This morning Becca and I went to a breakfast briefing on diversity. I’m not usually up for breakfast events as I’m grumpy in the morning but I was interested to see if there was anything different being said after hearing Dave, our COO speak at a diversity meetup last week.
There were 3 speakers on the line up; each covered a lot of the stuff that is often discussed at these events like “your team makeup should reflect the makeup of society” and “put yourself in a situation where you are in a minority and you’ll understand how it feels”. All very valid points and great things to be reminded of but not necessarily anything new. They also slipped in a few stereotypes and assumptions, for example a girl will feel excluded amongst a group of guys if they talk about football (Becca and I both raised our eyebrows at this) or that we need to hire more female designers (6 out of 8 of our digital designers are female- we almost have the opposite issue). The main focus of the event was gender diversity and in my mind when we talk about gender diversity we should talk about exactly that- and not simply focus on whether women are adequately represented.
Anyhoo..a nice point came from Mike Islip CEO at Digitas Lbi, he talked about helping women come back into work after having children and told us that Digitas has just signed its 1st term-time only contract. Now that I’ve heard Mike talk about this type of contract, it seems like common sense and a bit daft that it isn’t a more of a common occurrence (maybe it is and I just don’t know about it). I could definitely see Red Badger considering offering this in future if someone needed it, hats off to Digitas for leading the way.
I listened to a lot of the talks and kept thinking it was all a bit unnecessary; and then during the discussion panel my feelings were summed up nicely by one of the audience members. Maybe the point is that it’s not about focusing on gender diversity after all; instead we should focus on being a good and responsible company. Simple as that.