|Poster by J. Lazaro, IRRI. Pledge for Parity exhibit|
Although movements to increase gender equality have brought women increasing power in the workplace—40% of all IRRI staff worldwide and 36% of nationally recruited staff are women—gender biases persist in many organizations.
IWD symposium guest speaker Esther Velasco, team leader of the European External Action Services Instrument for Peace and Stability Gender Facility, challenged IRRI staff to recognize conscious and unconscious gender biases embedded in the organization's culture.
“Men and women are assessed very differently," said Velasco. “Women with strong personalities are often criticized as aggressive and over-ambitious while men are never described as over-ambitious.” She challenged IRRI staff to start thinking about such unconscious gender biases based on culture. "Let us continue to inspire leaders to remove these barriers," she emphasized.
IRRI Director General Matthew Morell stressed the importance of making the institute an employer of choice for women in research at all levels, from leadership positions through its activities. “We are committed to enhancing gender equity and the role of women at the institute,” he said in a prerecorded message presented at the symposium.
“Engaging with women's issues is a critical part of delivering IRRI's mission. Many rice farmers and researchers are women,” Morell added. “We need to continue to empower them and facilitate the achievement of impact through them and for them.”
Infographic by C. Calamlam, IRRI
Christine Croombes, head of IRRI's Human Resources Services, encouraged women and girls to achieve their ambition. George Kotch, head of IRRI's Plant Breeding Division, called for a gender-balanced leadership. Inez Slamet-Loedin (photo below), IRRI senior scientist and head of the Genetic Transformation Laboratory, shared her experience as the first Indonesian globally recruited staff at the institute and how important it is to have flexible and inclusive cultures.
A poster exhibit, Pledge for Parity, was unveiled at IRRI Headquarters. The exhibit, opened by Croombes and Corinta Guerta, director of External Relations, focuses on the promises of the symposium speakers to further boost gender equality at IRRI. The exhibit is open to the public until 25 March.
View a video of the IWD highlights at IRRI.
See IWD 2016 Photos