Tag archives: Equality

Start 2018 right: pledge to actively support diversity!

Following the #WDP36 list of women in drowning prevention, I posted on how to be an ally to under-represented groups.  Soon after that, I was approached by SOBRASA, a Brazilian drowning prevention organisation,.  They wanted to encourage individuals and organisations to take the five steps towards diversity that were listed in that blog.  Together we came up with the graphic below and already, drowning prevention organisations across the world have pledged to actively support diversity.

If you want to help your organisation grow by becoming more diverse and inclusive, pledge here.

Actively support diversity

  

In my personal work and that of my organisation, I will actively support diversity by:

1. Recognising I am not the right person for every opportunity and sharing those opportunities with others.
2. Finding ways to involve women and people of colour who can also benefit from opportunities I am offered.
3. In collaborative work, giving full credit to the people who did the work.
4. Using my position of power to push for diversity and actively including under-represented groups in my work.
5. Challenging other people when I see or hear discriminatory action.

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In my personal work and that of my organisation, I will actively support diversity by: 1. Recognising I am not the right person for every opportunity and sharing those opportunities with others. 2. Finding ways to involve women and people of colour who can also benefit from opportunities I am offered. 3. In collaborative work, giving full credit to the people who did the work. 4. Using my position of power to push for diversity and actively including under-represented groups in my work. 5. Challenging other people when I see or hear discriminatory action.

 

How to be an ally

Following on from the publication of the #WDP36 list two weeks ago, some men have asked what they can do to support women around them and increase the representation of women in leadership positions.

Old rich white men dominate drowning prevention. Young black people dominate the drowning fatalities. If the drowning prevention community wants to achieve a significant global reduction in drowning, then the community needs to be more inclusive and more diverse. It needs to listen to voices from different countries, diverse backgrounds, different genders, and different experiences.

The fact that people are asking how they can support that is testament to their commitment to improve diversity. The question is what that commitment should look like. Let’s start by defining the problem:

Think about the positions that you hold on committees, in working groups and in leadership positions. In many cases, you have that position of power or responsibility because you were in the right place at the right time. Maybe someone who knows you and thought you would do a good job put you forward for the role. After all, it’s not what you know but who you know? That’s the problem – not everyone knows the right people so then what happens? They never get a chance at that position you hold. It’s important to understand that your status as a man and particularly as a white man gives you access to certain opportunities that women and people of colour may not get. That is not to say that you are not a suitable candidate for those roles, but you are not the only suitable candidate. Other suitable candidates never get the opportunity to take on those roles because they are not in the right place at the right time because they don’t know the right people.

Diversity needs active supporters, allies if you will and a large part of that role is recognising how opportunities can be shared to a more diverse group of people.

Here are five steps to becoming an ally, whether to women, people of colour or other groups underrepresented in leadership.
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#WDP36 – More than a popularity contest…

In 2015, the first Women in Global Health list was published. It was a list of 100 leading women working in global health, and it has since grown to include more notable women in the field. It was started by Ilona Kickbusch, Director of the Global Health Programme at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. She was bored of attending conferences and panels where she was the only woman speaker. She decided that she needed to showcase women in global health and asked her Twitter followers to nominate women to the list. The idea caught on and the list grew.

At the World Conference on Drowning Prevention 2017 in Vancouver, Canada, a similar Twitter campaign was run using #WDP36 to find a list of 36 leading women in drowning prevention. Why 36? Because some amazing women work to prevent 360,000 drowning deaths every year and that’s something to shout about. Women were nominated on Twitter with the only criteria being that they play an active role at the forefront of drowning prevention. The aim of the list is increase visibility of women working in drowning prevention, highlight the contribution of women in advancing both research and practice and to offer role models to young women. Women are listed alphabetically by surname. Like the Women in Global Health list, the Women in Drowning Prevention can grow with time. This is only the beginning…

Women in drowning prevention WCDP17

Caroline Lukaszyk, Tessa Clemens, Alison Mahoney and Amy Peden were the four presenters in the Non-Fatal Drowning Data session at WCDP2017

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Trump vs Women Round 1: The “A” bomb

One of President Trump’s first acts in the White House was to reinstate the Mexico City Policy, or “the global gag rule”.  The policy is reinstated and revoked every time the White House changes from Democrat to Republican and back.  That’s because the subject of the policy, abortion, is a highly politicised topic in America.

The policy means that NGOs that receive US foreign aid funding are not allowed to provide or promote abortions.  It was first instated by Reagan in 1984 and it essentially exports the US debate on abortion.  Sadly, that has dramatic negative effects on the health of women the world over.  NGOs that provide family planning services now have a choice to make.  Either they need to drop abortions from the suite of family planning options that they discuss, or they lose all US foreign aid funding.  It’s important to note two things:
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Mind the confidence gap

Last week I went to assessment centre for a role that involved leading teams and projects within an international development organisation. Speaking to others towards the end of the day about how they thought their one-to-one interviews went, I noticed something. The male candidates were extremely up-beat about their interviews whilst the women were significantly more reserved.

A few of these women ended up having a brief discussion about how well they thought they sell themselves and again the outcome was not positive. They found it difficult to give themselves credit for their contribution to work as part of a team, they perceived many of their achievements as less down to their own knowledge and skills than a good dose of luck and generally, they disliked the feeling of arrogance associated with telling people what they were good at. Certainly not an ideal situation in which to face an interview panel.
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