What is Gender Equity & Social Inclusion (GESI)?
Most societies allocate different roles, responsibilities and activities to women and men. These allocations are not by virtue of the physical sex of an individual (ie. whether they are male or female). Instead, these are social constructs which translate into learned behaviours and general patterns of social and economic roles. PNG is predominantly a subsistence economy and culturalnorms define women and men’s roles responsibilities, rights, access to and control over resources, as well as the interests, needs and identities in relation to one another. Women’s traditional roles and responsibilities primarily concern domestic duties – child rearing and bearing, household chores, family and community caring and food production for consumption. Men’s traditional roles and responsibilities primarily concern heavier, riskier jobs usually outside of the home – building houses and fences, fishing, gardening and making decisions on allocating and sharing resources.
Equity leads to equality. Equality means that all people enjoy the same status. All people have equal conditions for realising their full human rights and potential to contribute to national,political, economic, social and cultural development and to benefit from the results. Equality is what we aspire to achieve.
Gender equality is when the roles of women and men are valued equally. The definition has three aspects: equal opportunities, equal treatment and equal entitlements.It is directly linked to human development. Designing initiatives that respond to and take account of the different needs and roles of women and men makes our community more effective and sustainable.
Papua New Guinea is a diverse nation, characterised by many different languages and cultures. The geography and infrastructure of the country makes communication and transport difficult. Our population of over 7 million is widespread, with varied access to education, health facilities and other services. There is a large disparity of the distribution of wealth and resources in our country. The increasing rural migration to our major cities is having significant impact for the health and wellbeing of our people and the social disharmony that results from the merging of many different cultures has resulted in violence and injury.
Why is GESI Important?
A workplace that is respectful, courteous, and fair and that values individual differences is a core aspect of building a positive workplace culture. Managing equity and diversity is a key component of managing employees. By focusing on building a positive and respectful culture we will enhance the performance of all employees. Fostering a positive workplace environment makes good business sense. A positive workplace is characterised by mutual respect that supports employee engagement.It also creates a high performance culture that encourages innovation and creativity.
BENEFITS OF GESI
The benefits are not just for today’s women and men, their families and their communities, but for all generations to come. A workforce that is more representative of the community’s diverse composition allows us to better understand, serve and meet the needs of Papua New Guinea.
- When girls are educated it lowers fertility rates, reduces maternal mortality andimproves the health of their children.
- When women, men, people living with disabilities and representatives fromdisadvantaged groups participate in policy formulation and decision-making it leads tomore responsive policies and decisions and improved distribution of services.
- When all members of the community have access to economic opportunity it helpstheir families prosper and the country’s economy grows.
- A diverse workplace will have positive and effective communication with its clientsbased on a deep understanding of the community’s interests.
- When the safety and security of women and girls is guaranteed, they can moreeffectively contribute to better outcomes for their families, communities and thecountry.
- A gender equitable and socially inclusive workforce that reflects the PNG communitydemographics will also support us, as a Public Service, to understand and assist thevarious needs of everyone in our community, leading to improved service delivery.