Gender equality — R Voice

Gender equality

Raj sundaram
Raj sundaram Member Posts: 322 ✭✭✭✭
edited March 23 in Self-care & Wellbeing

Continuing with @chris leonard 's conversation...here's a really interesting article. Perhaps, a realistic and more balanced outlook to creating gender balance and diversity from the point of view of individuals and the organization. Woman washing...isn't specific to Japan, me thinks. Would love to know what you all think about this.



Comments

  • Raj sundaram
    Raj sundaram Member Posts: 322 ✭✭✭✭

    @Dahlia T ....would love to know your take on this article. 😊

  • Dahlia T
    Dahlia T Member Posts: 91 ✭✭✭✭

    @Raj sundaram , I see you are calling me out ... he he he 😊 I appreciate you pulling me off the sidelines and forcing me out of my comfort zone. I tend to not speak up or speak out, for fear I have nothing to contribute or my thoughts will not be so welcoming, as often I tend to 'express' things in a Dahlia way, or simply because I have been told one times too many a version of 'your thoughts are not welcome here' ... 😉

    I think the article made quite a few solid points. This portion especially captured the very essence of it all. I put some bits in bold.

    This process can happen in business and politics when the reality of gender imbalance collides with an urgent need to appear otherwise. In such cases, a candidate's gender outweighs any assessment of the person's other qualifications. Counterintuitively, this hurts the cause of gender equality in the long run.

    First, an appointment made in the interests of womenwashing lacks transparency and can imply that the appointee has not met the same qualifications as others. This can result in resentment from peers, whose lack of support makes the success of her job even more difficult. It is not fair to the woman and is hardly a desired outcome for the organization.

    Moreover, such appointments make women appear interchangeable with one another -- that they are in the role only because they are women. Such a stigma can weigh heavily on the appointee.

    Sometimes even the intention behind womenwashing can be malicious. The term "glass cliff" refers to a crisis in which a woman leader is hurled at a monumental challenge. It is a lucky break if she manages to steer clear, and it is also acceptable even if she does not. The organization takes consolation from the nod of approval it gets for having been so progressive as to appoint a woman to handle such a high-stakes situation. Throwing a woman from a glass cliff is sexism in disguise.

    As I read through the article I could not help making a very obvious connection. I found that many of the points the writer was making were synonymous with the approach long taken with 'equity and diversity' and the placing of persons of visible minority in select roles. It is a two edged sword, as sometimes persons are placed in situations they are not equipped/properly trained to handle, therefore they are set up to fail before they have even begun. The end statement will be 'see they were not cut out for the role', when really it is was all a pretext. You see, they were placed in a trophy case situation to make up a quota and were not properly on boarded or given the right tools and support to succeed in the role. Many doing the placing do not even believe they have a chance of succeeding but they do so bowing under pressure. Additionally, the actual qualifications of such persons are overlooked, as they are placed in 'equity and diversity' roles merely because they 'look' the 'diverse' part, when in fact they are qualified to do so much more, hence under the pretext of mobility they are put in a glass ceiling position, do only so much and no more. This results also in resentment from other colleagues who believe they only 'got there' because of diversity, they many not get the support they need to succeed, and they are quite likely to suffer from that 'imposter syndrome' with recurrent thoughts of ' Do I belong here?', 'Is this all I am capable of doing?', and so forth.

    As the author says, " we need to put substance over symbolism". Because I dare ask, what really are we hoping to achieve and what is the best way to do so?

    On a side note, I must confess I am equally concerned with (1) the men in our society - In the scream for gender equality and pushing for women to get ahead, we often neglect boys and men who are struggling, and boys and men who are in positions of authority and must stay there as that is what is expected from our males in society. We think it is up to the women, because they have been left behind, they are the caregivers etc etc ...I dare say, is that all true? What about our boys and our men? What is their role in all this? How can we better educate them so they can get on board with what truly needs to be done!? | (2) Those women who scream for gender equality and finally get ahead but become stumbling blocks to other women sitting at table - As women when we get ahead, are we truly helping other women to succeed or do we then become a part of the problem, holding other women back by our very behaviour? | (3) The other women at the table and how they treat that woman who makes it to the next level -Think of it. How many times have we seen and heard those hurtful resentful statements from one woman to another. The same women screaming for gender equality who now ignore that woman leader to defer to the one man at the table ... even if he is not the qualified one.

    You see as women we have two things we need to deal with, men (yes yes the visual that everyone sees) but more importantly, ourselves as 'women'.

    I am purposefully driven to water the soil to grow the seed that is already planted. 

  • Raj sundaram
    Raj sundaram Member Posts: 322 ✭✭✭✭
    edited April 1

    @Dahlia T thanks so much for the really in depth viewpoint. Once again, it just feels like you are another me (and perhaps, I am another you) in a different geographical location. 🤣I'm still thinking through the content and coining my response. Will get back soon. 🙏

    But quickly responding to...

    "I tend to not speak up or speak out, for fear I have nothing to contribute or my thoughts will not be so welcoming, ... 😉"

    Haha. I get where you are coming from. Similar experience. 🤣

    But...I disagree on the "nothing to contribute" bit. I think views of people like you (and yours truly) are necessary because the table is too tilted one way. And you are amazing with digging deeper in an era of meme-speak. 🙂

    Next, thankfully, this platform is more open and tolerates viewpoints that are a tad different from the usual "manage yourself/self help..... success/happiness is within reach irrespective of external circumstances if you work harder, be positive, love/accept yourself a bit more, believe yourself, be more confident, be a better you, make the mythical right choices, manage your stress, meditate, get your work/life balance....the power is in you" narrative.

    (A lot of people don't seem to realize the corollary of this narrative. How in reality this ostensibly empowering narrative is actually viciously disempowering. And how of course it all can be really empowering if we create actually nurturing environments. ..anyway...I'm digressing.)

    So, finally there is space for people willing to dirty hands digging deeper going beyond easy answers and band aid solutions for complex issues.

    Thanks to you and this platform, I feel I have met someone who perhaps, shares and sees my thought process. I feel we have stuff in common. Perhaps, from what I read from your comments...... similar kind of experiences. 🙂

    Honestly, it has been a bit lonely. 🙃

  • Dahlia T
    Dahlia T Member Posts: 91 ✭✭✭✭

    @Raj sundaram, you hit it on the head with this bit ... "it all can be really empowering if we create actually nurturing environments".

    I am sorry it has been 'lonely' for you. I do know what you mean though ... and my friend, within this community you (we) are among 'friends' ... I, for one, look forward to seeing your write-ups. We learn and we grow through experiencing, observing, sharing, and receiving. We all joined this community because we are in search of a space that will allow us to openly share our own journeys, both the sparkling and the less sparkling moments. We are here so others can grow from our experiences and we can grow from theirs, to nurturing each other as we continue our journeys. Let us seek continually to empower each other. And I dare say, let us as individuals also start taking back our own power. We have made it this far ... because we have what it takes. It was not a fluke 🎓️

    I am purposefully driven to water the soil to grow the seed that is already planted. 

  • Raj sundaram
    Raj sundaram Member Posts: 322 ✭✭✭✭
    edited April 21


    @Dahlia T Finally, I have some time to sit down and write a proper response. I think you hit the nail on the head about points 1-3.

    About the men: There are "nice guys" who are punished for non-alpha behaviors.....or are forced/brainwashed to change themselves to survive the alpha culture (which typically gets rewarded in the west, especially...).

    Here is an interesting article on this...🙂

    https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20210310-why-the-nice-guy-penalty-disadvantages-all-workers.

    So - there needs to be sensitization and it is essential to bring men with different outlooks and behaviors into the conversation. There are various leadership models, after all. And we need followers as well - if everyone becomes the leader...who follows?!! 😂

    I feel this is less about man or woman or gender...It is more about what kinds of behaviors are culturally rewarded and deemed desirable. And what we value as societies...

    What is really needed is to broaden cultural perspectives and to stop rewarding excessive alphaness....or have a narrative where only alphaness is seen desirable irrespective of gender/sexual orientation. I think...

    The women you mention in points (2) and (3) - god!! Awesome points. As an addition, I notice two narratives arising from some women who "made it"

    A. "I made it and therefore, you can too. You just need to work harder, be smarter, be more confident, seem more confident, lean in, be more assertive...fake it till you make it....here is my formula..."

    ("And I will conveniently forget the role of chance and/or privilege in getting me here.") 😉

    B. "I made it. Therefore, there are no gender issues. Women who didnt make it are perhaps, simply incompetent. Not my problem."

    ("And I will conveniently forget the role of chance and/or privilege in getting me here.") 😉

    The essential message from these quarters seems to be - "if you dont make it, it is your fault. become better..." ;)

  • Dahlia T
    Dahlia T Member Posts: 91 ✭✭✭✭

    @Raj sundaram, as I was reading your reply I realised I was silently nodding. Those two narratives you mentioned? Yes, I have heard them too, whether expressed in the same or a different way. I dare say my friend, this is the clincher :

    "I feel this is less about man or woman or gender...It is more about what kinds of behaviors are culturally rewarded and deemed desirable. And what we value as societies..."

    The world around us has changed and is constantly changing. Thanks to some of those changes, we are all in a better place. However, some of them have stripped us of little pieces of our humanity. Today's society thrives on intense competition and fierce rivalry. We are constantly being pushed to be the best, to always be ahead ...and unfortunately many will step on or over others to get to where they think they need to be. In a recent conversation, someone mentioned, 'what would love do?' I imagine what our places of work and humanity would be like if we remember to think, act, and speak in 'love'.

    I am purposefully driven to water the soil to grow the seed that is already planted. 

  • Jayashree Rajagopalan
    Jayashree Rajagopalan Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 225 admin

    @Dahlia T @Raj sundaram - stoked to see that you've had such an interesting and deep conversation about a topic that is so close to your hearts. I just wanted to share my thoughts on something meta - over and above the issue you're discussing:

    I tend to not speak up or speak out, for fear I have nothing to contribute or my thoughts will not be so welcoming, as often I tend to 'express' things in a Dahlia way, or simply because I have been told one times too many a version of 'your thoughts are not welcome here' ... 😉

    You have your way - not matter what anyone tells you. Each one of us is super unique and bring our own spice blend to the table when we do anything, right from sending someone a text message to communicating with others on a platform such as this. I'd also wanted to say - I LOVE the uniqueness you both bring to R Voice here and wouldn't have you hesitate to speak your mind or share that experience because of this nagging thought at the back of your head that your thoughts are not welcome here. All we need is your voice on R Voice and we wouldn't have it any other way! I am also not going to hold back now and so sending you both 🤗a warm virtual hug! 🤗

  • Raj sundaram
    Raj sundaram Member Posts: 322 ✭✭✭✭

    Not as ambitious as you are @Dahlia T . As a well-known partypooper - observation and history points to some grim facts - that love is a pretty high ideal for us extremely smart monkeys armed with powerful gadgets albeit with very reactive sympathetic nervous systems. 😂

    But...sometimes cant but help wonder....What it might be like if we at least "try to think, act and speak" on the basis of reality and the very predictable consequences of our actions.

    Why is it that we dont excel at things like co-operation, looking out for our own kind, etc. that our monkey ancestors and planet-mates from other species seem pretty good at.

    We can at the least try...we have the resources and power to...and yet...here we are!😅

    Right now, cant give our civilization even a "C" for the effort. 😂

  • Raj sundaram
    Raj sundaram Member Posts: 322 ✭✭✭✭

    Loads of counter hugs, @Jayashree R and thank you for the nice warm and meaningful words of encouragement... 🤗🤗🤩😍