JMMB engaging millenials through gender equality

Sunday, August 11, 2013

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GROUP Chief Strategist at JMMB Senator Imani Duncan-Price added stimulating thought to the ongoing gender conversation during a one-day private sector gender summit held at the Jamaica Conference Centre recently.

With a focus on 'Gender Equality: A Corporate Performance Driver', the conference was open to managers and directors of small, medium and large companies who are interested in learning about the National Policy for Gender Equality and addressing gender issues in the business environment and gender mainstreaming, to achieve increased productivity and profits.

The gender summit was an activity of The Way Out Project, a programme funded by the Fund for Gender Equality and the United Nations Entity For Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), implemented by the Bureau of Women's Affairs and the Dispute Resolution Foundation.

Project Manager for The Way Out Project Sharifa Wright noted that the gender summit was the beginning of a more robust engagement with gender equality and equity by Jamaican organisations.

"There is much work to be done, the most challenging of which is to change mindsets and preconceived notions about gender roles that stifle the development and growth of our women and men, boys and girls," she said.

Senator Duncan-Price's presentation focused on 'Engaging Millenials, Creating New Services: Gender and Innovation in the Private Sector'.

Her core message was underlined by a call to corporate entities to re-evaluate their approach to millenials -- that group of persons aged 17-35 years, also known as Generation Y -- and employ different techniques to engage and reach through to this set, in the workplace.

She highlighted that, having been raised in an era of technology, millenials' work culture and success metrics differ vastly from previous generations' and, as such, companies need to respond in like fashion to connect with them and guarantee continued productivity.

"Happiness is the new success metric for millenials. Yes, they value monetary and professional rewards, but happiness tops it all. It is what drives them to succeed. Millennials have expressed a desire to pursue work that is personally meaningful and are accustomed to getting work done in a variety of environments, not simply sitting at their desks. Flexible scheduling is of great appeal to millennials who place a high value on work-life balance."

Stressing that "we've entered the post-feminist era", the JMMB executive painted an interesting picture of how millenials view and understand gender roles in the home and workplace and how this informs their future expectations.

"The issue in Jamaican workplaces seems to be more one of class, than one of gender for millenials. Gender is not seen or discussed and they are not of the view that educated women are less likely to get hired compared to a male of similar educational standards. The issue for them is that that there are not enough jobs overall. Millennials are, therefore, less apt to perceive institutionalised sexism or believe barriers will keep them as individuals down."




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