Tag Archives: gender

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
www.annemarieshrouder.com
Interested in how the power of inclusion can transform your organization? Send me an email!

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Women as “testers”?

5 Oct

The Women’s World Cup is being held across Canada next year. Apparently the decision was made to use Astroturf fields instead of grass. The reason? FIFA wanted to “test it out”.
Hmmm…I wonder why they didn’t see fit to test it out THIS year during the World Cup?
It’s a decision (and a defense) that says a lot about gender equality – or rather, inequality.
Who decided that testing it out on the Women’s World Cup was a good idea?
Or a better question, and probably the more appropriate question: why didn’t anyone think about the many reasons why testing Astroturf out on the women’s competition wasn’t a good idea?
Unconscious bias would likely explain the chasm in both respect and awareness. No matter how far we have come, there is still an unconscious belief that women are “less than” – which would explain the choice to “test out” the Astroturf during their World Cup . Which, of course, holds less importance than THE World Cup.

A little awareness can go a long way. If only the folks at FIFA had taken the Harvard Implicit Association Test on gender….

See more.

2014 Copyright Annemarie Shrouder
Speaker & Facilitator on issues of Diversity & Inclusion
www.beeing.ca
www.annemarieshrouder.com

Gender Neutral – huh?

29 Jun

First of all, “Happy Pride” if you live in Toronto!

One of the most common questions I get as a pregnant woman is “do you know the gender of your baby?”
This is a problematic question for a couple of reasons (at least):

1. The term is not correct: Sex and gender are not the same thing (although they are used interchangeably)
2. Even if I knew the sex, I still wouldn’t necessarily know the gender (that is something that will become apparent over time, once this child is born)

The fact that I don’t know the sex of the child I’m carrying causes all number of shocked responses.
But when I use “they” the reactions are priceless: it starts with “twins!?” and then quizzical looks when I say “No, I’m using “they” in the gender-neutral sense” – which then requires an explanation, since most people are stuck on the idea that ‘they’ means plural. Period.

Which brings me to my point.
Last week I was having such a conversation with some family members of my parents’ generation. They didn’t get it. But the one child in the room (grade 3) was curious. So I explained gender-neutrality something like this: Some people don’t want to be in a box of “girl” or “boy” and so they don’t use he or she, they use “they” instead.

The response? She paused fora brief moment and said “that’s fair”.

End of conversation.

See more.

Copyright 2012 Annemarie Shrouder
Author, speaker and facilitator on issues of diversity and inclusion.
www.beeing.ca

 

 

 

Family Stickers

28 Oct

A little levity on a Friday afternoon….with a message, of course.

I walked into the pet store earlier this week and was confronted with a large cardboard marketing campaign for Family Stickers – the new thing in advertising who we are through our vehicles. You may have seen them – they are stick figure stickers that one is meant to put on the back window of the vehicle to depict ones family – including pets.

I have seen these on people’s cars, so the concept wasn’t new. What was new was the idea of choosing the figure that “fits”. Of course I scrutinized the poster from a diversity lens and noted several concerns – now that I’ve been to the website, some of these are less, but here are a few after a quick perusal.

On the website you can choose your family members  (adult, teen, child, baby and pet) and then you are given a multitude of options to complete the image by choosing a head and a body. You can also create them in colour. Although I’m not sure about the names (white to dark mocha), hooray for options!

I was pleasantly surprised to see a mixture of possible hairstyles and activities the bodies could be doing. As an example, there is a dreadlock option for hairstyles for males and females (yay!). But there is also some stereotypes/cultural misappropriation like the feather head-dress option for boys (ugh).

The bigger issue that stood out for me today (and what I’m going to focus on)was gender: Before you get to these choices of colour or body or head, you have to choose male or female (adult, teen, child or baby). Too bad!

Here’s the issue:
While it seems that the body choices are doing similar activities, not all of the activities are the same: both have “doctor” options, for example, but only females have a “fairy” option and only males have a “business suit” option. What about guys who take themselves, lightly or a woman who is in Corporate Canada? And what if you’re trans-identified?

Ah the world of binary gender and gender role stereotyping.

I, for one have a hairstyle that more closely matches a choice in the “adult male” category. While I suppose I could just go into the adult male category for my stick figure representation and call it a day (it’s just a stick figure for crying out loud), it bugs me. There is a bigger message; an undercurrent that can add to the perpetuation of lack of choices, expectations, sexism and homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.

What is so gendered about a stick figure that I should have to choose? Seems like a safe place to start challenging some of our ideas and expectations of gender and gender roles and opening these up.

 Wouldn’t it be great if all of the options were available for each family member category so that everyone had the same choices of how to represent themselves? In fact, wouldn’t it be great if there were no categories at all, just a bunchof choices for colour, heads and body?

See more.

Copyright 2011 Annemarie Shrouder
author, speaker & facilitator on issues of diversityand inclusion
http://www.beeing.ca

 

The Difference an “X” Can Make

14 Oct

Last month Australia made a significant change on their passport application forms; there are now three options for “gender” – M, F and X. 

When your passport doesn’t reflect what you look like – when your listed gender doesn’t match who you  are – it can be, in the words of Senator Louise Pratt, “very distressing, highly  inconvenient and frankly sometimes dangerous.”

This is a human rights victory for transgender and intersex individuals in Australia, even moreso because sex reassignment surgery is not required to use the “x” option.

Imagine the relief of being able to mark X and being able to move through customs like everyone else instead of being grilled about why your passport says you are male, but you look female (or vice versa). For people who have experienced greater scrutiny at customs for other reasons (like race, or real/perceived ethnic origin or religion for example – especially since 9/11) you will understand what this can mean.

Hooray for Australia! Change happens when people start to “get it” – and even moreso (and faster) when people in power “get it”.

Senator Louise Pratt’s partner is transgender. This gives her an inside view into the barriers that transgender and intersex individuals face – barriers that those of us who are not transgender or intersex may have no idea even exist. Because of her experience, her position and her conviction, Australia has change!

It’s a small change, one that doesn’t impact cisgender people at all. There is still an “M” and an “F” to choose from. Australia has simply added another option – to recognize that not all realities are the same, and to make travelling more equitable and safe.

See more.

Copyright 2011 Annemarie Shrouder
author, speaker and facilitator  on issues of diversity and inclusion
http://www.beeing.ca/

 

Corporate Social Responsibility – what about inside the organization?

30 Sep

This week I was forwarded the list of Canada’s 50 Best Corporate Citizens (2011). It’s a list that Corporate Knights (“the Magazine for Clean Capitalism”) started about 10 years ago.

Who knew there was such a list? I was amazed!

I discovered  through Madelaine Drohan’s article in the report (entitled Big country, small steps) that corporate social responsibility can mean very different things;  from making sure child labour isn’t used in the supply chain, to building schools in Africa, to preventing high school drop outs right here at home.  Not bad, I thought. Good to know that there are large companies that are looking at more than profits. Hooray!

Further into the report, I came across a scorecard which tracks “the environmental, social and governance performance of the S&P/TSX60 Companies on the 2011 Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada.  I thought I would find some great stats about what these companies are doing internally as well, to match their social responsibility externally.

I was disappointed.

A few things stand out in particular among these stats about corporate citizens who are up to some great things:

  • the number of female company directors in 2010 was 14.61% (UP from 14.49% in 2009, but still low)
  • the number of company directors who were either visible minorities or aboriginal  in 2010 was 2.92% (DOWN from 4.06 in 2009)
  • and the ratio of CEO salary to the lowest paid employees salary INCREASED by 8.70%

Sigh.

I’m not sure why I’m surprised. I often see companies making efforts in diversity and inclusion outside their walls (arguably where it looks good and they get kudos) before tackling any change inside. I guess I thought that with the corporate halo shining brightly for these 50 companies, that maybe, just maybe, they would be different.  I know it’s just a graph and I don’t have the whole story by far, but it suggests a lot.  

Would it be great if corporate social responsibility included creating an inclusive, welcoming workplace  that valued diversity and inclusion – with representation at all levels and smaller pay gaps (for example) to prove it?

See more.

Copyright 2011 Annemarie Shrouder
author, speaker and facilitator on issues of diversity and inclusion
www.beeing.ca

Gender Identity & Human Rights

23 Sep

We’re lucky in Canada to have a Human Rights Code that recognizes the inherent right to fair and equitable treatment, regardless of who we are…well, almost.

Gender Identity is still not specified as a prohibited ground for discrimination under the Code.

Most of us probably haven’t given this much thought.
For most people, gender identity matches their physical bodies.
For some people, however, this is not the case.
Transgender, trans-identified and transsexual individuals face discrimination and violence, and currently have no real human rights protection.

MP Hedy Fry is changing that by introducing Bill C-276: An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code (gender identity and gender expression).

Take a look.
And then think about what you need to be more aware of and learn in order to help make spaces more inclusive for transgender, trans-identified and transsexual people in your communities, organizations and families.

See more.

copyright 2011 Annemarie Shrouder
author, speaker and facilitator on issues of diversity and inclusion
www.beeing.ca

 

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