Gender Responsive Communications and Unconscious Bias Training for UN staff
30 October 2023
UN Women Albania, UNFPA Albania and the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office organized today a dedicated training to equip UN personnel working in programme and communications with the skills and knowledge they need to develop, implement and monitor interventions from gender equality and women’s empowerment (GEWE) to help fulfil the commitment made in the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (CF) to mainstream gender equality across all its interventions, as well as promoting GEWE as a stand-alone priority
This training was specifically aimed at increasing the capacities of UN personnel to increase understanding of the meaning and practical impact of gender-responsive and inclusive communications and language; enhance knowledge on how to develop visual, verbal and written communications content and messaging that is gender-responsive and inclusive, and increase awareness of unconscious bias and identify strategies to mitigate their impact.
Following an introduction from GTRG Chair Michele Ribotta and opening remarks from UN Resident Coordinator Fiona McCluney, the training followed with interactive sessions and practical exercises on gender responsive communications, as well as best practices on photographs and linguistic selection. In addition, sessions included practical examples from Albanian news for the participants to reflect over the extent to which they reflected gender equality considerations and fostered a discriminatory narrative about women and girls.
The training was led by Ms. Montira Narkvichien, UN Women Chief of Communications for the Arab States, and Yllka Parllaku, UN Women Albania Communications Officer.
In addition to information-packed presentations, the training encompassed specific issues and recommendations related to the Albanian context, such as the UNCT coming up with a set list of gender-neutral and inclusive alternative terms in Albanian which may be used across the UN system at the outset and to refer to if a roll-out opportunity arises.
Other points of agreement and potential and follow-up actions included using gender sensitive icons and mainstreaming them in the region, strengthening joined effort to allocate resources for monitoring of media.
Participants reported that the training was useful, interesting and valuable in enhancing awareness of gender-responsive communication and unconscious bias. They particularly enjoyed the interactive aspects of the day and group work sessions.
The practical guidelines, recommendations and applicable learnings that came out of the session were identified as particularly useful for participants, as was the importance of understanding and being aware of unconscious biases and recognizing the power of communication and in particular digital communication tools.
Overall, participants reported an increased capacity to communicate in a gender responsive way in daily work and when communicating with partners and reporting results, and a better ability to mitigate the impact of unconscious biases in their messages.