In her insightful presentation and a particularly interesting Q&A session afterwards, Ms Sixolile Ngcobo, Provincial Manager for the Commission for Gender Equality and a Senior Advisor on the issues of Gender Justice and Sustainable Development, highlighted some of the key solutions to levelling the playing field in the current corona pandemic-affected workplace – for both employers and employees.
Giving practical applications, Ms Ngcobo pointed out the necessity that employers understand that their employees bring not only their skills, but all aspects of who they are and their “whole self” to bear to thrive and be productive in the workplace. And, that employers’ need to create a workplace where, practically speaking, “intersectionality” prevails – where for social scientists intersectionality explores the interactions of various social markers such as race, gender, age and sexual orientation that shape an individual or group’s experience in the workplace. Ms Ngcobo, talked through the aspects that make it possible to create a “work-life balanced” workplace, pointing out that these are essential for a productive workforce in addition to the many intrinsic dignities that should be afforded to employees. In doing so she posed this question:
“How do you, as an employer, acknowledge the ‘me, myself and I’ of your employees so that you can say, ‘I see you beyond just being a tool in the workplace? I see you in everything else that embodies who you are’; and then proceed to create policies or practices that allow individuals to bring all of who they are to the workplace and also to contribute the productivity of the workplace?”
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The Commission for Gender Equality (GCE) is a government constituted organisation with a mission to evaluate and advance gender equality policies and practices in South Africa’s public and private sectors through researching and monitoring to find gaps within South African organisations where they are not complying or contributing to gender equality. CGE is mandated to request that an organisation engages in policy reviews and updates to ensure gender equality compliance – and even to litigate for non-compliance where necessary.
The Commission for Gender Equality has a hotline where discrimination or abuse can be reported at 0800 007 709.