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Observations on Gender Sensitive Training Planning and Delivery

In December 2011, APMAS conducted a training workshop on "Training Delivery Skills” in Bangkok. The workshop was offered to professional trainers, service providers and IFAD staffs who conduct trainings in their jobs, in order to improve their training planning and delivery skills. The workshop offered a unique and effective approach of learning by doing. Participants were asked to prepare a 20 minute training session of their choice and present it on the first day, followed by principles and theories on the next day. Then on the last day trainers improved their skills and conducted another training sessions for 20 minutes each.

I attended the workshop to observe Gender sensitivity in their training sessions. This is part of APMAS objective to sensitize service providers and IFAD staff for gender mainstreaming in all training programs. As it was very short training sessions, I used only a few criteria for checking the gender sensitivity in planning and training delivery. Here are my observations and recommendations:

1.       Training Content: While planning the training session sometimes trainers do not consider that there are different gender perspectives of the issue. They forget to include women’s perspective, hence the contents become biased and only men’s perspective is presented. Although there could be some issues which are neutral to both men and women. So the criteria here is whether the topic of training had a gender dimension or not? And If it had a gender dimension, did the trainer address the gender dimension by discussing how are women involved, and how it affects women, etc?

My observation was that most of the topics chosen by trainers had different perspective from the view point of men and women, but the training sessions included the perspective of men only.

2.       Training Methodology: The methodology includes how the session was conducted?  Was the trainer only focused on men, or trainer was encouraging women and men equally to participate in the training? Was trainer making sure that both women and men were able to understand the subject?

It was really good to see in the workshop that the trainers were encouraging both women and men to participate in the training session. They even remembered and addressed women by their names (also because it was a small group and people were friendly).

3.       Explanations:   Whether the case studies and examples given during the training addressed women’s and men’s concerns equally? Whether women could relate their lives and problems to the examples discussed during the training?

In the workshop, some trainers included the case studies which were relevant to the women, while others missed it. I recommend that the examples and case studies should be carefully decided, trainer should do research and include example which are directly relevant to the women and men participants’ lives.

4.       Illustrations:  Whether visual representations were gender sensitive, e.g., did the trainer showed pictures of women and men in stereotypical or culturally bound positions? A stereotype visual is the one which shows men as superior work force and women in inferior work force. Another stereotype is showing women doing household chorus or child care work.

In the workshop, for many trainers this point is neutral, as they didn’t include any visuals. Some pictures taken from Ms-Word were not very gender sensitive. My recommendation to the trainers is to be careful while choosing the visuals and avoid stereotypical pictures. Trainers should also make a balance in the number of pictures, e.g. if you are showing two men related pictures then make sure to include two women related pictures too, and vice versa.

5.       Language: The criteria was whether the language used in training program suitable for women? And was there a conscious use of appropriate nouns and pronouns?

During the training sessions or even in everyday life, people excessively use male pronouns he/him as a representative of both men and women, e.g. all bosses are assumed to be ‘men’ and addressed as ‘he’. Same is with male nouns specially if the subject is higher level/ skilled professional, like its very common to hear  ‘chairman' although many chair persons are women as well. So I would like to recommend using gender sensitive nouns and pronouns.

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