Spot the anomalies (=women)

Published on October 23, 2015

An HR networking event, Oct 2015

I went to an HR networking event last night, starting at 6pm with drinks and nibbles. Here is a picture attached.
Can you spot the anomalies?

Indeed, despite the fact that HR is known as a feminine function, 90% of participants were men yesterday which makes me wonder two things:
- Is it because the event was targeting quite senior HR leaders and there is no women in these positions?
- Or is it because women are less likely to go to drinks after work as they are coming back to their families / may not like these kind of events?

When I noticed that all hostesses were women and all speakers were men, I just felt that there were something to be changed.

This reminds me of another situation I witnessed a couple of weeks ago, when I was at the airport, waiting for boarding. This little boy behind me told his mum with great excitement: “Mum, this is amazing, we can see the pilot in the cockpit!”. And his mum to answer: “No darling, this is a woman so she must be the air hostess.” I almost fainted. This woman, without realising, had just told her son that a woman can’t be a pilot. She has unconsciously perpetrated a stereotype that most people think is no longer relevant to talk about. The thing is, the supposed air hostess was actually the pilot as she was wearing the uniform and did welcome us in the plane afterwards.

Our grand-parents and parents fought for equal rights between men and women. The duty of my generation, men and women together, is to build an inclusive society where everyone can be themselves, for who they are and not for what society expect for them to be, by:

→ Creating awareness around unconscious bias and stereotypes to help people -and especially our leaders as well as ourselves- changing their ways of thinking and behaving, in an engaging, collaborative and inclusive way.

→ Highlighting existing role models who are challenging the norm to show others that it is possible to break the invisible rules and inspire them to do the same if they wish to do so.

→ Challenging our organisations’ structures, processes, ways of working to prevent from creating invisible barriers for under-represented minorities in order to breakout old patterns and leave room for creativity, innovation, and diversity. This will lead to higher performance, higher engagement, better reputation, better strategic decisions and so much more.

→ Developing people to reach their potential, their own vision and support them to not only make choices but to make conscious choices. If you know where you want to go, what you want to achieve; if you know it’s possible to do it (others have done it already!); if you are developed and given access to support to achieve it, what can stop you from making your dreams a reality? What can stop you from embracing your uniqueness?