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gender action learning

Gender at Work Action Learning Program as an Approach to
Furthering Gender Equality

Gender at Work has honed a Gender Action-Learning process (GAL) to address women’s rights and gender equality within civil society organisations, international organizations and other development institutions. The process is built on adult learning principles and values reflective space, recognizing that reflection on both the self and on organizational practice is a key tool for learning and effective action. Another key factor in the Gender Action-Learning process is the ability for people to work together and to learn from each other.
70% of women and men GAL participants in India, South Africa and South Sudan report changed attitudes and behaviours in their personal lives, their organizations and their community over four years and under our Feminist Leadership Programme.
Gender at Work partners with organizations around the world that have recognized the limits of traditional gender mainstreaming approaches and are seeking alternatives. The Gender at Work approach promotes women’s empowerment and gender equality through addressing institutional norms and rules (both stated and implicit) that maintain women’s unequal position in societies.
These institutional rules determine who gets what, what counts, who does what and who decides. They include values that maintain the gendered division of labor, prohibitions on women owning land, restrictions on women’s mobility and perhaps most fundamentally, the devaluing of reproductive and care work. Institutional rules are lived out through organizations which are the social structures that exist in any society.
Through the Gender Action Learning process, we combine feminist thinking and practice with insights from organizational development, to build internal cultures of equality and transform cultural norms that support achieving gender equality and social justice.
Since the formation of Gender at Work in 2001, we have worked with a range of organizations, including international development groups, labor unions, governments, women’s networks and community based organizations in India, Southern Africa and the Horn of Africa.

gender action learning steps

Inception workshop

Partners and G@W explore whether a Gender Action-Learning program would be helpful.

Organizational visits

The Gender at Work teams visit the organization and their community members, map its history, understand its work, understand how it promotes gender equality, its capacity and the potential directions that exist for change.

Workshop 1

Telling Stories, Sharing Doubts and Re-thinking the Work: Partner organizations tell their story and Gender at Work introduces key ideas of individual, community and organizational change, as the beginning of building a learning community. Each organizational team meets with their facilitator and develops a gender equality change project.

Work in Organizations

Participants carry out a change project in their organizations and communities. The work is supported by a Gender at Work facilitator.

Workshop 2

Telling our Stories, Re-vitalizing our Practice: Partners describe and analyze their change efforts, while other participants and facilitators offer analysis and advice. Teams plan the next stage of their change work.

Work in organizations

Partners continue to work on their projects with the support of a facilitator.

Final workshop

Participants pull together their collective learning from all the change projects.