A while ago now, I advertised a Gender Audit Workshop that was taking place and that I thought would be of interest to someone other than myself. A chap called me to get some additional information. As I was trying to explain what the workshop was about and how it would benefit business, he abruptly interrupted stating “so this is just another ‘beep, beep’ thing for you ‘beep, beep’ women!”
I responded “actually my dear, you males are also a gender!”
As amusing as this is, it is also quite sad that many individuals, both male and female, feel so disempowered and that the fact is that they feel so disempowered because of their own skewered perceptions.
In the interests of clarity, let’s make sure that we all understand exactly what each of these terms mean before we go any further.
According to the google dictionary, gender is defined as “Either male or female division of a species, especially as differentiated by social and cultural roles and behavior.”
Gender Diversity on the other hand, according to Wikipedia is “A term referring to how different genders are represented in a relevant setting. Primarily the term is often used to refer to females and males, though in some contexts and research the term may also refer to those who fall into the non-binary categories of gender.”
The reality of course, is that more than 50% of the population are women. The statistics show that more girl children than boy children are getting degrees at university and yet there are more men being employed in senior positions than women. How does that even make any kind of sense? Surely as a business owner who is employing someone in a senior position, you would want to employ the very best that a) your budget would allow for and b) the very best person who has the correct qualifications and skills that your budget would allow? I know I would! Yet statistics also show that men are still being employed in decision making positions over qualified and skilled women. How does that make any kind of good business sense? By doing this you are actually restricted your access to more than 50% of the qualified and skilled individuals that you need to employ – why on earth would you do that?
Part of the challenge of course in terms of the representation is getting the balance right. The last thing that you want to do is make the pendulum swing too far in the opposite direction – that too would not make any kind of business sense.
In my opinion, the other greatest challenge is not to” isolate” anyone. It should be an inclusive process!
It’s about getting everyone involved. It’s about getting those who have the experience, the knowledge and the skills, sharing with those who do not – not to then exclude the ‘teachers’ from the workplace but rather to include the ‘students’ into the workplace.
It’s about levelling the playing field so that everybody contributes to the team and more specifically to a team that pulls in the same direction for the greater good of everyone in the company.
So if you decide to make the transition and include the whole gender diversity into your company culture, make sure that your intention is one of inclusion.
Make sure that your goals are one of inclusion!
Make sure that your action plan is one of inclusion!
Including women in every aspect of your business and getting the balance and equality right, is not only morally and ethically right, it is also quite possibly the best business decision that you will ever make.