By Erin Brandt.
At last week’s Chartered Professionals in Human Resources (BCYK) 2018 Legal Symposium, Heidi Eaves (Principal at Project House) and I led a rich and rewarding discussion on gender issues in the workplace.
Our session began with a conversation about gender bias in hiring and advancement opportunities, wage inequalities, parental leave, dress codes, and harassment and violence. For all these issues, the legal starting point in British Columbia is the protection under the BC Human Right Code for “gender expression and identity” and human rights cases relating to access to washrooms and equal opportunities.
Throughout our discussion, we encouraged participants to reflect on how to create spaces within their workplaces that make it safe for conversations on gender to take place, and to share their company’s successes with the group. After presenting ideas for engaging with employees through surveys, open forums, and one-on-one conversations, we invited people to discuss initiatives within their own workplaces that promote dialogue on gender issues. The level of engagement was striking: keen to be at the forefront of gender inclusivity, many of those present had already established inclusion and diversity committees and were working towards updating internal policies and behaviours.
The gathering concluded with a commitment to continue this important conversation with the goal of shaping a more inclusive future.
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