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If you are a working woman, you acknowledge that workplaces aren’t exactly fair all the time, but you may not be able to do anything about it.
Despite the best practices today on Diversity and Inclusion, we still see small numbers in the C-suite. Some may argue that it is because women are compelled to fall off the career trajectory when their families demand more of their time or even that women prioritize their personal lives over their careers out of their own choice.
But the woman that chooses to stay and grow in the workplace knows but cannot always point to an explicit bias.
This is not about being blindsided by the compensation paid to her peers or her having to wait longer for that promotion, as those are just consequences.
It is about the subtlety with which her boss gives that important and visible piece of work to her male colleague, who is available to work at midnight. Yes, she will not prioritize that because she chooses her sleep to be able to wake up and get her kids ready for school the next morning.
It may also be about the casual stand up meetings the guys have over a smoke outside the office or their sports chats over lunch that helps them build the working relationship that is required to get the job done. What choice does she have but to fit in to the boys club? What if she chooses not to? If she doesn’t want to fit in, does she make peace that its not a fair world? That the pace of her career is because of her personal choices?
Inclusion, to me, is not having to fit in at all. Diversity demands that opportunities are equitable, because resulting rewards are a function of opportunity.
So its the process that we need to focus on. When we continue to demand that companies publish their average salaries by gender or that companies have programs to hire more women, we continue to focus on the outcomes rather than the process that leads there.
Unless we have more men demanding to have the choices that women conveniently make, more men and women being sensitive to their unconscious biases, more organizational cultures wanting to change the the everyday work ethic, the opportunity divide will exist. Diversity and inclusion would remain a lip service.
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