Commissioned by Matrix, Timeline Consultancy delivered a workshop on “Promoting Gender Equality in the Workplace” for Matrix’s suppliers in China. There were nine factories participating with attendees from a range of backgrounds including business owners, HR and production managers. The purpose of the training included:
The purpose of the training included:
- To deepen understanding of gender equality in the workplace
- To establish and improve mechanisms for promoting gender equality
- To avoid or reduce labour disputes in this aspect, promote harmonious labour relations, and hence improve employee satisfaction and enterprise competitiveness
Held at one of our supplier’s conference rooms in Ningbo, the full day of training consisted of participants self-introduction/communications, a powerpoint lecture, case study examples, movie sharing, group discussion and presentation and finally a question and answer session.
The training contents included:
- Introduction of Guidelines on Promoting Gender Equality in the Workplace which was issued by the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) in February 2019.
- Analysis of the status of gender equality around the world: the UK ranked 15, China ranked 103 and Japan ranked 110.
- Analysis of how the working engagement of China female workers has been reduced since 1990 due to the employment impact of women workers being laid off and the Chinese 2nd-childbearing policy.
- Sharing of more cases of females being discriminated due to their poor competency of work, e.g: unfair working distribution with female employees being behind the male employees in career progression.
- The importance of facilitating gender equality.
- The root cause and cultural reasons behind cases of gender inequality.
- How to establish a mechanism for a positive gender balance in the factory.
- How to complete the management system of gender equality according to 6 modules: Employment, Career development, Wages, Childbearing, Work and family balance and violence and Sexual Harassment.
Each factory/supplier representative also presented their own ideas on how to establish the mechanism for gender equality in their own factory which included:
- Strengthening management awareness of gender equality
- Help workers in life to balance their work and family
- Provide dormitory for migrant parent workers
- Strengthen the training for workers on the topic of sexual harassment
- Appoint the responsible person to deal with grievance cases and make sure progress is feedback to workers
- Learn more about female workers’ feelings and ambitions
- Push a culture of gender equality to the whole enterprise
- Improve recruitment advertising to avoid in-direct discrimination
- Ensure a transparent worker grievance system and anonymous communication channels
On the whole, the participants were concentrated, willing to join the discussion and able to reflect on the deficiencies of their factories and the areas where they can improve.
In the first two hours of the training, the participants showed insufficient understanding of the topic of “gender equality”, believing that there was no gender inequality in their factories and that some jobs were supposed to be done by women or men.
As the case discussions and exercises went into depth, the participants gradually changed their awareness and realised that they needed to look at “gender equality” from multiple angles to see the whole picture and be able to recognise informal discrimination.
At the end of the training, the majority of the trainees reflected on the deficiencies of their factories’ employee grievance mechanism, admitting there was still great room for improvement in the factory and saying they would ” implement the training content after going back to the factory.”
This was the first time for all our suppliers and factory representatives joined together to attend this kind of group training and it was great to see that our suppliers can collaborate together to tackle the bigger topics such as gender equality. Although they had a certain understanding of this issue to begin with and raised their ideas and thoughts for their future goals, more time needs to be invested to develop a platform of true equality in the factories and influence all management and line workers.
We recommended that each factory makes up a milestone to establish the management mechanism of gender equality within a workable time frame including short term, medium-term and long-term goals and the Matrix Ethical Team will continue to help the factories fulfil their plans in the future.
Read about other China training initiatives carried out by Matrix in 2019:
or read our 2019 Update on Ethical Initiatives