We suck at diversity

10 years ago  •  By  •  2 Comments

Facebook and Google want more female employees and are now paying for women employees to freeze their eggs. Now women can spend more of their most fertile years at the office. As an employer in the tech industry I think this is all kinds of wrong and I want to advocate different and sustainable methods for creating diverse workforces.

Mom works part-time

Breaking diversity starts right after birth with maternity & parental leave. You know who gets the parental leave? The mother. In some countries the father gets a few days to a few weeks of parental leave and there are even some countries where the father can take the maternity leave instead of the mother, but these are exceptions. Mommy takes care of the kid(s) in the beginning, taking a headstart on the Daddy in their relationship with their child(ren). This inequality in the relationship continues after the leave which means it’s the mother that starts working part-time; ergo, less women in the workforce.

Yes women need time to recover from giving birth, but men also need time to adjust to their new role. Both need parental leave. If you want equality start from the start and if the government does not give it, a company should offer paid parental leave.

Tech & management are for men

I have taught kids at a primary school (ages 10/11) how a computer works and I have build computers with them. I have colleagues who have taught programming at primary schools. I can tell you one thing for sure: there is absolutely no difference between boys and girls in their enthusiasm and their eagerness to learn when it comes to computers and coding. Society does seem to have an issue with girls and tech. And I have to admit that I am no exception. When I see something techie on TV or have a new tech device my first reaction is to show it to my 5 year old son. Not my 4 year old daughter. The problem is that it doesn’t just happen with kids and tech. It happens with men and women when it comes to advancing in work as well.

Men are assumed to be competent until proven otherwise, whereas a woman is assumed to be incompetent until she proves otherwise.

Since I read the article I have started seeing this behaviour everywhere. I do it myself. I see it in videos, I notice it at events. I am now consciously incompetent, but most of us are still unconsciously incompetent. We need to be honest to ourselves and each other if we want to change this dogma.

A management role is a 60h a week job

I’ve noticed you need a minimum of 24 hours a week to be connected to your job and your colleagues. A 35h work week is ideal for productivity. Every job within a company could be a 24h to 35h job if a company chooses to do so. Kids and a 24h to 35h work weeks combine really well. I work 30 hours a week myself and me and my wife are raising 3 kids together.

More women in a C role will be the answer to diversity

Diversity is not a men or women issue. Diversity is gender, age, background, beliefs and a whole lot more. If you want diversity you have to change management itself. Let’s bury the hierarchical organization model and start working as connected organizations instead. Then decisions will truly be based on diversity. And I can tell you from experience that connected organizations create happy people, both inside and outside that organization.

Comments 2

  1. zolang "het glazen" plafond blijft bestaan waar "het management" zichzelf boven verschuild zal er niets veranderen, vind het fantastisch dat jij laat zien dat het ook anders kan
  2. Mark - great that you've highlighted that the solution is not only at the top, but also at the very bottom. You're also right when you identify that the curiosity of children, in terms of tech, isn't divided by gender - unless that is what the parents have taught the children. If parents continue to give Barbie dolls to girls and Computers to boys, obviously that divide will exist - but we must realise that it's artificial. Let's also not forget that in the earliest days of computer programming, such activities were deemed "women's work". http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/when-computer-programming-was-womens-work/2011/08/24/gIQAdixGgJ_story.html

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