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Annual Meeting of the Gender Responsive Standards Initiative

Annual Meeting of the Gender Responsive Standards Initiative

24 November 2021 10:00 - 12:00
Virtual WebEx meeting only Geneva Switzerland

Meeting details

Wednesday, 24. November 2021 from 10:00  |  (UTC+01:00) Brussels, Copenhagen, Madrid, Paris  |  2 hrs 00 mins


Meeting Background

C O N C E P T  N O T E

G E N D E R  R E S P O N S I V E  S T A N D A R D S  F O R  T H E  I N C L U S I V E

W O R K S P A C E :  H O W  G E N D E R - R E S P O N S I V E  S T A N D A R D S  S U P P O R T

O C C U P A T I O N A L  H E A L T H  A N D  S A F E T Y  I N  T H E  T I M E S  O F  C O V I D - 1 9

The disruption brought by COVID-19 to our economic and social lives is unprecedented and to 
effectively seize on the opportunity it presents to build, we need to support individuals and 
organizations to develop harmonized, resilient, and inclusive workplaces.

Standards are critical tools to cultivate the best practice capabilities and skills required to 
establish – and sustain – diverse and inclusive workplaces, and the knowledge they bring in 
responding to evolving societal and technological needs – in addition to supporting adaptation – 
will enable organizations to build and coordinate the management systems necessary to establish 
safe, flexible work practices, manage distributed teams and optimize virtual
However, when standards are not responsive to the distinct needs of women and girls the impact is 
pervasive. The impact may be one of apparent mild inconvenience, for example when ventilation 
standards based on men’s’ metabolism leave women feeling cold in the office.
However, even such seemingly benign impacts can be damaging. Research has shown that colder 
temperatures lower women's cognitive abilities and productivity. As such, an organization may be 
less competitive, productive, and profitable, on account of the failure of a ventilation standard 
to adequately consider the needs of women.

Early evidence on the workplace impact of the pandemic has confirmed that women’s labor market 
outcomes, stability and prospects have deteriorated disproportionately. This will have profound 
impact in terms of health and well-being in the workplace, with reduced income, employment 
instability and increased risk of occupational injury in organizations without the means to ensure 
appropriate prevention measures. The rebalancing of work and the return to the distanced office 
calls on managers to reimagine the workplace, to take corrective action and ensure representation 
in the workforce.

Gender-responsive standards support adaptive measures for effective prevention and participation 
workplace transitions to a post-Covid era, and organizations must adopt preventive measures to 
mitigate the equity impact of the pandemic. Occupational health and safety (OHS) standards and 
guidelines operate at the intersection of work and health, and as such are pivotal tools in the 
effective reintegration of employees to an adaptive, flexible and safe working space.

Incorporating the technical management perspective and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) 
standpoint, this session will explore how gender responsive standards support prevention and 
recovery measures, with a focus on the evolving occupational health and safety needs of all