Gender equal and inclusive organisations through transformative dialogue
The Gender Dialogue prototype is an innovative workshop for organisations or companies that allows participants to explore aspects of gender on a personal, cultural, societal and organizational level. It results in learnings around the status quo of gender equality within the organisations, ignites a spark for change to reach the full potential of the company or organisation’s diversity and through co-creation suggests first ideas of the next steps.
By applying cutting edge innovations’ methods and collaboration practices such as Theory U from MIT, the Gender Dialogue offers organizations and corporations the possibility to better understand the status quo around gender in the organisation and surface areas for action to activate the full potential of the organisation’s human resources.
In these workshops we propose a unique methodology to inspire organizational culture transformation towards gender equality, and we offer participants the opportunity to generate learnings and new insights, develop their understanding of the topic, practice collaborating and co-creating new pathways to foster innovative solutions for their organizations in order to unlock its full potential. To get there, we will enable the creation of a space of trust and dialogue exploration in which this can be explored, bypassing the rational construction of how participants built their notion of gender. By focusing instead on opening their mind and heart to hear other voices, this workshop enables deeper conversations to happen and new insights and solutions around gender equality in the workplace.
Switzerland remains the third worst OECD country in terms of Gender Equality in the workplace according to The Economist’s Glass Ceiling Index, which makes us collective lose out on a massive potential in the workforce. Employers are also losing out on talent as young people joining the workforce increasingly have aspirations and values that differ. Despite many efforts and often a genuine intention to have workplaces in which all employees can thrive and make their best contribution regardless of their gender, few actually achieve this objective. Organisational cultures remain ingrained by unconscious biases, gender stereotypes and discrimination - and a new leadership program for women will not change this. Self and collective exploration brought about by Theory U is a radical and deep approach that has the potential to change perceptions and awareness of others and the culture. Only through such an approach can the areas in which change is needed be surfaced as well as the commitment to change be fostered. Further, through collective intelligence, the Gender Dialogue will enhance the vision, potential and capacity of the organization or company to contribute to achieving goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
How - Steps
We begin with a conversation with the management and Human Resources department to assess the needs of the organisation and previous measures applied for Gender Equality. After we have completed a system mapping to understand who needs to be a part of this workshop and have framed the calling question, we will invite for the first workshop.
The goal is to spark an institutional culture change toward a gender equal and inclusive organisation. The first workshop serves to surface core stuck points and opportunities for development and retention of talents in the organisation by using a Gender lens. The workshop will enable participants to open their perceptions, engage in deeper conversations and reflect on how gender influences behaviours in the context of development & opportunities in the company or organisation.
More specifically, the objectives proposed for the workshops are:
Share perceptions and experiences of individual and collective gender norms in a safe and creative space
Deepen participants’ own understanding and awareness of unconscious biases
Learn from each others viewpoints
Propose new pathways for changes
Within the system that is addressed (e.g. the whole organisation or company, a department or a team), it is crucial that key members of the system (especially the leaders) are included, as well as people in different roles holding different perspectives and of course people of all genders.
3.5h duration, which is short enough to include it in a work schedule and long enough to make an impact. The workshop is preceded by conversations with the host and if applicable interviews with the organisation leadership and stakeholders.
We will start as a whole group and use collaborative innovation methods to create moments of one-to-one sharing (ideally mixed genders), small group conversations and then back again in the large group for the closing. We will take care of specific group dynamics that can be sensitive in the context of the organisation or company in the composition of the workshop (managers/employees) to ensure open communication and trust to create deep cohesion.
The meeting is hosted by an internal convening circle (those speaking the invitation), typically Human Resources with the backing of the leadership or the management. The qualified external facilitators of collaboratio helvetica ensure a neutral standpoint and that a safe space can be created.
Theory U (MIT prof. Otto Scharmer) is the applied methodology and movement that helps surface unproductive patterns of behavior that prevent optimum collaborations and effective decision making. It enables social innovations and system changes to maximize individual and collective potential, build healthy relations and create inclusive and collaborative environments. It is an unconventional, transformative process, which requires each participant to consider oneself as part of the system we want to change - only this depth can create true change.
The results of the workshop are harvested and presented to the host in a clear form, alongside a proposal on how to continue depending on the output. In a conversation to finalise these first steps and objectives, we will explore together how the process may progress to ensure the organisation is on the right path to becoming a gender equal and inclusive organisation. Our recommendations will include next steps in the process and concrete possibilities to take action to ensure the organisation leverages the full potential of all employees, and that employees thrive.
Nicole Schwab: gender expert, co-founder of EDGE and other social entreprises, facilitator of the Gender Lab – 10+ years experience in facilitating collaborative processes for groups and organizations, weaving together a focus on unlocking group genius, with approaches that foster deep personal enquiry and wellbeing, author of “The Heart of the Labyrinth”.
Florence Tercier: 10+ years at International Red Cross and Oak Foundation, gender expert, responsible to bring rape in conflicts zones on the global agenda, professional coach and consultant on organisational development and philanthropy topics.
Djemila Zouyene: gender consultant with 8+ years experience in evaluation, strategic planning and capacity building. Designed tools and strategies to foster gender equality and inclusion in organizations globally.
Nora Wilhelm: Co-Founder and Catalyst (CEO) of collaboratio helvetica. Project lead of the Gender Lab. 5+ year of experience in facilitating workshops and group processes such as Dialogues and Social Laboratories. UNESCO Young Leader, Founding Member of the Cohort 2030 and Annabelle Schweizermacherin.