1740b Mainstreaming gender into occupational safety and health (osh) practice

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Abstract

Introduction

Women and men are different, and the jobs they do, their working conditions and circumstances and how society treats them are different, affecting the occupational risks they face: a gender-sensitive prevention approach is required. However, gender mainstreaming and taking a gender-sensitive approach are not always well understood in OSH. Practice needs to be exchanged and experiences shared in order to debunk some of the myths and barriers. This project researched examples of policies, programmes and practices from across the EU and worldwide to illustrate gender approaches in OSH.

Methods

The cases cover approaches by national and intermediary organisations and gender-sensitive approaches to OSH in the workplace. Detailed descriptions of a range of cases were made, covering the development process and what was achieved. Brief summaries of additional examples were made. The cases were analysed for success factors, challenges, drivers and transferability.

Results

The cases were varied, covering: integrating gender mainstreaming into organisations’ planning, administration and daily working practices; developing methods and tools to promote gender mainstreaming; facilitating working conditions suitable for both women and men, including both health and human resources management; the reconciliation of work and family life and thereby promoting better work–life balance; ensuring women are encouraged and supported in working in male-dominated professions; designing and promoting personal protective equipment (PPE) for women; conducting awareness-raising campaigns on health.

Discussion

Men and women benefit when gender differences are recognised and are addressed in OSH. The report shows that this is happening in many different ways, through policy and strategy, research and at the workplace. Those taking action include scientific associations, OSH organisations, equalities organisations, health organisations, employers and trade unions. The cases range from comprehensive gender-mainstreaming projects to simple steps that organisations can take to ensure that the OSH of both male and female workers is covered.

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