Some thoughts from our Managing Director, Dayna Caceres, on IWD –
As a female in business, I feel a degree of internal conflict on International Women’s Day (IWD). I accept I may have a somewhat unconventional view on the matter. Having grown up in Canada, a melting pot of cultures and lifestyles, my perspective is perhaps a little different. I don’t give much notice to gender, race, or sexual orientation. When I think of Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI), rather than our differences, I see our commonality - human beings doing their best to live a happy life. Each with our own idea of what happiness is, with a unique perception of our struggles and virtues.
Don't get me wrong, I appreciate and value the positive intention of IWD. However, a bigger part of me feels that this type of attention is unhelpful. It is not the celebration part of it; I relish all opportunities to celebrate. It’s the use of this day in a workplace context that I struggle with. I believe the idea that being a female is something to be noted, in a professional context, doesn't help us focus on what's important. In fact, in my mind, it reinforces differences in a way that creates comparisons versus unity, directing the dialogue to advantages or disadvantages. I accept and support that discriminatory practices need governance, but maybe there are more effective ways of doing this. For example, policy changes supporting an ethos of ethical meritocracy.
When working with teams, one of the first things we seek to do is align the team to a common goal. With this foundation built, we are then better able to leverage team member’s individual strengths and build trust on the back of the team knowing they are all doing what they do for the benefit of the whole.
Issues such as equal opportunity and board diversity require a united approach. If we focus our attention on what we have in common in order to find alignment and build trust, we might succeed in creating a more productive climate for action and change.
Commonalities might include: Our humanity, the privilege of choice and opportunity, our ability to learn, grow and adapt, our health and wellbeing, our relationships, the contribution we make to our society, our economy, our environment… With these foundations in place, we can celebrate our unique qualities and cultural experience, regardless of gender, race, status, or sexual orientation. For me, these are the things that are most important.
Is there something that I am not seeing, feeling, or hearing on this subject? I would be very interested in hearing your views and experiences.
– Dayna Caceres