Tag Archives: representation

Who is Canadian?

4 Dec

Yesterday I arrived back in Toronto from a trip to the USA. As I made my way through the terminal at Pearson International Airport, I was greeted by this image:


As you can see, it’s a large series of photographs that hangs high above the escalators as you go down to customs. It’s meant, I suppose, to share some of the quintessential Canadian things with arriving visitors, and citizens – both potential and current.

You’ll notice there is kayaking, the rodeo, Terry Fox, a farmer, an astronaut, an Olympic athlete, skiing, an RCMP officer (female, nice touch), an old black and white photo of men going to war, the parliament building, Niagara Falls, Quebec Carnival, and a lighthouse.

Someone chose these to represent the country: a mixture of places and people. It’s interesting to note what was chosen: some famous things (Niagara Falls), some quintessential Canadian things (wheat?). And it seems that the images go from West to East across the country. I wonder what the debate was like during the selection process, and what other images didn’t make the cut – and why.

But what strikes me every time I see it, is the lack of visible cultural diversity represented in a land that prides itself on the multicultural mosaic we have created.

Some of the images are hard to make out, but only two of the people represented that are clearly visible are not white: what I’m assuming are an Inuit elder and a Chinese child (who’s face we only see to just under her nose. I’m assuming she is a girl because of the hairstyle).

Imagine that I’m coming to Canada for the first time, and this is what I see as the representation of the country I am visiting or may be calling home. It’s in stark contrast to the line up I will encounter in customs in just under a minute.

Welcome to Canada.

Our home, and Native land – although the only Indigenous person on the image is Inuit. And there are no brown or Black people represented in the image at all. With images like this, is it any wonder that people still ask their non-White fellow Canadians “where are you from?” – and keep digging until they get an answer that explains the amount of melanin in our skin, if in fact we (or our parents, grandparents, or great grandparents) were born here?

See more.

Copyright 2016 Annemarie Shrouder                                                                                            Speaker, Facilitator, and Consultant on issues of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion


5 Ways to Increase the Number of Women in Senior Management

6 Sep

On the heels of last week’s interview with Anne Golden (CEO of the Conference Board of Canada) on CBC, here are 5 things Anne suggested companies need to do, to make a conscious effort to increase the number of women in senior management.  Anne made reference to these as steps CP Rail has taken in their effort (with success).

Of course, these are not specific to increasing the representation of women in senior roles…

Making a more representative senior management team is not something that will happen on it’s own. It requires commitment and a strategy. Strategies suggest that something is important, and gives it more weight while obviously providing a road map for accomplishing the goal.

Anne’s words in the interview were “what you inspect gets respect”. Making sure you know how you are doing vis à vis your goal is a crucial component in reaching it. And tracking your progress also keeps the issue on your radar.

Networking Across the Organization
The opportunity to talk with and learn from others – in this case other women in similar roles, or other women in higher roles – is helpful for personal and professional growth. Networks build support systems, can create opportunities, and at the very least let us know we are not alone.

Recruitment & Succession Planning
Make no mistake, this is not about quotas. But if you have a commitment to increasing the number of women in senior roles, you need a plan. This is an internal plan for the women you currently employ who are on the track to senior management, as well as a plan for your hiring process.

Experience / Training for Promotion
Further to the above, mentoring and providing training  & professional development for the women in your organization so that they have a fair chance of being promoted is key. This is not to say that promotion won’t happen without this, but given our national track record, it would seem that making sure female employees have as much in their professional toolkit as possible would help break through the obvious bias that exists.

Again, these steps can be applied to any group that is under-represented in your senior management. Take a look around and see who is missing.

See more.

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

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