For years women have been campaigning for equality and for the most part we appear to have succeeded. Some may argue that the tables have turned and it is men who have become marginalised with women’s groups thriving and the initiatives that are available in support of women in general and especially in business. I must admit an overwhelming frustration of mine is the need for us as a society to label, and this type of segregation causes more divisions rather than unity and ultimately perpetuates self-fulfilling prophecies. Surely, we are all human beings shouldn’t we be celebrating our differences and embracing the diversity of our communities and society? I believe everyone is unique and to label by gender seems incredibly outdated and curious to me. Isn’t the measure about performance and capability not what sex you are? The women only groups seem to serve a purpose and offer opportunities to women and therefore I cannot knock it, but isn’t it time to all work alongside one another and be recognised equally?
This is the reason why, I would like to ask: “Are we nearly there yet?” Hasn’t it been a hundred years already? The gender pay gap currently causing difficulties for companies supports the answer “no”, – we have a way to go yet. Women representation at board level leads me to believe there is still much progress to be made here too. A key question is not only HOW do we change this but WHY is it still a consideration in 2017? Legislation is supportive and this is a great move forward, however, where is society pushing the boundaries? Shouldn’t we be doing more by acting to disengage from those fostering outdated viewpoints? Sexual harassment is still a problem in the workplace, yet the issue is not properly policed or prevented or even discussed. Unconscious bias and inappropriate language remains ingrained in many a corporate culture. From overt and blatant phrases like: “it’s nice to have a pretty face to talk to” or “nice legs” or recently this one was shared with me “why do you wear those high heeled shoes to impress me?”. To the more subtle bias embedded in our society, such as the description of a senior woman in business as a “mother” written in her bio. How often do you read that a male leader is a father?
My final thought to leave you with. How are you truly living your own personal values at work? “Take your whole self to work”, is a phrase I’ve learned in recent years, if we are to be authentic and behave as respectful human beings we need to stand up for what we believe and take appropriate action to call out poor behaviours and reduce the compromising of these fundamentals. Are you going to be the person to stand up for your beliefs and support your colleague/individual whose values are being compromised? WE ARE HUMAN; it’s time to make the change!