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Inclusivity - Yes that topic!

There are many topics I would like to blog about, but this one is very timely in my mind, so here goes. It's a touchy subject here in Canada, whether we like to admit it or not. All over the news,  there are stories of how far we have yet to go in terms of how we treat one another and the judgments we have about one another.  

I have spent my life in the GTA. Working, living and enjoying the diversity of Toronto. Yes, Toronto is one of the most diverse cities in the world, yet I do believe there are still many biases, forms of discrimination and opportunities to treat one another with so much more respect than we do today. 

So why am I  getting political on this blog? Well, there are many reasons. It's June, it's Pride month and I am the proud parent of a Gay man. That is one reason. Another is that I spent most of my life working for a large corporation where inclusivity was promoted and gender bias was not supposed to exist, yet...

Let me ask you as a leader how often do you think about wage parity within your organization. Are there still biases around gender-based roles? How many employees with physical disabilities are on your team? Would you hire someone who is trans? 

These are all tough but real questions and the list could be much longer. My mother used to say "everyone has a disability",  "some you can see".  Wise woman! 

In Canada believe it or not, almost 40% of kids on the street are there because of their sexual orientation. That does not bode well for the future workforce in Canada, the future of our Country should not be held back from education or opportunity because of their sexual orientation. Where will be we in 30-40-50 years? Ya better think about this, because the next generations are going to be making all of the decisions around your future! 

Canada has better marks than most countries on the inclusivity front. Almost all organizations have HR policies and guidelines that prohibit the organization from discrimination against anyone based on their race, gender, religion, sexual orientation or age. But how are we doing really? Like me, you would probably say, I hire the candidate that is best suited to be successful in the role and on the team - right? I'd like to challenge us to help one another take down the walls of our old ways of thinking and to start to think about how we can make our teams not only more inclusive but more creative and more successful because we have given an opportunity to people you may not have considered in the past. 

Mental health issues are of huge concern in every workplace today. Many of those issues are because people are trying to be someone they are not when they are at work. They cannot be themselves, for fear of what? Job loss, opportunity loss, open discrimination on the floors of our workspaces? 

Would you give space for prayer and meditation to someone who has a schedule of prayer times in their faith, or employees who just need a quiet time to reflect and pray or meditate, or just need a "time out"? Would you hire a trans individual to your team without raising eyebrows around the boardroom table? 

I'm putting all of these questions out there because it is time to put our money where our mouth is. The C suite is still full of white males and the Operations pool is still full of females. We have made progress, don't get me wrong, but I do not believe we have come nearly as far as we would like to give ourselves credit for. 

I was invited to see a choir in a small town in Ontario last week. It was a delightful experience, and great to see people wearing rainbow badges. Interestingly, the choir itself was more than 95% white. 

Last year, my husband and I attended a cottage association seminar put on by environmentalists. As I looked around the room, from the back, all I saw were white-haired white guys. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against white-haired white guys, I'm married to one!

Would you like to see change? Do you know that the more that you diversify your teams, the stronger they will be? 

June is Pride month. This is the month where the LGBTQ+ community gets to be loud and proud. Is it impossible to think that someday we won't need Pride month because we celebrate the diversity of our country and everyone who lives here every day?  

Despite your HR policies and guidelines, what are you doing to bring down the walls of bias in your workplace and on your teams? 

Did I poke the bear? Good! 

I'd love to hear how you are doing with this. 

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