Every year March 8th rolls around, and the world wakes up to recognise and celebrate the countless women who make the backbone of our social structure. The last couple of years have been quite significant in taking celebrations from just being about the cookies and cupcakes to being about the cognisance of social and workplace gender biases. At Garage Society, we care about the community, and being inclusive is our long term commitment. This one extra day just gives us an excuse to share our thoughts on the subject with you.
The true battle is the unconscious biases that creep into everyday conversations, impact judgements and eventually business outcomes. In an organization, not having open and safe communication channels for people who identify as women or non-binary can lead to losing some of the best talent. Here’s how we think one can tackle gender biases and do better in 2020:
Open communication channels, and listen. One of the most common grouses that women in the workplace have is that they don’t feel heard. They’re typecast as having lesser investment in their careers than their male peers. Address this by setting up discussion forums, public and anonymous, open lines of communication, create events to extend opportunities to everyone. One might be surprised at what they hear if they start to listen.
Same work = Same Pay. One step, we at The Garage Society are taking this Women’s Day, is eliminating gender identification and names while screening job applications. We will be evaluating every candidate purely on their skillset and reward them on their performance.
Update language to be more inclusive. This seems like a small and missable step but language forms the basis of all our understanding, it makes us subconsciously bias. Let us ensure that the language used at work is updated to not only address traditionally gendered words and phrases but also intersectionality. E.g. Landowner vs landlord, Police officer vs Policeman, Common person vs common man.
Make equality a part of the culture. Impact cultural change by taking a step beyond just diversity and bring focus on inclusivity. A shift from people just having a seat at the table to also having a voice. Provide a flexible work environment for all, combat stereotypes against each gender, build a secure space for everyone. Don’t interview for specific roles with a specific type of person in mind.
Creating a gender-inclusive workspace starts at the base level with viewing and those who identify as women or non-binary as just people and not classifying them by gender. This, for an organization, means committing to a culture of acceptance, assistance and safety — and making inherit cultural changes that augment that commitment. We’ve gotten on the bandwagon, and there’s plenty of space for everyone to hop on.
25 May, 2020 - HK
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