Gender Diversity: Where are we now?
On Wednesday 13th November, Kerning the Gap kindly lent us Natalie Maher, their powerhouse Founder, for a morning dedicated to the issue of gender diversity.
For those who missed out, here is a summary of what we learnt (and why you should definitely be at our next breakfast event).
1. Try checking your bias
If you’re in any doubt about whether you have a subconscious bias and what it is, you can now go online and find out, thanks to the very clever people at Harvard University, who have made 14 Implicit Association Tests freely available at https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html. The IAT’s are sectioned into categories ranging from age, weight, skin tone and of course, gender; each seeks to reveal any automatic preferences you may have. You’ll then receive a score which you can either brag about or work towards improving.
Getting your team to check their bias’ is a great starting place for talks about inequalities within your organisation.
2. A flexible work structure and gender equality go hand in hand
Only 1% of shared parental leave was actually taken in 2018 in the UK, which means that issues which arise when raising children (guilt, stress, squeezing 5 days into 3) still falls mainly on the shoulders of women.
If there is to be gender equality within your organisation, you will need to adapt at least a semi-flexible approach to working.
During just one of the morning’s lively discussions, our fab MD Karina blew the room's mind with the mention of a “9 day fortnight”. If bosses are keen on 4 day weeks they may be swayed by this.
3. Switch up your internal policies – simple but effective
Personal development programmes are brilliant when done well, and vital to keeping your company responsive to the real needs of your employees. If you currently don’t have a PDP or meetings are frequently overlooked or pushed back, it might be time to pay them some attention.
Invest in your talent with PDP’s or by supporting or establish leadership programmes
Normalise self-promotion and support the “confidence gap” which makes women more hesitant to ask for a pay rise or promotions.
Uncomfortable conversations shouldn’t be avoided.
4. Get a mentor
A mentor whom you respect I priceless. If you currently don’t have one the Kerning the Gap mentorship programme is currently taking submissions for 2020.
5. Men must be part of the conversation
“Men are not the enemy”, was something Nat keenly reiterated during her talk.
“When men call out biased behaviour without women being in the room, we’ll know that progress has been made”
We naturally tend to fight for causes which are directly related to us, and therefore men tend not to pillage for gender diversity as they believe it doesn’t affect them. This is why we encouraged men to attend by offering free tickets to all those who identified as male. 95% of the room was still female however, but we appreciate all the guys who did come along & join in the conversation.