Employment Equity is an International Effort

With talk of the Obama administration’s effort to regulate employment equity, we all know it’s an issue that effects the US. The US however, is not the only country that struggles to have all genders, and races represented in the workplace. Countries all over the world have been attempting to institute policies similar to Affirmative Action, and studying the effects these types of inclusive policies have on the organizations that implement them. The results of these studies are overwhelmingly positive.

Recently Gondwana Collection Namibia was named the overall best performer by the African EEC. 18 out of the 738 employers registered with the EEC, qualified for any awards. Namibia suffers from some of the world’s worst income disparity, and racial inequality lingering from the past apartheid.  Taking steps to include blacks and women in the workplace in Namibia is of the utmost importance, and it’s heartening to know that there are organizations out there taking the steps necessary to bridge the economic and social gaps.

Gondwana Collections Namibia HR manager, Hilma Amutenya, said it’s great to be rewarded for all the years of hard work. For over ten years, Gondwana Collections Namibia has been instituting policies to promote employment equity. The company won it’s first AA award in 2004.

“Our HR motto is: ‘You can only be successful if you make others successful.'” says Amutenya. “We do a lot to make our staff successful. In return our staff are one of the major pillars of our success in the tough tourism business.” she says.

While there’s still much research to be done regarding Affirmative Action’s success in the workplace, particularly long term, scientists in Austria found that it’s effects promoting women in the workplace are largely positive.  Economists have concluded in prior research that women, even extremely qualified ones, are more likely to shy away from competition than their male counterparts, this study implied the same.

“Without intervention the number of women willing to compete was only half the number of men. In three of the other four treatments the frequency of competing women is significantly higher, whereas there was no significant effect for men.” says Proffesor Matthias Sutter from the Department of Public Finance of the University of Innsbruck, who conducted the study.

When scientists intervened by assisting women in various ways, it helped women excel without effecting the team negatively.

“It would have been simple to discriminate through inefficient actions against someone who won because of a certain intervention,” Sutter says. “The fact that this did not happen was a surprise.”

With African organizations stepping up and doing their part to promote workplace equality, and European economists studying the effects of Affirmative Action in the workplace, it seems the US may no longer be leading the pack when it comes to employment equity. Impending regulations will likely change this. Considering evidence seems to suggest that AA’s benefits outweigh the potential problems, perhaps it’s time we start to embrace employment equity, instead of just going through the motions.

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