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Can someone help me articulate my discomfort with this? Inclusion and diversity training.

(41 Posts)
mcmooncup Wed 14-Aug-13 08:42:41

I am involved in a work project that ultimately has some good aims however there is a phrase that keeps bothering me.

They are talking about creating a better work culture where there is less sexism, racism and homophobia (hurray - great intentions), yet keep talking about the use of Inclusion training and diversity training.

My senses keep going off at these phrases - can you help me understand why.

I see it that what they are saying is that there is an organisation that is very male dominated and macho and that is the culture of this organisation. They 'want' to change this to meet "Diversity targets", yet they use phrases like 'inclusion" and "diversity". Don't these phrases somehow say, "we want to maintain the Status Quo (of the male dominated hugely misogynistic culture) and include other people in that who are not part of that culture (e.g. women, LGBT). Same with the phrase 'Diversity Training' - it assumes that the main culture is still blokey bloke misogyny and we might add a bit of diversity.

When rather what they should be saying is that they wish to change the status quo to change the misogyny. Is there a word for this? I see this approach of 'diversity and inclusion' as being a maintenance of the status quo, a bit of lip service to make the wimmin and gayz happy.......include them in our fun......."maybe not swear around the women, be respectful and all that".......

I may not be making much sense here.
The fundamental problem here is that I am working with a (high profile) organisation that is hugely sexist, racist, homophobic and they 'apparently' want to change - that remains to be seen right now. But the initial framing of how to do this as "diversity and inclusion training' seem to be coming from the very wrong angle.

Can you help me make sense of this at all? Are these phrases ok after all.
I can't find any research on this. And I am having an early morning head spin.

CMOTDibbler Wed 14-Aug-13 12:02:48

I think the point about being treated like I would like to be treated is not about doing things as I would, but rather that I would like to be treated respectfully, thinking about my preferences and challenges, and without prejudging me, and that I extend that to other people. Also, I try hard to never use words, gestures or anything else that would upset or offend people - and if I did so inadvertently would like to be told so I could modify my behaviour in the future - and would like the reverse to happen.

So, for instance, I appreciate it when someone sees that I have an upper limb disability and offers to carry my lunch tray without commenting further. I don't appreciate having my scars commented on, or intrusive help (ie, I'm coping fine doing something). Other people don't need their meat cutting up at a business dinner, but I would ensure that I try and provide appropriate assistance to others.

FairPhyllis Thu 15-Aug-13 03:05:01

I suppose it partly depends exactly what the 'targets' are, doesn't it? If it's about cynically hitting some (possibly ludicrously tiny) target then it's not addressing the root problem of genuine, heartfelt attitude change being needed from the vast majority of staff. It's just a PR exercise.

sashh Thu 15-Aug-13 06:43:09

Well it should be equality and diversity.

I recently had a job interview and my 10 min lesson was about E and D or "How people are like fruit".

Looked at what made fruit fruit, and what made individual fruit different. How fruit can work as a team exploiting the advantages of different fruit a fruit pie.

That some people naturally prefer one fruit over others, and that's fine (there will always be people at work we get along better with) as long as the fruit is treated equally and given the same opportunities.

I did eventually come back to people and looking at Equality not being the same as treating everyone the same, but making equal opportunities for various people by allowing uniforms to reflect religious preferences, installing wheelchair lifts/ramps.

But I digress, they should be talking about equality not inclusion, inclusion implies that there is a major group and they are going to make a couple of allowances to let that small group join the bigger group, probably on the bigger group's terms.

Equality is about recognising differences, using them to your advantage as a team and giving people equal opportunities.

One good example of a male dominated world opening up to women is the fire service, most of the complaints before women were allowed to join were about women being smaller and not as strong.

But in reality it can be an advantage to be small if you need to crawl through a small space. If you need to get a child out of a collapsed building then having a couple of the bigger stronger members holding up a bean/ceiling (insert own image from TV) to stop further collapse and allowing the smaller member of the team to crawl through.


JacqueslePeacock Thu 15-Aug-13 13:17:50

I think the problem with "equality" is, as KRITIQ pointed out upthread, that there isn't a level playing field, so guaranteeing equal treatment for all doesn't necessarily lead to equal outcomes.

sashh Fri 16-Aug-13 15:51:13


Equality is not about equal treatment

JacqueslePeacock Fri 16-Aug-13 20:02:54

What then? I was thinking more of equality of opportunity, but that again is very difficult to ensure because of level-playing-field issues.

sashh Sat 17-Aug-13 10:34:18

Well read my earlier post to start.

Equal treatment means no wheelchair ramps/lifts, everyone has to cope with stairs.

Equal treatment would be giving ladies and gents toilets both the same number of urinals and toilets, or not seperating them at all.

Equal treatment means either no maternity leave for any one or maternity leave for people who have not had children.

Equal treatment means only one form of legal marriage, countries that do this normally have the secular marriage as the legal one so any church/synagogue/temple/gurdwara/mosque is not legal. There was a similar situation in the UK until the early 1990s where only register office and C of E weddings were legal. Other denominations either had to pay or a registrar to attend their wedding or have two ceremonies.

Giving people equal opportunities and recognising, and celebrating, their diversity is what equality is all about.

Say yo have a business that is open 24/7 365 days a year. It could be a factory or the NHS or a hotel.

Maybe your Muslim workers would prefer to work a night shift during Ramadan, there is no harm in asking them. In all probability some will, some won't and some will have no preference.

Many people will want to have Christmas day off, but if you are employing Orthodox Christians their Christmas day is in January, so ask if they would prefer to work 25th December and have a day or two off 6 and 7the January.

Your Muslim workers may also prefer to work 25/26 December and have time of for Eid.

You are clearly not treating all of your workers the same, but you are valuing their diversity and giving them equal opportunities to celebrate their own religious festivals.

OK so that only deals with religious holidays, but you get the idea.

Sinful1 Mon 16-Sep-13 14:43:27

Ours is called dignity at Work. It's not so much about hitting targets but avoiding being sued. In discrimination cases they don't Work on "innocent until proven guilty" they Work that the company has to prove there was no discrimination/harassment which is very hard and very expensive (hence lots of out of court settlements) so they just want everyone to stfu and not get them sued.

However or course did not go down well as the woman giving it was a full on man hatting feminist (ie not sensible equal rights and respect kind, but the "men should be castrated at birth kind") and all we learned was anything we say or do is sexist, and any promotion or job we get is purely because we are men and that we were chosen over a woman because of our gender. so noone took it seriously, not even the girls in the group. Shame might have been good without a nutter giving the speech

Sinful1 Mon 16-Sep-13 14:51:15

Everyone should have the right to equality of opportunities, however opportunity of outcome is up to them and them.alone and shouldn't be artificially altered

FloraFox Mon 16-Sep-13 17:16:24

but the "men should be castrated at birth kind"

Did she say that in a work training session? That's odd.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FloraFox Mon 16-Sep-13 17:59:52

Buffy maybe it was the way she hatted the men in the room?

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FloraFox Mon 16-Sep-13 18:25:09


Maybe she was forcing fascinators on them?

TeiTetua Mon 16-Sep-13 19:26:08

Any dastardly female who believes men should be castrated at birth probably wouldn't have compunctions about giving them hats they don't like. Ruthless! Implacable! Cruel! That's feminists for you.

And if a man wants to wear a fascinator, he must of course be given the right to do so.

JacqueslePeacock Mon 16-Sep-13 23:47:17

And why were there girls in the group anyway? I can't really see how that sort of training would be appropriate for children. (I'm guessing not a lot of the session went in for some of the adults, either...)

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