Picture this: it’s a room full of green people. They’ve got green skin and green hair. They went to the same green school. They walk in the same way. They talk about the same experiences. They have the same ideas. When they eat, they eat the same food (it’s a sort of green thing). They find the same jokes funny and they share stories about the same green past.
Now, picture this. You’ve got an organisation where everyone is the same. They come from the same backgrounds. Enjoy the same foods. Share the same ideas. Come up with the same solutions. Everyone loves it because everyone else has the same ideas and solutions as them; it makes them all feel smart and accepted. They operate in a glass box, sharing the same ideas and solutions day in and out.
‘Sameness’ is safe and comfortable. But it’s boring. And it can’t ever foster an environment of growth.
Diversity is all about celebrating our differences and recognising that a range of different ethnic backgrounds, gender, sexuality, educational backgrounds, experiences, opinions, ideas and values will inevitably bring about new thinking, new opportunities, enrichment, growth and progress.
When it comes to gender ‘equality’, women and men are not the same. We are very different in fact. Our brains are not wired the same way for a start. As children, girls and boys learn things at different speeds and as a result, girls tend to flourish earlier than boys in certain areas (notably, language) whilst boys tend to be wired appropriately to thrive in maths, for example, much earlier on.
Yes, equality is about seeking equal pay and rights but it should not stretch to women ‘trying’ to be like men or to emulate them in any way. Quite the opposite in fact.
Nature is an amazingly powerful force. It has created a world where we are all different. Men and women are different. We have different strengths and viewpoints. And it is those differences, when united, that create true strength.
Rebecca Allen is an Executive Coach and Facilitator who has been working for over a decade with Corporate Women who want to progress in their careers and stand out from the crowd. Http://www.clearhorizoncoaching.com