Are you interested in gender diversity topics? In the last decade that has become, increasingly, a non-negotiable mandate for international corporates.
Almost all are currently carrying a full diversity and inclusion program! Especially, gender diversity.
Some of those corporates are really successful in achieving the “numbers” but only a few among those I came across are successful in achieving the essence of it, i.e. attaining targets whilst keeping the women living as women should live.
Here’s the paradox:
Gender diversity and inclusion programs are meant to provide women with a healthy and “fair” environment where they can succeed, grow and prosper. Most of the successful corporates were able to apply that concept except for the “fair” rule, they apply a “same” rule instead and assume that “Same” is equal to “Fair”.
In my opinion, when it comes to gender diversity at workplace, Fair and Same can never substitute each other, actually “Same” is usually “Unfair”.
The big mistake (or Sin if you like), that corporate leaders commit is, directly and indirectly, pushing women to lose more of who they are and gain more of what men are in order to stay entitled for the “same” opportunities that pop up wearing a full makeup of “fairness”.
let’s make the point clearer and more straightforward; except in the few wise cultures, in order for a woman to have the same opportunities of success in a big corporate, she should work same hours like a man, manage the same stuff, handle the same stress, stay for the same over time, work at home, enter the same battles, show the same level of alignment with the same set of values, travel/commute for the same time!
It wouldn’t take you so long looking at that picture, objectively, to be able to tell it’s exceptionally insane.
It doesn’t only miss all sense but it also makes those corporates lose the whole point (and benefits) of having more women.
Why do I think that is a total-loss case?
Let’s step back and recall the beginning.
The essence of creating a balance between different genders, in the first place, was gaining energy balance (Masculine-Feminine energy balance) that reflects on culture, workplace psychology, decision making, go-to-market plans, and the customer experience in order to serve the diversified community better, isn’t it?
What’s practically happening most of the time is that corporates hire and grow more women with authentic/highly needed female energy, throw them in an aggressive sameness machine, and the rest is history. A culture of sameness encourages what I call “virtual gender conversion”, as a shortcut for women to adapt and live safely.
What should we fix? (I’m delighted you asked)
Only for leaders who are seriously and genuinely interested in healthy gender diversity rather than junk, be aware that a female (especially a mom) who joins or steps up to add all that precious value, comes also with big responsibilities at home. Stuff that doesn’t allow her to work in the same circumstances that feel ok for men! In order to do something about it, flexibility in leadership and a whole new setup and mindset are needed.
And the advice is
Give them a FAIR chance not the SAME chance. Ask them what to do, allow them to live a full woman’s life, to focus on their big role at home, to take good care of themselves.
Permit your female employees to freely display they’re (supposedly high level) of female energy in care, love, vulnerability, connection, then let them succeed and grow, not (despite) but, (because of) all the differences they bring to work and life.
Then, and only then, you can announce your successful achievement of gender diversity goals.