It's been true for decades that gender roles in United States workplaces have been changing. While this can sometimes feel jarring if you grew up expecting to interact in one way with men and another with women, culturally, learning these changing norms can be very helpful. Furthermore, the growing inclusion and acceptance of transgender and nonbinary identities in the professional sphere has added additional challenges for those who may not understand these concepts or simply not be aware of how to address their colleagues.
Workplaces are particularly susceptible to shifting standards, especially as employees from different backgrounds, gender identities and other factors collaborate. Paying careful attention to inclusive language and policies helps you create a welcoming workplace and avoid discrimination.
With many employers working hard to hire all the people they need for their work in recent years, there is no room to lose great-fit employees because of old-fashioned or outdated ways of addressing gender roles, pronouns and other considerations when working in a gender-inclusive environment. Taking professional development courses like Gender Diversity and Trans Identities can help anyone who works in a modern workplace respect everyone and understand the complexities of gender.
Understanding Gender Versus Sex, and More
Many people based in the United States come to the ideas of "gender" and "anatomical sex" and see them as one-to-one with an identity as a woman depending on particular anatomy, and identity as a man connected to different anatomy. However, learning more about gender diversity shows that these are two different concepts where one's biological sex doesn't always match one's gender identity. Respecting people for their identity is crucial to keep workplaces running smoothly and inclusively, without fostering hostility.
Taking a professional development course on gender diversity can also introduce the concepts of genders that fall under the nonbinary umbrella, wherein a person doesn't identify with either gender or identifies with multiple genders in specific ways, and other concepts within gender diversity.
If someone at work identifies with a gender you aren't familiar with or uses nonbinary pronouns, they may not feel comfortable educating everyone at work about that identity. Taking a course as a professional yourself can help you understand what your employees are disclosing, allowing you to ask questions about how they prefer to be addressed so you’re familiar with these concepts ahead of time, rather than making them explain the entire concept of gender diversity to you.
Feminism as a Desire for Gender Equity and Equality
While the term "feminism" may conjure up many different images for different people, the core concept is simply that all people, regardless of gender, deserve to be treated well and treated with equity.
For example, historically, specific industries and work tended to fall to men, while other fields are often stereotyped as work women do. While there are still fields that have a majority of one gender or the other, society has largely acknowledged that one's ability to do the work and interest in doing it well are far more relevant to a job than one's gender or anatomical sex. There is legislation that makes it illegal to discriminate against people along many lines, and gender is one of those demographics.
While avoiding a discrimination lawsuit over one's unconscious gender stereotypes is undoubtedly essential, it also makes more sense to widen your employment pool by considering all the applicants who can do the work and are interested in doing it well, regardless of identity.
You'll have more chances of finding a great applicant if you don't let unconscious bias get in the way of finding someone who can do the job well. A strong understanding of how gender stereotypes formed in the past and how we can make policies to reduce or eliminate them now comes from studying the history of feminism, which you can do at Portland Community College through the help of the Gender Diversity and Trans Identities course.
Help Your Workplace Culture Flourish
Professional development courses like this don't aim to make people 'feel bad' about past attitudes or behaviors. Instead, they seek to help us grow collectively and learn from past mistakes while leading with empathy. One can examine and decide behaviors that weren't the right choice, but the lessons from a class like this are forward-looking.
With new generations entering the workforce, many of whom will be well-versed in gender diversity topics, you want your company to understand their needs and concerns and avoid alienating individuals who don't conform to past standards or expectations of gender roles. As an employer, you know that clear communication is key to great employment relationships, and a shared understanding of gender diversity helps you speak each other's language.
Studying gender identity in the workplace and making workplaces more inclusive just requires you to be open to learning a new way of thinking. The results you reap could be better and better company culture. for your business. Whether you work in HR for a large company, are the owner of a small company, or are at any management level, these kinds of courses help you understand how both society and your own culture can improve for everyone.
Want to learn more about the kinds of courses you can take at PCC to move forward in the workplace? Check out this course and our catalog of professional development and training programs today.