The most persistent and pervasive barrier to achieving gender equality in workplaces, and in society generally, is the attitude that people hold about it. In psychology-speak, people hold stereotypes about women and men and their expected behaviours and roles in life.
Understanding your organisation’s current state in relation to diversity and inclusion is foundational to any efforts to improve diversity and inclusion. Most organisations undertake a comprehensive consultation programme to determine where they could best direct efforts to improve diversity and inclusion. Conducting a diversity survey is often a part of that consultation programme.
International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on how far we have come as a society and economy on the road to gender equality, and to further reflect on the road ahead. In light of this year’s campaign theme, ‘Press for Progress’, facilitated by Karen Illes, panellists Kristin Lopes, Paul O’Halloran, Nareen Young and Dr Heidi Sundin joined together in a collaborative discussion to answer the question of how we can continue to press for progress towards gender equality.
One of the things we notice with many organisations starting out on the gender equality journey is the tendency to jump straight into implementing a series of gender equality related activities. These can often include women’s networks, informal mentoring, unconscious bias training, and a range of other initiatives.
While these may actually be great programs in their own rights, what we observe is that they are often disconnected from the business and HR strategy, they may not have the support from management, and they are not part of an overarching strategy aligned towards a more deliberate goal.
‘Culture’ is, in simple terms, ‘the way we do things around here’. In workplaces, it means the ways that people develop and maintain relationships with their colleagues, how work is organised, who makes things happen, and how things happen. Workplace culture includes the way that colleagues socialise, how and when meetings happen, and the rituals that go with being a part of a culture. Rituals can include after work drinks, weekend outings, end of year functions and the ways that people are welcomed and farewelled.