EYES ON BRAZIL. THINK WORK DIFFERENT.
There was a women’s group at Semco but it doesn’t exist any more. Why is that? How about the women? Flordelice Bassanello and Fernanda Lobato Bandeira are women from two generations. They both work at Semco and share their opinion on reaching equality with us.
Flordelice: Well, that Women’s group was created precisely to work with both the female and the male workforce on the issue of treating people equally: To learn not to make any differentiation of any kind, in reason of any type of prejudice. It also happened at a time where it was very common to treat women and men differently at a workplace. It was much more common than today. Much more.
So the women, when they got together, they noticed that even here – where the equality of treatment was already being discussed – some differences still existed. Women felt less valued in this workplace. So they started to meet up, in order to find ways not only to prepare themselves for this change but also to find ways how to make men realise how things could be different.
For quite some time, we held monthly reunions. We managed to organise two meetings with all the women of the organisation outside of the company where they discussed these issues.
In those forums, the discussions were broader: Not only did we discuss issues found at Semco but in the Brazilian work market but also proposals of how to make change happen.
After the first forum took place, when women got together at the first reunion right after the forum, they said that they had heard a lot of jokes, people asked us if we had exchanged recipes, whether we had learned to crochet and knit, if we had gossiped much etc.
The women said: “we’ve worked so hard and now we’ve ended up having to hear all these jokes upon our return. So let’s continue and make people realise the seriousness of this undertaking”. This happened over the period of one year. The following year, the second forum took place. The male reaction when the women came back was completely different.
The first day after they returned to work, all the offices were filled with welcome banners: “We’ve missed you”, “You are important for the work environment”. So the receptivity towards the female group was completely different. One of the signals that the perception of the seriousness of this work had been altered a great deal.
But what happened in the year between the two forums?
Flordelice: The women continued to meet. Whatever was discussed in the reunions was communicated to the entire company, so the people knew the content of the reunions.
Often, the proposals that they came up with concerned not only the female but also the male group. The proposals were all-inclusive; we were dealing with human beings, and not one gender nor the other. So this ended up bringing a lot of credibility to their work.
Fernanda: Today I see no need for a women’s group. We have other kinds of groups now, according to the present necessity. There’s the GPS, the Semco Participation Group, whose objective is to keep the Semco Way alive. Because new things come up every day. In regards to women, there’s nothing specific. In my opinion.
Is there a difference in the salary?
Flordelice: No. There is no difference in salary according to gender. What matters is the function that the person performs; whether it’s a woman or man matters little. The person will receive according to the responsibilities that their position requires.
At which point did you reach equality?
Flordelice: At the moment we started to reorganize every issue that came up. When we did the first reformulation of job functions and salaries, factory by factory, what we’ve always taken into account were the job position and not the gender.
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