Tag archives: Women

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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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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#TraditionallySubmissive: An open letter to David Cameron

Dear Mr Cameron,

I was appalled to hear your comments about the “traditional submissiveness of Muslim women” that have been so widely shared and ridiculed on social media.  I have lived and worked in a number of countries, including those that are predominantly Muslim and, in my experience, your comments could not be further from the truth.  The Muslim women that I have met are invariably strong women who realise that, in many ways, the world appears to be stacked against them and yet I have found that this never prevents them from doing the best they can for their families, their communities and society at large.  Whilst I understand that anecdotes are not the same thing as data, let me share with you some of these women. Read more