Are we really brave enough to tackle diversity and gender issues in the workplace?
The diversity dilemma debate continues...
How do we increase the % of women and decrease the % of men in boardroom positions and everywhere else it seems, but is it right there should be male and female dominated professions?
Key Root Question - Is this an oversimplification because we can't cope with anything other than these fixed and stereotyped images of masculine and feminine roles in society, gender, sexuality and ethnicity? Is that what stops us acting or doing more on the diversity agenda?
In the latest article on guidance for gender % on boards, Lord Davies's recommendation of at least 33% should be female by 2020 or is that aiming too low? Should our boards be better represented in diversity terms both in gender and other minority groups?
The answer logically is yes. However does that mean every organisation, every profession, every situation be balanced like this, or should there be room for certain professions or situations where that blanket rule shouldn't apply?
Are we forcing square pegs into round holes?
There is another interesting piece of research (just released) from Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge on male and female brains. It compares earnings and suggests different ways of working linked (systemising vs empathising, defined as male brain and female brains), but of course it's not that simple.
Pigeon holes keep us sane (or do they) ...
So in our desire to simplify our understanding of gender roles and gender characteristics and avoid confusing the diversity agenda, in fact what we are being forced into is stereotyping individuals into pigeon holes, males and females, the masculine and the feminine ways of doing things (and perhaps why we seem to have many issues with getting to grips with the concept and practicalities of transgender) into these pockets so we don't have to deal/discuss with issues in the public domain - i.e. in the workplace, because they are out of our comfort zone and also are stiffly protected by legislation that scares us into not even being able to talk about it openly.
Challenging and changing times for Leaders at all levels
These are real issues for individuals and HR functions and Business Leaders as they so deeply affect the way individuals are treated not only in the workplace but by society as a whole. However, until we can discuss issues more openly, but in a supportive and admit, we don't yet understand everything but are open to that learning process unfortunately so many aren't).
Education and learning supported by effective process
When you feel more or less completely comfortable, a balanced diverse profile of employees at every level makes sense, until then, education and learning is the only pathway, combined with underlying balanced processes that support this process can help deliver better outcomes for everyone involved.
JOHN | THINKING HR