|Forty students from Gequ Primary School in Songzhuang Township of Beijing recite poetry on April 23 at the celebration ceremony of China's Mother's Day. [Xinhua]|
Ahead of Mother's Day, which is celebrated every year on May 13, I often spend few days contemplating before writing an article as a tribute to women everywhere, including my deceased mom. I usually call for individuals to display respect, admiration and appreciation toward their mothers.
This year, I decided to widen the horizon of my article instead of stressing on the most obvious and narrow perspective of the precious event.
Mother's Day was established to highlight the wonders of motherhood. It is an opportunity granted to children to express their gratitude toward their moms for their endless sacrifices for the sake of the comfort and wellbeing of their families.
After thinking hard, I realized that in the era of the #MeToo movement, the best way to celebrate Mother's Day was to focus on creating a healthy working environment for women.
The fundamental question is, "How can we accomplish that essential task to build bridges of trust and respect between men and women?"
Currently, women are using a long overdue opportunity to express their disgust and displeasure regarding the shameful way in which men in powerful positions were treating them. They are letting their voices heard loud and clear through various venues of the media.
However, that should not be considered a sufficient effort to bring justice to women after being chained by practices established by men to demean them and diminish their invaluable contribution to the development of the economy.
The next question ought to focus on the criteria of the healthy working environment.
In my view, a healthy working must satisfy the following conditions:
Equal Pay for the same positions occupied by men and women: Logic dictates that it is unfair that a man earns a higher salary than that of a woman who is doing the same job.
For generations, men have been earning more money than women for effectively accomplishing the same tasks that were required for a particular job. Some organizations took measures to rectify that discrepancy. Nevertheless, equal pay should be established as the norm in the workplace. For certain, we have a long way to go to achieve the desired equality.
Some companies justify the difference in salaries with the lame and false notion that men are more focused on their career than women.
Granting the same opportunities that are given to men to climb the ladder of success: It is a well-known fact that in most organizations men are considered for advancement and promotions more frequently than their female colleagues.
Business owners shamelessly state that men regard their careers as the core of their lives while women are more focused on the wellbeing of their families than on advancing their careers, which is based upon outdated views of career women.
Evaluating or assessing the performance of female employees on their credentials and intellect rather than their physical attributes: Employers must assess the performance of their female employees on their skills and their intelligence. They ought to fight the temptation to be influenced by their attractive physical features. In other words managements must stop regarding female employees as sex objects to exploit for their personal pleasures.
Organizations ought to hold workshops and seminars for their employee in which they must emphasize the boundaries of appropriate behavior and conduct within the workplace. They have to establish the roles that would govern the interactions between employees of both genders.
Managements must deal harshly with those who ignore those roles and behave inappropriately with another employee of the opposite gender to set an example that inappropriate behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
Acquiring enough wisdom to listen and investigate complaints about an inappropriate behavior within the company: The companies must acquire sufficient wisdom, decency and patience to listen to complaints from employees regarding inappropriate behavior and allocate enough time to investigate them. Ignoring a complaint would lead to its frequent occurrence.
Employers should encourage their employees and make them feel comfortable enough to come forward if they have been subjected to an inappropriate behavior instead of making them feel guilty and humiliated for speaking up.
Fighting the temptation to refer to double standard practices in dealing with members of both genders: Employers ought to stick to the golden wisdom of treating employees of both genders equally. Some members of management may feel more comfortable in dealing and establishing rapport with male employees than with female employees.
More domains that were limited to males should be opened to qualified females to achieve balance in the workplace. Having balance between employees of both genders may provide normalcy of being around members of the opposite gender.
It is a fact that women feel empowered by the revolution in attitudes that coincided with the #MeToo movement. However, we must earnestly attempt to create a healthy working environment for women to benefit from their valuable contribution to the development of our societies.
The author is Sava Hassan, a reader of China Daily.
(Source: China Daily)