Just before Christmas I was having a conversation about whether our industry had improved as far as gender inequality was concerned. The comment was made. Whilst ‘we’ may consider that gender equality had improved was that more to do with our age. Are sexist comments still as prevalent toward younger females as they always have been? Someone of fewer years felt the reality was, it was no better.
It’s so tough.
On a day-to-day basis my life has moved on. I am more often to be found in meetings where gender is immaterial. But that doesn’t stop the infrequent ‘other’ meetings. Where I will be found as one of the few females in the room. And regardless of what I am presenting on, all the questions aimed at me, the female, will be about how we can move towards a more equal representation.
It’s not that I don’t mind the questions. But a man is as well placed to respond.
And truthfully, I know everything that I have been faced with, that I have engaged in, as a younger woman working in a male dominated sector.
And I don’t know whether my attitude, my maturity, my status has changed how people respond to me. Or that it is society becoming more appreciate of equality, of inclusivity. But I have to admit, my suspicion is I’m out-of-touch.
But I hope there is dual control. Taking control, age and gender regardless.
I wrote a post a few weeks ago about my issue with the gender pay-gap being based solely on a women’s ability to get pregnant. And I am grateful for the positive response.
A week later I was in a room discussing how inclusivity, fairness and respect should be the qualities which prevail.
And it’s difficult, not to be carried on a wave. But, when later, you’re still convinced by everything you’ve heard. It has to be worth sharing.
One of the key phrases I’ve learned is that of ‘micro-affirmations‘. When you work in a male-dominated world, or any other world which makes you feel like you’re in the minority, all you hear is the reasons why not. And all you want to hear is that you’re doing a good job, that hopefully, you’re making a difference.Offering a micro-affirmation to those you work with may not change anything, but then again, it might be the thing which makes the world of difference.
Other challenges which I pondered included how to make a change. The problem that we have is that whilst we have people around us who want to make a change, we don’t change anything. If we do things the way they’ve always been done, why do we expect a different result? I am constantly against people who have ‘the book’ on their side. The reality is, we need to question, is the book wrong?
In my previous post I wrote that we prefer people with experience, and if those people are generally white men of a certain age (because they are the only ones who have been traditionally employed in the advertised roles)- how will we create change?
First hearing about ‘blind casting‘ through social media in the arts in Wales, I learned more about ‘blind auditions’ in orchestras through the learning of a significant construction client. Learning how ‘blind auditions’ has made a significant change to job offers.
And there is no option but to agree, if we always do what we’ve always done, why wouldn’t we expect the same result? So we have to commit to change? As the favourite motivational quote goes, we need to be the change we want to see in the world.
I have learned so much about the damage of being passive.
It’s not enough that I make up the numbers.
I also learned about how to be the change in someone else’s world. A fantastic analogy was offered. That I can be somebody’s brake. I can support someone to go as fast as they can safely. That I can help someone go as fast as they can.
I can help someone be the best that they can. As so many people before have enabled me to be.
And yes, revolution isn’t dependent on a mass uprising.
It can be made possible from me helping people step up. In multiple, of every person who has enabled me to step up.
Change will not be made by isolated examples. But by those isolated examples uniting, to show the benefit of doing things differently.
To the benefit of society.
To the benefit of the life we chose to live.