F|Word

a b

Happy 2016!

Yes I have been gone for a while. Life (and Netflix) has kept me pre-occupied until now, that I am compelled to voice my opinion – though most would argue that I don’t need much compelling as my personality is opinionated. But what the Fudge, there is nothing wrong with being opinionated.

This issue has been nagging at me for over a week. It’s not just a personal issue; it’s a major societal issue, a burning organisational issue, a man issue, a woman issue, a human kind issue -which needs urgent attention.

It’s a male dominated industry I’ve been working in ever since the start of my career – Technology. The gender balance is skewed heavily in favour of men.  At face value there seems to be no issue, men & women collaborate towards organisations strategic targets, achieve success in their collective projects, all as one big happy team, but under the surface there is an infestation of subtle discrimination, gender biases, and sexual innuendos.

The biggest concern for me is not that these issues exist, but, the fact that women brush it under the carpet and laugh it off. Why? I can’t comprehend the reasons. Women should not be impressed at being showered with compliments from male colleagues – would those male colleagues compliment another bloke on their outfit, colour of lipstick or hair. No. Then why treat women different? We are hired for our capabilities and skills and that is how we should be perceived. I find it offensive when my male colleagues go out of their way to remind me of my femininity, regardless of good intentions. I am not at work as a feminine; I am at work as a capable and skilful professional. Treat me as such. With Respect.

The workplace needs to be gender neutral, de-sexualised. How will women be taken seriously for senior leadership positions when they are considered as sexual objects?

There is a threat to achieving the gender equity commitment that most organisations have embarked upon (50% gender equity ratio in leadership positions), if men continue to harbour unconscious biases. On the surface they may be OK to see women being promoted all around them to achieve gender equity objective, but are they really OK? What is being done to help males understand the rationale & science behind why gender equity is important? They need to be taken on the journey, or else there is a risk this becomes a statistical exercise causing resentment which inadvertently snowballs out of control.

This mindset, possibly unconscious bias, needs to change in men and organisations have an obligation to effectively implement this change. Men and Women need to take equal responsibility to neutralise these biases and appreciate our contributions & determination in the workplace – minus the biases, once and for all.

© as|fa 2016

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