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International Women’s Day is a worldwide event that recognizes the accomplishments of women in social, economic, cultural, and political spheres. This week JCW Group is interviewing a diverse group of employees to gather their perspectives on this significant occasion.
Today, Head of Talent Acquisition, Aasha Anam shares her viewpoint:
Tell us a bit about yourself and your ED&I journey?
Having started my Career in the Hospitality/Events sector it wasn’t until I moved into Professional Services that I really started to see the imbalance and under-representation so starkly across a number of different characteristics. As a Recruiter you can really impact ED&I from the language we use in our job adverts, in getting behind the words of a “person specification” or the “right culture fit” and in educating our clients in how to attract diverse talent, how to interview objectively and how to recognise and challenge unconscious bias. Now working in Talent Acquisition, predominantly in the Early Career market, it’s even more important as generationally there is a massive shift in what people expect in terms of ED&I, the bare minimum or a token effort is quickly identified and diversity and equality is regularly in the candidate top three wish list- I’m here for it!
When did you first realise the importance of Equity not just Equality?
In my last role I was one of the founding members of the Diversity council and hadn’t really come across this concept before and honestly its game changing. Especially in the current political climate international the importance of educating people on Equity Vs Equality couldn’t be more timely- we definitely don’t “all have the same 24 hours”!
Why is it important to you to raise the profile/visibility of Women in the workplace?
Whilst strides have been made in increasing the number of Women entering the work place in more sectors we are seeing a massive shift in retention at the mid to senior levels globally (with notable high profile examples in the Tech and Political worlds recently). We mustn’t be complacent as effectively we are close to taking a step backwards if women once again aren’t in the room were decisions are being made.
Do you have any advice for Leaders on how to embrace Equity in the workplace?
Change only occurs if you embrace and drive it- regardless of your gender. It’s not just a conversion to be led by women we need Ally-ship. People in leadership and position of influence have an obligation to lead by example, educate themselves, make the effort to engage even if uncomfortable in order to empower those around us and normalise these kinds of conversations. You need to shift the dynamic to education-change the mindset, being uncomfortable, addressing behaviour and giving feedback is an opportunity to be better not a stick to beat you with!
Anything else to add?
This is one for Women – its advice I have given time and time again: Don’t make yourself smaller/bigger, more accommodating, less/more vocal, less/more feminine (all advice I have been given in the past!) Don’t be afraid to have conversations and seek the advice and ally-ship of those who can support you and are in a more senior/influential position to you. If you don’t raise the problem, you aren’t giving people the opportunity to address it.