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Which Women Have Arrived?

16 Feb

I recently attended the Regional Diversity Roundtable’s event “It’s 2015: Which Women have Arrived?

It was an interesting and thought-provoking evening. One of the speakers was Sandeep Tatla – Chief Diversity Officer from the Ontario College of Trades. Here were a few statistics Sandeep shared:

  • Women are still overrepresented in traditional female occupations (teaching, nursing, health) – many of these are underpaid professions.
  • Women still make 12-31.5% less than their male counterparts.
  • Despite being about half the population, and being about 53% of university graduates (since the 1980s), women continue to be under-represented in higher management positions (37.4% of lower managers, 31.6% of senior managers) and in STEM (22.3%) and trades (12%).
  • In all sectors, less than 50% of leadership positions are filled by women.

None of these statistics are surprising, nor is the fact that women are under-represented in leadership positions across sectors. But what did surprise me is the extent to which some women are more under-represented than others – specifically  women who are also visible minority women, women with disabilities, Aboriginal women, and women who identify as LGBTQ.

I feel like I’m reliving the Oscars debate…

Leadership clearly still has a gender.
But it also has a white, able bodied, heterosexual, (and probably slim) body.

See more.

Copyright 2016 Annemarie Shrouder
Speaker, Author and Facilitator on issues of Diversity & Inclusion
Interested in how the power of inclusion can transform your organization? Send me an email!

Radio Show Host – Creating Families
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Viola Davis’ Emmy for Best Actress

22 Sep

Congratulations Viola!

I shake my head that this is the FIRST time a woman of colour has received this award. I want to ask, what year is this?

But Viola’s speech says it all – the only thing that separates women of colour from anyone else is opportunity. And those opportunities, sadly, have been (still are) few and far between. We could insert a number of identities into that sentence and it would also be true.

Here is a clip of her speech from the Guardian.
What I find interesting is the part that is missing – the Harriet Tubman quote that she used at the very beginning of her speech. The beginning!!  It’s what contextualizes the entire speech, and it’s not here on a major media outlet! Perhaps because it shows the inequity that still exists along colour lines in North America (and elsewhere). And it gives us pause to think about the other inequities that also continue to exist. I notice that she has gotten some heat for it….

Here is the Harriet Tubman quote that Viola started with, if you can’t find it:

“In my mind, i see a line. And over that line I see green fields, and lovely flowers, and beautiful white women with their arms outstretched to me over that line. But I can’t seem to get there no how. I can’t seem to get over that line.”

Powerful, right?

There are still many lines for people to cross: people of colour, women, women of colour, people with disabilities, visible minorities, LGBT folks, the list goes on….. And Viola is right, opportunity is a HUGE reason for not getting to the other side.

I agree. And I would suggest that in order for us to see that lack of opportunity, we have to acknowledge that the line exists, that the playing fields haven’t (and still are not) level, and start to see more:
– see more in people
– see where the gaps are in opportunity, why they are there and how we consciously and unconsciously support them
– and see what we can do to get rid of those gaps so that opportunity once again becomes a word that all people can grasp, rather than it being a word that some people create for others.

Seeing that line would start, in this case, with including the quote in the clip for all to see and hear.

See more.

Copyright 2015 Annemarie Shrouder
Speaker, workshop facilitator, author, consultant on issues of diversity and inclusion.

Radio Host, Creating Families Radio on

What we can learn from Google

4 Oct

I have recently been reading about Google and their commitment to diversity and inclusion. Some of the things I’ve been reading make my heart sing, so I thought I’d share.

Google has Employee Resource Groups  (ERGs) for different communities (Asian, Black, LGBT, Latin American, employees with disabilities and women). The great thing about these ERGs is that they provide a place for employees who share an identity to come together to talk, learn and support each other, as well as creating magic internally and externally like:

– community-specific outreach
– speakers series to empower and inspire employees
– internal education and awareness
– helping shape company policy
– building external presence
– input on products and workplace issues
– supporting education initiatives

What strikes me most is the encouragement of employees to come up with ways Google can make a difference in communities, and their understanding that their staff help them to understand their customers better.

Google’s revenue continues to increase. What does that tell you?

But that’s largely external. Often companies start on the outside, and their internal environment isn’t part of the vision. Well, when I read: “At Google, being yourself is a job requirement”, I almost wept.

Sounds like they “get it”.

How would a culture like this transform your organization?
Who could you be at work, if you worked for a company like Google?

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copyright 2011 Annemarie Shrouder
author, speaker and facilitator on issues of diversity and inclusion

More than Mentorship

19 Sep

Mentorship has been around for a long time, but there is a new “ship” on the block! Sponsorship. In light of my recent posts, I thought this would be a good topic for today.

Mentorship is about development. Sponsorship is about advancement. While development can lead to advancement, given the (often unconscious) bias in business (see, for example, my previous blogs on women in senior management) it is clear that development is not enough.

A sponsor must be someone at a higher level than you in the organization. They also must have power within that organization. Why? Because their role is to “go to bat” for you; to put your name in the ring, to bring you up in the critical conversations, to help get you in the door when getting in is largely about visibility. Because, at the end of the day, if no one knows you are there, it doesn’t matter how good you are.  

It struck me as I read Catalyst Canada’s recent report on sponsorship, that this is a formal system that mimics what has been going on in the “Old (white) Boys Network” informally forever – deals done over golf, people introduced over lunch, skipping over a few rungs in the ladder because someone knows someone and makes an introduction. It’s sad that we need to formalize the system so others can get in. But there it is.

Advancement, it seems, is still largely not about what you know, but who. It seems then, that (sadly), women and visible minorities still don’t seem to “know” the right people to get the big jobs. Sponsorship can help. It’s what we need to do to see some representation in leadership that comes with credibility so it can withstand the sceptics.

A great article to read about this topic is in Forbes magazine: Making Partner; Sponsorship and Gender Bias.

See more.

copyright 2011 Annemarie Shrouder
author, speaker and facilitator on issues of diversity & inclusion

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