Gender Audit showed that gender equality awareness training programmes had not been held before. Researchers and administrative staff were keen on developing or improving their awareness on gender related issues. They expressed that they would be interested in participating in such trainings.
Raising gender equality awareness through the development and provision of relevant seminars/training to senior leadership and key figures
To raise awareness among all staff about gender equality and diversity.
The Rector’s Office and particularly the Human Resources Unit gave valuable guidance and assistance in determining the target group compositions and the training schedule. Identification of the most competent and suitable expert organizations and individuals required using PLOTINA team’s and the universities networks. The carrying out of this extensive training program also required the allocation of a budget by the Rectorate and full engagement of the GE Unit.
Designed in two parts –“the social construction of gender norms” and “the importance of achieving gender equality in the workplace”– and delivered in an interactive mode, the first (pilot) awareness seminar for administrative staff was held on February 14, 2019 on OzU’s Çekmeköy Campus. The group was composed of nearly 40 attendees and the other seminars were attended by groups of 50-60 administrative staff members. Various workshop time slots were opened for the academic staff and researchers signed up for the workshop session that suited their calendars.
The seminar staged productive discussions about gender biases in general and the negative impact those discriminatory practices and processes have on the career progression of women in administrative posts. In order for the impact of the seminar to be measured and reported, the group members were asked to fill out an assessment form before and after the session, and this assessment method will be used at each seminar as well (find the preliminary and post-seminar assessment forms in the right sidebar). When the assessment forms for the first seminar were analysed, it was seen that in Part 1 (Perception) the attendees’ perception of gender roles and norms changed positively, the same improvement was observed in Part 2 (Factual information about the impacts of gender inequality). Similar forms were created and used in workshops for academics as well – these forms were analysed by the trainers and OzU’s gender equality expert.
The number of attendees in the first meeting on February 14 showed that OzU’s Gender Equality awareness seminars and workshops will have reached almost every academic and administrative staff member when it is completed.
The governance bodies, key actors and decision-makers
Type of action
Higher education institution
Action level of implementation
Researchers/professors and technical and administrative staff, students
The first target group of this action was identified as “Academic departments, administrative units, all staff.” OzU PLOTINA team set out to determine the best form and schedule to carry out this comprehensive action. Ultimately, it was found useful to develop two separate yet interrelated training courses for administrative staff and academics.
As regards the gender equality awareness seminars with administrative staff OzU decided to benefit from the experience and expertise of AÇEV (Mother Child Education Foundation), one of the most well-established NGO’s in Turkey that has been carrying out training programs all around the country for a long time. AÇEV already had a training module titled “Awareness Raising Seminars on Gender,” which was designed for institutions. However, knowing that the university was a form of institution that combined managerial processes with education and scientific research, it was decided to adapt this model to the unique conditions and needs of OzU. As for the gender equality awareness workshops for the academic staff, OzU PLOTINA team worked with two external expert trainers with a background in academic structure and studies.
A number of meetings were held with the Human Resources Unit, AÇEV and other external expert trainers for the academic staff to determine the composition of target groups and the form of the training seminars. In the final preparatory meeting, PLOTINA Team came together with the HR Unit and AÇEV to discuss the details of the content of the three-hour-long training seminar and to create the calendar of trainings which were to continue over an extended period of time. The first training seminar given by AÇEV was a “pilot run” after which the trainers collected feedback from the PLOTINA team, the HR Unit and the attendees, and the initial seminar format was improved accordingly for the next sessions. A similar conception, development and improvement process was followed for the workshops held with the academic staff. The first workshop was attended by academics working or interested in gender studies and the rest of the program was improved on the basis of the feedback and proposals received from this group.
Covering the period between mid-February and mid-Fall semester of the 2019-2020 Academic Year, these seminars and workshops are going to be held with 7 groups of administrative personnel and directors, and 15 groups of faculty members and academic managers.
The biggest challenge in implementing this action had to do with planning in general. 319 administrative and 376 academic staff members were to be involved in this action, and their work experiences and institutional contexts were very diverse. Thus, the implementation required a tremendous amount of organizing depending on the above-mentioned factors.
Working closely with the Rector’s Office and the Human Resources Unit proved to be very helpful in forming the target groups and placing them in seminar slots, creating the training calendar, and in determining the needed structure and content of the seminars. This effort required intense communication with these bodies as well as AÇEV and other professional trainers to set the dates that suit the trainers and groups of academic and administrative staff. A series of meetings were held before launching the training program. Even so, it was decided to conceive of the first seminar as a “pilot run” in order to make further improvements based on the feedback received from the stakeholders. The same process was followed in the workshops for the academic staff as well.
Tips/strategies – Lessons learnt
Determining the most suitable training format and content for the administrative and academic staff is crucial and needs a long development process. Finding the most suitable and competent trainers is just as important. Also, evaluating the participants’ feedback on the pilot seminar for administrative staff was crucial in improving this seminar format. Likewise, the first workshop for academics was held with the researchers working on gender-related issues. Their feedback was also collected in written and oral form and this seminar format was improved accordingly.
More detailed Outcomes/Impact
These seminars and workshops will certainly figure as one of the most important components of the cultural change at OzU as they will be embedded in the orientation programs and organized periodically for the incoming staff too.
Administrative staff are given two questionnaires before and after each seminar to assess the impact of trainings. Academic staff are given a feedback form after each workshop. Both forms are used in reporting the outcomes of the GE training program.
At the end of each gender equality awareness seminar and workshop, participants were asked to write and/or state what they would be willing to do to improve gender equality as individuals and as staff members. Lots of productive and creative ideas were expressed in these sections and thanks to the discussion of these ideas, staff members both developed further interest in gender-related issues and established communication with individuals having the same interest.