The blind spot in Gender-Equality discussions

Updated: Apr 16

A few days ago I read a sharp perspective shared via a LinkedIn post from a young lady insisting that a job advertised encouraging “Female Applicants” was “Gender Bias” and not creating Job Equality. It went on to note — ‘if we want to preach Equality as women, posts highlighting Female Applicants Encouraged to Apply is counterproductive to acquiring Gender Equality’.

The job post in question required the filling of a senior corporate executive in the conservative Banking Industry for one of London’s largest corporations long known for its male-driven Board of Directors. I understood the argument at-a-glance, but it piqued my interest to learn more precisely what the company had hoped to achieve and why they would seek to encourage female applications at this point, publicly.

They had not done so before, so why now?

As it turns out, and like my statement above the public perception of that corporation has for generations been viewed as a male-driven environment. So much so, that it became routine and socially accepted without even a thought to the lack of female leadership in its corporate governance. It was one of those things that just got ignored. Almost as if, it was a natural order or way of doing things. This long-run mindset led to a short-flow of qualified female applications to consider.

As a Recruiter and Personal Development Consultant, I found the statement of ‘Gender Equality’ in this particular context unsettling and after a taking a closer look at the opportunity in question it was clear to see — not all opportunities are created equally. In fact, the bold requirement rendered more an act for gender balance. This struck me as a strive for better.

Generalising ‘Gender Equality’ in this case was counterproductive since it takes reasonable action from corporations of significance to recognise the importance of a diversified environment and strengthen that with change. While there continues to be a considerable gap in the gender equality discussions — how that is seen and achieved are very different from the placement of the words itself ‘Gender Bias’ and ‘Gender Equality,’ when loosely characterised.

Today, the need for female dynamics in corporate environments is no longer one to ignore, and many companies have long taken the lead including PepsiCo, Oracle, PG&E and IBM to name a few.

The conversation of gender equality is not one to ensure women will have the same opportunity to the application process for the mere purpose of advertisement but to ensure women will have an equal voice, acceptance, recognisable worth and economic growth from their ability and contributions within roles traditionally male-driven and dominated.

In the end, the fact that the corporation made it a point to encourage Female Applicants does not undermine the idea of ‘Gender Equality’ but quite the opposite — as it seeks to break the traditional language of acceptance for what ‘Executive Leadership’ should look like in their corporation.

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