Everyone has an Agenda – (or why is diversity only about gender diversity?)

I’m pretty sure that what I’m about to say isn’t going to win me any fans among some sectors of the community – but I really don’t care. It’s something I feel pretty strongly about.

In the past year or so, the argument for diversity in the workplace has seemed to get extra legs. Article after article has written about how women still haven’t achieved parity in the workforce and how there’s still a pay gap between women and men in particular jobs, and certainly, apparently in the C-suite.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for fairness. There should be the same pay for the same job in my book so, if there is a differential, I’m all for holding the flags to protest about evening up the stakes.

What does get up my nose, however, is that it seems that the diversity argument has been hijacked by some to relate to gender-only diversity.

While groups of women (and some men) get very vocal about making it fair for them, they seem to forget there are others for whom diversity is, unfortunately, still just a concept, for whom unfairness is running rife – and there’s just nowhere near enough of them to be heard.

Surely, if we’re protesting about unfairness, it should be for everyone, not just our own particular group. And that’s what gets me angry.

It seems that everyone is out for themselves – and themselves alone.

While groups of women (and remember, I’m one of the fairer sex so I’ve, quite obviously, got nothing against my own “tribe”) argue that things aren’t fair for them, and that men aren’t considering them enough in their decisions, they simply disregard other groups which are also being discriminated against.

When did we all get so narcissistic?

Maybe I’ve got it wrong, but aren’t we just being hypocritical arguing that we’re being discriminated against and that men are the big, bad wolves who only think of themselves when we’re pretty much doing exactly the same thing? Why has the diversity argument been hijacked to be “all about us” when it obviously goes so much deeper.

There are those that would argue “When it comes to diversity campaigning, let’s look after the biggest group first, then we can tackle the others” or “but women are the second largest group*, we need to take care of that first”. Puh-lease!!! Don’t pretend that we haven’t got anyone other than our own interests at heart. (*Second largest in the C-suite).

If women’s groups want to get involved in the diversity debate, how about we do it for all of the sectors that need to be considered in the said debate – those with disabilities, those in rural Australia, indigenous Australians, young Australians (especially those entering the workforce for the first time), mature age workers et al. Ladies, where do those groups fit into your campaigns for equal treatment?

Women are typically exceptional care-givers. Corporate women need to show that same care for other groups in the workforce – not just themselves.

I’m all for diversity and will happily join the chorus to argue that there needs to be equal pay for equal work, that every group in the workforce should be equally represented and that work opportunities that exist for one sector should exist for all of them, but we’re still a ways from that, it seems.

With International Women’s Day on the approach, wouldn’t it be great if we could lead with the message “women want to drive diversity for everyone”. We’ve come a long way – but we still have a long way to go. But let’s do it for all – not just ourselves.


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