Gender equality in the workplace and diversity

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Gender Equality. PHOTO: Europeanmovement.eu

The notion of empowering women at work is inextricably linked to the concept of Diversity & Inclusion, also known as D&I in the forward-thinking Human Resources departments of the Corporate World.

How can we, on the one hand be fighting for equality among the genders if we don’t pay attention to the fight against racism or ethnic and religious discrimination? One of our supporters asked if they could nominate a non-Nigerian lady to be in the running for one of the 7 Wonder Women Awards.

It hadn’t been something that we felt we had to spell out in our media campaigns, but may I take this opportunity to confirm that foreign women will be considered on the condition that they’ve initiated something meaningful, that they were not simply hired as Expats, that is, not just in Nigeria for a limited amount of time in a fixed role, and have actually integrated into Nigerian society- both on a professional and personal level.

They must contribute to the Nigerian economy and act as an ambassador of sorts for the country on a recognisable level. If any of these ladies have, for example, attended Nigerian Law School and have been called to The Bar (highly unlikely)- fantastic! On a serious note, this class of women are probably entrepreneurs or making an impact on a social level.

Is there another Susan Wenger in our generation?! We would be happy to hear about her. We are all for diversity and inclusion! The Guardian Woman cover story of November 3, 2018 was a great illustration of our views on this. That the small handful of foreign women in Nigeria making an impact SHOULD be recognised, even if they don’t get enough votes to warrant a win, perhaps because they are not yet well-known enough by the wider public.

I was also invited to the panel of speakers at The Women In Leadership Society of Richmond, The American International University in London this week, and we touched on the same topic- that fight for gender equality in the workplace is also a fight for diversity in the workplace.

Even though the event was technically what some may define as a “women’s event,” one of the questions posed to the panel was about whether diversity of representation, be it reflective of gender identity, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, was as important in the lecture hall as in the workplace.

Lines are indeed blurred when it comes to the campaigns that women have started in the workplace, and women demanding for equality on the job naturally leads to discussions of other forms of discrimination.

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