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Gender Sensitivity and Safe Spaces: Having that Conversation in the Workplace

An individual in the workforce spends most of their time devoted to fulfilling tasks for their job. Whether it be commuting to work and back, putting in overtime, or even working from home. Your work environment is the space that provides you with livelihood, pays your bills, and supports you and your family. It is undoubtedly where you would want to feel at home and comfortable in your own skin. That is why it is vital to create a work environment that is open and accepting to all. A place free of judgment, where all feel respected. As such, to create an atmosphere like that, it is crucial to promote gender-sensitive practices and encapsulate qualities aimed at generating a safe space.

The Philippines is primarily distinguished as a predominantly conservative society due to its strong embedded relationship with the Catholic Church. Yet, in recent years, Philippine society has shown signs of evolving– being more inclusive, progressive, and open. Although despite the improvement, the Philippines has a long way to go in becoming a genuinely accepting community. Not only is there an evident lack of policies for those of the LGBTQIA+ community, but also a lack of information regarding related aspects. More so in the workforce, the need to integrate an inclusive environment is still at hand. A lack of awareness and proper knowledge is undoubtedly apparent and must be addressed. The hope of opening conversation in the workplace could pave avenues for further development in inclusivity and respect.

Gender Sensitivity in the workplace entails using strategies that are keen to people’s similarities and differences concerning gender identity, gender roles, and even sexual orientation. It involves acknowledging and, at the same time, taking into consideration specific gender needs. Gender Sensitivity embodies the act of being conscious of how people generally perceive gender to veer away from outdated outlooks on the typical roles of men and women. A common misconception is that the concept is thought to merely promote the LGBTQIA+ community while demoting those not a part of the community. Where in fact, the main goal of authentic Gender Sensitivity aims to include all and exclude none.

Diving deeper into the concept of Gender Sensitivity, specifically in the workplace, goes beyond simple inclusivity. It implicates not only tolerance but acceptance and respect. Embracing who your co-workers are, regardless of your differences. The concept also bolsters the eradication of archaic stereotypes, setting aside what society has led us to think and keeping an open mind.

In the journey of developing a gender-sensitive workplace, it is also crucial to consider the importance and relatedness of encompassing the attributes of a safe space in the workplace. The Safe Space Act stands for dignity towards each individual and an assurance of respecting fundamental human rights in all forms of areas, whether physical or virtual. The attributes of the Safe Space Act and Gender Sensitivity must work hand-in-hand to attain the goals set to progress one’s company successfully.

The workforce continues to evolve, with diversity, equity, and inclusivity emerging as foundational pillars. These pillars build up on an employee’s gender identity with the required recognition and respect. As more and more individuals come into the workforce with gender expressions and identities that are unlike what we would typically expect, it pushes the need for greater comprehension— entailing that we must get over the awkwardness of talking about gender. It is necessary to create an open dialogue concerning one’s gender, embodying an open mind and an unbiased outlook. Generally, the fluidity of gender expressions continues to emerge outside the limitations of the standard binary choices in today’s ever-progressing workforce, challenging traditional perspectives and our capacity to evolve.