WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
Well-defined executive accountability mechanisms for promoting and monitoring gender balance at organisational and individual levels not only engage leaders and managers, but also provide a vital incentive for change. In contrast, when gender equality is presented as everyone’s responsibility, it may be perceived as no one’s responsibility.
Effective accountability reinforces legal provisions in favour of gender equality and equity. In contrast, ineffective accountability may make it difficult for employees to seek recourse in cases of unfair treatment.
Using performance management systems to establish clear accountability at all levels can help overcome gender balance barriers. Integrating targets – such as hiring, development or promotion targets – for gender equality into the performance agreements of senior and middle managers is one way to enhance accountability. Recognition systems can be used to reinforce positive action in enhancing gender equality.
Managers do not always recognise that men and women are treated differently in the workplace and that they face different challenges during hiring and promotion processes. Gender-related training can enhance managers’ awareness and thus contribute to the promotion of gender diversity and balance.
Regular reporting on gender issues and the attainment of gender objectives can deepen executive accountability; furthermore, it offers opportunities to rethink and revisit gender equality strategies and actions and to potentially improve gender outcomes. Employee engagement surveys can also provide important insights about executive effectiveness in gender balance initiatives.