Close to 500 civil servants have been exposed to gender training within recent years and there are plans to target private sector employees in the future.

Word of this has come from Programme Officer in the Bureau of Gender Affairs, Nalita Gajadhar, who said her department had not been very successful in getting the private sector to come on board, but it would intensify its efforts next year because gender training “is vital” for our country’s development.

“Gender mainstreaming is important to all. It is critical to management in terms of understanding how to run an organisation, recognising the various needs of men and women. When human resource persons are trained in gender, they are better able to analyse, for example, how a new policy will impact the employees in their institution.

“It also broadens the employers’ perspective so they move away from planning programmes and policies for individuals to planning for men and women who make up the society,” Mrs. Gajadhar stressed.

Gender mainstreaming is the process of integrating a gender perspective into all policies, programmes and activities. The Commonwealth Secretariat developed a Gender Management System (GMS) which is a holistic approach to gender mainstreaming. The GMS aims to bring about fundamental and lasting change in society as a whole by transforming the structures that create and perpetuate gender inequality.

In addition, most international agencies are demanding that governments pay special attention to gender equity and equality. The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the agencies of the United Nations have all recognised that there can be no real and sustainable development without gender equality.

The Bureau offers two two-day courses on Gender Awareness and Gender Analysis. Participants are first exposed to gender awareness where they learn the differences between sex and gender, femininity and masculinity and identify barriers and obstacles men and women face as they attempt to perform their multiple roles. Once they are successful in grasping the concepts, they then move on to gender analysis, where they learn the importance of incorporating gender into development policies and how to develop strategies that empower policy makers to integrate gender in national policies, plans and projects.

Mrs. Gajadhar described the gender training as an “awesome opportunity” for people to reflect on their personal lives, understand their own prejudices and the decisions they make and how they impact on their lives and the nation’s development.

She said course participants had reported that the information was very valuable and some expressed the view that more time should have been allotted to discuss the area of gender.

The Programme Officer added that in recent times the response from government ministries to the training had been good, with many of the workshops being over subscribed. She, however, lamented that there was a challenge recruiting men, noting that only a few signed up for the seminars.

The final workshops for the current financial year will be held during January and March 2009 and persons interested in learning about gender mainstreaming should contact the Bureau at 310-2105.

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