Challenging norms

Diversity is about getting more people with different perspectives in the room and challenging how things have always been.

cartoon heads stuck on people's faces


Diversity is a huge and slightly amorphous thing, but generally it means getting under-represented people into all levels of organisations.

More broadly it is about taking into account different opinions, perspectives and challenging established norms. At work it is about stopping ourselves from only hiring, working with, promoting, etc, a certain type of person with a certain type of background.

Challenge can be difficult. It is much easier to coast along doing things the same way as usual, although with everything changing around us that is not as easy as it might once have been. Challenge can be tiring, but it can also be exciting, interesting and motivating. A breath of fresh air. The engine of innovation.

Yet even in diversity circles, as everywhere, there is still the danger that we create norms and that we end up talking to ourselves, to ‘people like us’, whoever ourselves might be.

Diversity in flexible working and childcare, for instance, is about making things possible for everyone – whether they live in London or in a rural village in Wales or a small town in the West Midlands or whether they have a supportive partner who is a beacon of equality or not or don’t have a partner at all, whether they work in an office or in a shop or in a call centre, are self employer or whatever, whether they have family nearby or not, whether they get on with that family or not, whether they have kids with special needs or not, etc etc.

Even with the best of intentions, it is easy to fall into certain norms and initiatives. The important thing is to challenge whether these work effectively, to keep questioning who is in the room, who is represented, what more needs to be done.

The same applies to parenting. There is no one way to do it. Different families face different circumstances. We need to widen the case studies we use in order to provide policies and information that help a broader range of people and offer practical help for real people so they have more options.

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