The structure that supports Gender Equality and Diversity (GED) across the board comprises a set of seven (07) policies, mental attitudes and practices. These seven pillars can be – and need to be – adopted by all communities, families, organizations and individuals (both men and women) in order to make a significant difference in both gender equality and diversity in all areas of governance, service and recreation.
While the foundational ‘GED-pillars’ are “structure agnostic” their adoption and inclusion across the board, would be slightly different depending on whether it is an individual, a family, an organization or a community that is adopting them and making them a part of how they function.
Here are the seven pillars that all of us – in every sphere, and in every role – need to adopt forthwith, to make for a more joyful, productive, and fulfilling life for everybody without exception.
1. Intention and Clarity
Whether we are dealing with organizations, communities, families or individuals, there is an urgent need for all of us to articulate and communicate that we stand for the creation of life-affirming, non-violent spaces – in all spheres – that are all-inclusive and do not differentiate between genders. These spaces will necessarily be characterized further by an absence of guilt-inducing judgmental labeling, displays of gender-based power constructs and restrictions, or bad-mouthing. Such supportive spaces will also assure full and complete openness, expression and freedom for all. This is very essential to ensure that we create a happy, peaceful society, where everyone – irrespective of their gender – offers their unique gifts in a way that is most fulfilling and rewarding to them individually.
2. Voice and Visibility
Irrespective of gender, we will have to create adequate opportunities at all times, where each one of us can speak our minds, express ourselves and be visible to all. Visibility is not simply about not being veiled, or told by someone else as to what to say or do, but in the context of social and other organizations, it is about being celebrated as an equal member of humanity capable of expressing experiences and ideas in their own, unique way.
3. Leading-edge Work Paradigms
Technology is dramatically changing the way we work and live. We will all need to adopt those models of work that enable us to work freely, at any or all times of the day or night, without let or hindrance of any kind, as well as without discrimination based on gender. This would call for the inclusion of new technologies and processes that ensure the security and well-being of all, and which create productive, happy work-places. Furthermore, those who adopt new paradigms for work, and rely on productivity enhancing technologies to deliver what is expected of them, must not be discriminated against in terms of their professional growth, rewards, recognition or promotions.
4. Learning and Development
We will need to have access to a continuous process of life-long learning, skill-enhancement and improving our proficiencies in areas of our choices and liking. The access should enable self-learning at one’s own pace, and in areas that are not restrictive or limited by prejudice or dogma. No learning should be confined to any gender on the basis of “historical” or “traditional” roles that genders may have been associated with in the past.
All of us, irrespective of our gender, need to have the support of others to do what we wish to do. If, as a woman, I wish to have a child I should be able to bank on others (family, community, and my work-organization) to get the support I need. As a man, I should be able to take time to support my child’s mother with the duties and demands of child- bearing and child-rearing. Negative labels such “B-flight” to describe women who may quit work-positions to either have a ‘baby’ or follow a transferred ‘hubby’, would also have to be discontinued, because such labels deflect from the essential fact that bringing a new life to the world has to be a collective responsibility.
All of us need guidance in life. This should be readily available as we endeavour to navigate the maze of our lives, and pursue well-being and happiness. Experienced people and wise members of whichever group we might be in, need to serve this important need, another essential pillar of GED.
7. Celebration of Differences
Life is beautiful the way it is. All of humanity is a part of life, and diverse forms of gender, race or other apparent differences in the way we look, are to be celebrated. We all need to accept life’s abundant diversity, rather than trying to “fit” something according to an erroneous image of “what’s right” in our heads!
(Abridged from the original article, “A Gender Equality and Diversity Master Plan”, by Bharat Wakhlu ©2017 )
Bharat’s differentiating characteristic is his abiding commitment to the long-term success, and advancement of those he serves. A leader with impeccable decision-making and people skills, Bharat has the power to work collaboratively to resolve problems, and unleash the talents of culturally diverse groups, to make wholesome and lasting change.
An author of four books, his most recent one (co-authored with his wife, Savita) ‘Navigating the Maze – Simple, Smarter, Strategies to Fast-Track Success’ is especially suited to address the myriad concerns of professionals working in a fast-paced, interconnected and volatile world.
He is the former India Managing Director for the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, the Stratford USA based Helicopter OEM, now a part of Lockheed Martin. Prior to that, he was with the Tata Group in diverse senior roles for over three decades. Bharat’s work with the Tata Group and Sikorsky has given him unique capabilities in the areas of organisational performance, process and value improvement, leadership and team development, ethical decision-making, governance, responsible business and much more.
Bharat believes that customer centricity, ethics & integrity, management of processes & products and leadership should form the bedrock of any successful, scalable operation. He has conceptualised and delivered innovative and path-breaking solutions to complex organisational issues, in industries as varied as aerospace and defence, industrial products and start-ups. Workers’ unions have frequently sought Bharat’s advice on matters related to labour productivity and management interactions.
A sought-after speaker, he is passionate about working with values and ethics and unfolding innovation and beneficial change. He is a Fellow of the American Society for Quality (ASQ), and of the All India Management Association (AIMA). And serves on several boards as well.View Profile
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