Equality is a long way to go and a process of unlearning structures and thoughts. A lot of things are interwoven. Company policies that are top down driven can support female employees, but it is rare that a single policy can have the right impact on equality.
Policy makers within companies often don’t understand the full picture. Sometimes policies that address equality are incomplete and not completely thought out. Further other company policies that at the first glance are not related to gender equality can lead to discrimination. This said it is important that every decision is scrutinized in terms of equality.
In my talk I will present policies that I have experienced in my workplaces and point out where they have been incomplete or even leaded to discrimination.
Companies not only consist of policy makers. So it is important to look at what a company can do to address equality from a button-up approach too. Not everyone has the same understanding of equality and sexism.
This said there will be co workers that are not there yet and might be not fully aware of what you mean when you talk about equality or they have a different understanding. It is important to create an awareness for this topic amongst co workers and thereby create a working space where equality can be addressed and discussed. It should not be the duty of female employees to educate their male co workers about sexism and inequality.
Companies can help to create a learning environment and make the topic visible. For me personally awareness and visibility is one of the most important key elements. Awareness creates supportive structures and visibility of the topic can educate co-workers.
Equality beyond company boundaries
Further it is not just about your working place. Everything is networked. Even if you find your working space safe and supportive, there comes this moment where you have to leave this island.
Normally a lot of work and jobs involve interacting with third parties like going to conferences, giving customer workshops or dealing with support and consulting inquiries. A company should make sure that it supports its female co-workers beyond the company borders. In the talk I will share my experiences of leaving the island (your save space at work).
I explain how I built my own life belt to not just survive in wild male water but to surf on its wave and what a company can do to support building it.