Get involved - 3 simple ways you can help address harassment & discrimination in your workplace.
As a Diversity & Inclusion specialist who’s been working in the gender equality, diversity & inclusion space since the late 80s, I have seen extensive well-intentioned talk, policy development and tactics being used by leaders and staff champions committed to improving gender and workplace equality and inclusive workplaces for all - with varying impact.
In recent months we have seen 2 sensational stories hit the press demonstrating the amount of sexism in the entertainment industry in 2017! These examples of pay inequity and sexual harassment show how far we still must come to create safe workplaces, and a level playing field for pay and career opportunity for everyone.
According to ABC Media Watch over 500 items were published within one week about Lisa Wilkinson walking out of Channel 9 to go to Channel 10 as a result of an unequal pay offer - despite an outstanding 10 year history of career achievement! And what’s more having 3 women on the Channel 9 Board made no difference to this outcome.
In Hollywood we have seen the Harvey Weinstein scandal, where it appears unacceptable behaviour has been condoned by influential men and women for decades. By not speaking out these power brokers have allowed this behaviour to continue.
Since these stories broke social media has been “alive” with stories of Australian women sharing similar experiences of sexual harassment and pay inequity in Australian organisations through the ‘me too’ campaign.
In my experience it’s all too easy to “blame the victim” for not speaking up, or to see the alleged perpetrator as “one bad apple”. Yet the evidence is the issue is systemic! We need to care and listen to understand the fear of speaking up and rocking the boat in many organisations. We also need to educate ourselves on unconscious bias and how these add invisibility to existing management power differentials, pay inequity and exclusion.
Unless we all care and speak up these inequities will continue. We have to tackle the systemic and cultural barriers as a business issue. Over the next few weeks I will share with you some of my thoughts, experiences and practical suggestions on what I have seen work when leaders, staff and organisations take shared action.
To start with for today, I have 3 top tips to help you take confident action to increase inclusion:
1. Identify the issue – educate yourself to understand the science of bias and exclusion
2. Get involved – listen and join others in efforts to increase equity (within your organisation or externally) “the behaviour you walk past is the standard you accept”
3. Improve – Speak up and support others who are being made to feel small or excluded. Don’t forget everyone has a role to play in helping to create a safe, respectful, and inclusive workplace for everyone.
If you're interested in finding out more about how to make real change happen in your own workplace, get in touch today.