It is well documented that the pace of efforts to achieve gender diversity are well, slow.
The World Economic Forum argues that gender pay parity is in fact ‘shifting into reverse’, they predict it will now take 217 years to be achieved, adding an additional 170 years, to its earlier estimate, made less than 12 months ago. Sharing of power, influence and most importantly opportunities for growth and advancement between men and women, is essential to fully unlock the human potential we need to navigate our disrupted, devolved and democratised future. This is an immutable fact.
However, we must guard against assuming a mindset that diversity (of any kind) is simply anchored in demographic traits or characteristics e.g. age, gender, ethnicity etc. This leads us to potentially make two mistakes. The first is to assume that only diversity which can be easily seen or observed matters, leading us to discount important factors as cognitive or experiential diversity. Secondly, to assume that all people who share a specific demographic characteristic, have the same needs, aspirations or face the same challenges e.g. assuming all or only women suffer from imposter syndrome.
In Australia, the trend is moving beyond thinking about diversity and moving past inclusion to ‘Balance and Belonging’ where everyone has a stake in the conversation and fulfils their fundamental need to belong.
So, with such an intensive focus on gender parity and with the beginning of what is sure to be another demanding year, pause, just for a moment and remind yourself:
- No matter how diverse we may be, there is always more that we share and have in common, that can bind and unify us. Look for what is shared, not just what is different between us.
- Celebrate individuality, promote personalisation and actively encourage uniqueness #proudtobeme. We want everyone to be proud of who they are.
- Let’s curtail our natural instinct to put people into boxes, based on observable differences and instead look more deeply at the potential that exists when you begin to harness some of the hidden magic, latent in less easily observed forms of diversity. #nomoreboxes. This is the true essence of inclusion.
So, what can you do right now, right this second? It’s remarkably simple to make a change. Look around, look at what prior to reading this blog you would have turned a ‘blind eye’ to – then remind yourself that as a leader the standard you walk by, is the standard you accept. Now…what are you not going to ‘walk by’ this year?
If you would like to explore ways to walk in a different direction, then feel free to contact Fiona at Theron or Justine Whitaker +44 7444 185 351; https://www.linkedin.com/in/justine-whitaker/
On a final note, Fiona and I thought you might enjoy this clip – powerful and impactful.