Will we wake up tomorrow and be inclusive?
Focusing on what works for workplace diversity, is a hard nut to crack. Many companies focus on diversity training and back this up with HR policies and procedures. They ensure all staff have the training, and managers are tasked to implement ‘diversity’- (to ensure everyone says and acts appropriately and inclusively)
But here’s the thing, even if we agree we will wake up tomorrow and be inclusive, its hard to follow through with those virtuous intentions.
You cant replace unconscious bias with a training program
I don’t think that you can train mind-sets to be inclusive, because you cant replace unconscious bias. So if I think engineer, I think men, if I think carer I think women, if I think Chief Executive, I think men and if I think nurse I will certainly think women.
For years company’s have been throwing money at the problem, offering diversity training, leadership programs, trying to help traditionally disadvantaged groups including not only women but people of colour and disabilities.
Then fix it!
But what if this is not the way to go? What if we were to tackle the problem of inequality and inclusion by understanding what’s broken, then try to fix it?
So here is a list of some of what we know is broken:
- Unequal pay for same work
- Fewer women in leadership
- Few women going into science and technology
- Childcare availability and costs and low/unpaid care work.
- Violence against women
- Social attitude and mindsets.
Empower women to fix the social bias.
A Scottish Borders employer ‘Lochcarron of Scotland’ recently sponsored a female empowerment workshop. The workshop offered 5 women a day to discuss equality, social bias and how their mindsets and attitudes held them back in business and in life. Importantly how they could be part of the solution.
This empowerment workshop dug deep into why and how women must be part of the solution. Women often don’t even realise they may be adding to social bias and making them norms in society.
Shock, light bulb moments and life changing learning takes place. These 5 women will never be the same again, they have begun to understand why they are experiencing and feeling inequality in the home and in the workplace. They are now part of the solution.
Is this feminism? Well yes- its Contemporary Feminism.
To capture the economic opportunity, government, private-sector organisations, and other groups should undertake a package of actions to remove direct barriers to women working; create better opportunities to enable them to work in the most productive sectors, occupations, and roles; and reshape the underlying social norms and attitudes that define the choices women make, and the way society receives and supports those choices.
Women must be reminded just how powerful and influential they really are.
Women MUST be part of the reshape, and to do this they need to reshape themselves and enlighten their daughters and take active part of elevating women in this world.
Employers who embrace empowered women
Lochcarron is a private sector organisation and the first business in Scotland to run this workshop.
Huge thanks to Lochcarron and their HR and Operations Director David Riddell for leading the way.
Our company was delighted to sponsor the If Not You-Who? female empowerment program. We make every effort to break down barriers which may impact on our female staff, and welcome workshops such as this to inspire our workforce to be part of the company and help re shape it for what we hope generations to come.
A lot of our staff are from the same local town and families, so we feel its important they know they are the heart of the business.