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Interview
Advancing gender responsive standards: Q&A with Eddy Ng

March 8, 2022

Advancing gender responsive standards: Q&A with Eddy Ng

Eddy Ng is the Smith Professor of Equity & Inclusion in Business at Queen’s University. He was previously the James & Elizabeth Freeman Professor of Management and DEI Faculty Fellow at Bucknell University, and the F.C. Manning Chair in Economics and Business at Dalhousie University. Eddy is a member of the ISO/IEC Joint Strategic Advisory Group (JSAG) on gender-responsive standards.

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Interview
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Q.

Why are standards important to creating a world that is diverse, equitable and inclusive?

A.

Standards affect our lives through the products, processes, and services we consume and undertake. They also ensure our safety and well-being in what we do, where we live, and how we play. But inequities in society exist, different individuals experience life differently even when they use the same products, perform the same work, and are exposed to the same environment or stimuli. Some individuals experience bias and discrimination, others face barriers they cannot overcome by themselves, and some are more vulnerable to risks than others. These individuals may lack the agency or capacity to protect or care for themselves from harm and injury.

Standards are important because they can assist with correcting societal biases and ensure that the content, requirements, and application of standards benefit everyone despite their individual and group differences.

Q.

What is the mission of ISO/IEC JSAG on gender-responsive standards and how is it working to achieve its mission?

A.

The ISO/IEC has as their mandates the creation of guidelines to streamline processes, best practices, and safety standards. Most of these standards have been developed by professionals who are historically men. As a result, there has been little awareness and recognition that existing standards may not be universally effective or helpful across diverse groups – especially between men and women.

The ISO/IEC JSAG aims to draw awareness and provide guidance to standards developers to create more gender sensitive and gender responsive standards. This necessitates that the needs, experiences, and concerns of both men and women are considered and incorporated into standards as they are being created and updated.

Q.

How does the work of ISO/IEC JSAG advance UN Sustainable Development Goal 5 on Gender equality?

A.

The work of ISO/IEC JSAG directly contributes to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5 to end discrimination and empower women and girls. Greater proactive gender action can eliminate bias, promote gender parity, and ensure that women and girls have equitable access to and attain equal success as men in education, employment, health, and well-being. In short, equitable standards build a fairer and more just society.

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