Although we like to think that we have already absorbed all the information we need about equal treatment of genders and non- discrimination, the truth is that most of the times, there are gender-related issues all the time in most work places. Solving them requires changing mentalities, overcoming cultural and background differences and most of all, it requires being open and ready to cooperate. A flexible mentality in this respect is likely to make the working environment more pleasant and consequently far more efficient, or at least this is what the latest surveys and studies suggest.
The question is do employers invest enough money and effort in educating their employees in this direction. How many team building programs or seminars you’ve attended for work have tackled this issue head on? And most of all: when you graduate from university, do you know what to expect out there? Do universities train students from this perspective as well? Of course, if your major is in gender studies, you’re more than informed on the matter. But how many people even take a gender studies class?
Recent research has shown that from an early stage in their education men and young men need to be able to think about women as business beings if the context is work-related. They also need to learn how to communicate with women individually, taking into consideration the woman’s personality. After all that’s what they would do with a male counterpart. Also, humor doesn’t need to be sexual: general humor is preferable.
On the other hand, women need to learn how to express themselves more verbally than non-verbally. Being excessively apologetic works just as little as being overly aggressive. The workplace is a place where one needs to be more rational than emotional. Also, women need to be careful about falling into the “submissive co-worker” stereotype. Remember you are not necessarily the one who’s supposed to make tea all the time. Bottom line is, these issues need to be addressed early in life if we want to have new educated generations that are able to overcome differences.