website needs to be highly publicized to attract attention. 

Gender Education (United States of America)
Organization NOAA/NWS
Country United States of America
Description

Prepare materials to educate the agency on Gender Mainstreaming principles and initiatives. Such materials are then used in various forms and forums (e.g. webinars, conference presentations, stakeholder briefings) to educate the organizational workforce on why gender mainstreaming principles are important to the organization, stakeholders, and the public served; and educate the workforce on means to implement gender mainstreaming principles within the organization.

Period

Jan 2015-present

Issue Addressed

The practice was introduced as there was unfamiliarity with Gender Mainstreaming within the agency and among its stakeholders. 

Results / Impact

One of the biggest effects has been awareness. While “Gender Equality” has been instilled within this agency and government for a great many years, “Gender Mainstreaming” was largely unknown. Education has been one of the most visible piece of the agency’s Gender Mainstreaming/Gender Equality efforts.This awareness has triggered additional attention focused on gender issues across the whole of the organization. This focus is leading to improved work situations for female employees and an improved reputation for the agency.      

Success Factors / Replicability

Requirements for success are having a good message (presentation) that interests, engages and educates the intended audience, and opportunity or availability of multiple forums.  

Limitations / Challenges 

The educational message needed to be kept in line with organizational policy and position, which is met by approval of executive leadership.

Sustainability

There is very little, if any, cost involved with this practice. Costs are largely travel costs for team members to events such as conferences; otherwise education can be done via webinar.

Lessons Learned

The education should be repeated as much as possible to multiple audiences. The education should include specific actions that can be taken in addition to conceptual information. 

Gender Mainstreaming Team (United States of America)
Organization NOAA/NWS
Country United States of America
Description

Identify a number of persons within the agency who possess subject matter expertise in both gender and a specialized related field such as Climate/Weather Services, Recruiting, Education, Social Science; and form a team of such people to identify gender mainstreaming initiatives within the organization and assist with the implementation of such.

Period

Nov 2014-present

Issue Addressed

The practice was introduced as the primary mechanism to instill broad gender mainstreaming practices within the agency to address both internal issues such as recruiting, retention and female empowerment, and external gender-sensitive weather services.

Results / Impact

One of the biggest effects has been awareness. While “Gender Equality” has been instilled within this agency and government for a great many years “Gender Mainstreaming” was largely unknown. Since a team was formed Gender Mainstreaming as both concept and principle are now being realized right alongside the agency’s gender equality efforts. Education has been the most visible piece of the team’s work. This awareness has triggered additional attention focused on gender issues across the whole of the organization. This focus is leading to improved work situations for female employees and an improved reputation for the agency. 

Success Factors / Replicability

The team should have broad reach across the organization with team members being from various offices; and the team should be strongly directly supported at executive levels at the organization ideally with an identified  gender champion at or near the top of the hierarchy. 

Limitations / Challenges 

There was some initial hurdles in fully sanctioning the team’s role, given that there were already agency efforts and personnel in place working on gender issues and gender equality. Management and the team had to figure out how to merge existing efforts and the new team's charge. These are no complementary efforts, not competing efforts with all involved in gender issues on the same page and working toward the same goals. 

Sustainability

There is very little, if any, cost involved with this practice. Costs are largely travel costs for team members to attend events such as conferences to present information or receive education; however that travel is minimal and not typically a necessity. The team is able to do the vast majority of its work using technical solutions in lieu of travel. The results of the work have benefit well and above cost.

Lessons Learned

What has worked well is the fact that team members represent multiple areas of expertise from various sectors within the organization. Because of the reach the team can instill initiatives at various locations within the organization. It has been especially helpful that the team's reach includes access to executive leadership. It has also been most beneficial that the full of the team is passionate about the work. It has worked best when the team has had one direct line of reporting; when that has become muddled at times it hampered the team.