How would you feel, if you heard a boy loudly and publicly telling his Mother to shut up? Shocked? Embarrassed at his rudeness? Proud of his precocious manliness? Empowered to respond or powerless? Perhaps the answer depends on who you are and with whom you identify: the Mother, the boy himself, his Father?
Carrie Gracie Shows Us How You don’t have to be a man to make your voice heard
I don’t like telling people that they should read something. It’s too directive for my taste. But there is a time and a place for each and every one of the nine voices, and this is a time for the directive voice.
If you’re someone who cares about gender equity, or someone who is interested in good communicating or if you simply spend some of your own hard-earned cash to pay for a BBC licence fee, and want to be assured that the money is being well spent, then you should read the letter that Carrie Gracie published at the beginning of this week, when she resigned from her role as the Corporation’s China Editor.
If we’re serious about gender equity, we need to prove it.
While a few cultures evidently do not believe in equal opportunity for the sexes, most now at least espouse it and have policies that support it. Unfortunately, micro-discourse and behaviour too often belie our public utterances. So when I say that ‘we’ need to prove we’re serious about it, I mean ‘we’ at every level, nationally, organisationally, inter-personally, at every cultural level where people meet and interact.
Some might object that it is time to stop talking about gender equity and start doing more about it, but actually it is time to start talking differently, in a way that respects and manifests gender equity. This is one of the most powerful and immediately available ways of bringing it into being.
vp-adminGender Equity has a Speech Impediment: what are we going to do about it?
There is clear evidence that women in general tend to be less forceful than men, when it comes to making their voices heard in the world of work. The effect is to disadvantage women, placing them in a ‘glass cage’ in their day-to-day interactions in the organisational context.
This is an absurdity in modern economies, where heavy manual labour is largely a thing of the past, where work revolves increasingly around the manipulation of knowledge, the provision of services and the nurturing of relationships, and where both educational and social opportunity have demonstrated that there is no sound reason to regard women and men as anything other than occupational peers.
The fact that men remain to a greater or lesser extent dominant in organisational hierarchies world-wide should not be taken as evidence that the current asymmetry is natural. The subordination of women is not a natural but a cultural state, and like any other culture, it can be changed.
So what can women do about the glass cage, its ceiling and its bars? This paper suggests four broad strategies and the cultural context in which each is likely to be most appropriate. The strategies are based on insights obtained from research and practice with our own VoicePrint diagnostic and developmental resources. The cultural contexts are described in terms of Hofstede’s well-known and highly researched framework of how cultures differ.
The emphasis is on practicality.
vp-admin4 Strategies for Women to Make Their Voices Heard
Far from being a world leader in gender equality at work, the UK has recently fallen out of the top 20 in the country rankings compiled by the World Economic Forum. The UK now ranks 26th after Moldova and well behind Rwanda. We’re not being as smart as we should be about gender, either socially or economically.
vp-adminYou know about the Glass Ceiling, but are you aware of the Glass Cage?
Each of us has a personal but largely unconscious profile of ‘voices’ which shapes the way we talk and the impact we make. We each favour some voices, and often over-rely on them, while neglecting others.
The effect is not only to leave us less versatile than we could be and need to be, but also deaf and blind to our own inflexibilities and to the consequences of some of our actions.
By bringing your personal pattern of voices, and its impact on others, into conscious awareness, VoicePrint makes your personal, inter-personal and organisational skill-set more complete, more agile and more effective.