Equal opportunities and different interests

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“We do not treat men and women differently in our organization” is a strong discourse many proudly share with us, as we talk and discuss strategies for gender equality in the field work. There is a belief that gender equality is ensured when men and women are offered equal opportunities. But how can we ensure equal treatment and allocation of resources considering the differences in needs and interests? If we want to be fair with equal opportunities while addressing differences women experience in the workforce, one should open up also for different treatments such as in recruitment process. We have also repeatedly heard that “we should remember women have different interests”. The utterance is said to remind us that there is an invisible barrier in approaching gender equality because of men and women’s different interests in education and career choices. As if “interests” are entirely natural and are not socially constructed. As long “natural“ interests and needs are considered to be a barrier to overcome gender segregation in labor force, the responsibilities to ensure equal opportunities are disclaimed.

Gilda Seddighi 

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