I believe organisations can build a culture of respect and equality through sexuality education
Do modern organisations need to consider sexuality education to be effective?
Sexuality Education covers a huge range of topics including protective behaviours, the lifecycle, respectful relationships, pleasure, solo sex, disability, race, sexual health, inclusion, and more.
The reality is that most people didn’t receive any of this education which in an organisation can cause a lot of issues. It’s one thing for the government to provide legislation and curriculums, its another thing entirely to be able to recognise their importance and implement a range of strategies to truly make your organisation respectful and safer.
The Australian professional landscape is changing, and many organisations are struggling to keep up with how best to support their staff and clients. I think we have all worked in places where the culture could have been better. When disrespect is left unchecked it has the potential to spread, which impacts everyone. Strong leaders recognise the need to do things better.
I believe organisations want to do their best to promote gender equality and inclusion, to address domestic and family violence, stamp out sexist and discriminatory attitudes, and create a culture of dignity.
Does that sound like your leadership style?
If that’s you, you are not alone.
Working alongside an experienced sexologist and accredited sexuality educator can provide the advice and support your organisation needs to develop policy, address stigma and discrimination, implement curriculum topics, and join the growing movement of people who recognise sexual rights as fundamental to wellbeing (you can read more about the Declaration of Sexual Rights on my blog).
I have worked with a range of organisations, not-for-profits, and government departments on different continents. While working at the United Nations and UNAIDS one of my key responsibilities was to train staff from a range of agencies (WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, FAO just to name drop a few!) on the mainstreaming of sexuality, gender, and diversity. This mainstreaming is laid out in the Sustainable Development Goals and in the #MeToo era it is even more important.
Organisations in my work fall into two main categories; workplaces and schools. Regardless of which kind of organisation I’m working with the core components are respectful relationships, diversity and inclusion, and sexuality education.
Sexuality and Relationships Education (SRE) is now a feature of the HPE stream of the Australian Curriculum from Prep to Year 10. Respectful relationships education that promotes gender equality has been identified as a key contributor to reducing Violence Against Women with the Queensland Government recently making respectful relationships education a compulsory initiative of the new Sexual Violence Framework.
However, not everyone in a school environment can, or wants to, deliver this information. Gold Coast Sexology is here to help because there are too many benefits of RSE to not deliver it. Download this flyer for a great summary of how GCSx can support your school.
I provide professional development to staff to implement proactive approaches to several relevant classroom issues. It is advisable that teachers (depending on year level) receive training in:
normal sexual development
sexuality and disability
recognising and responding to problematic sexual behaviours
navigating culture and religion
sexual relationships and consent in adolescence
Age-appropriate SRE allows for information, concepts, and skills to be taught that suit the developmental stage and year level. This also means that most of the information required in primary school can be delivered by a teacher who feels well supported and has received expert instruction and professional development SRE can be both foundational learning and integrated learning. Supporting staff to identify topics they already teach that could explore gender, sexuality, and respectful relationships ensure that SRE learning is reinforced throughout the year. I am also committed to providing inclusive, compassionate and relevant sexuality education to young people covering the issues they face every day; homogeneous and discriminatory messages in pornography, relationships and social media, sexting, consent, and identity.
Managing boundaries and intimate relationships in the workplace in the #MeToo era, sexual harassment, gender equality and sex-discrimination, addressing homophobia and transphobia, recognising trauma, development and auditing policy and procedures and more.
Sexual harassment is not a consensual, flirty bit of fun. It’s an unwelcome sexual advance, request, comment, or action that makes a person feel intimated, uncomfortable or scared. Organisations have a responsibility to make their workplaces free of discrimination. This requires proactive leadership that recognises the need for sexuality education that explores gender-based violence and consent.
Many victims fear also fear repercussions in their workplace from speaking out, such as being overlooked for promotion, or fired. Other workers may have participated in a culture of sexual harassment by being complicit and not intervening. The development of good policies and supportive training around relationships and bystander behaviour can make a big difference, not only to an organisation protecting itself but to the satisfaction and productivity of staff.
Whether it’s creating a culture of change, helping leaders embrace their role in shaping culture, helping teams navigate issues, or equipping people to embrace justice and compassion, my insights are based on theory and experience.
I also offer support and consultancy in developing policies regarding sexual and gender diversity, inclusion, the intersection of technology and sexuality, respectful relationships, and gender equality.
For schools and workplaces, addressing sexual harassment and promoting respectful relationships is important. In schools especially, teachers and school staff should be modelling respectful behaviour to young people even when they aren’t actively teaching it.
If you are interested in working with me there are a number of options available including mentoring, organisational audits, policy development, and curriculum design. Some organisations choose to engage all these services for true system-wide change.