March 16, 2017 | Written by: Brenda Decker
Today I saw the release of an article by StateScoop Magazine that announced the Top 50 Women in Technology for 2017. I know many of these women and truly believe that they deserve this honor. In no way do I want to diminish their accomplishments or the work that they are doing. But the article got me thinking – do we have a list of the top 50 men in technology? How about the top 50 left handed people in technology?
Maybe I am just being a bit sensitive to this “special” recognition after attending a webinar this week entitled “The Day-to-Day Experiences of Workplace Inclusion and Exclusion”. IBM’s Harriet Green and Catalyst researchers Dnika Travis and Alixandra Pollack presented during this webinar on the how we can all be more inclusive during our day to day interactions with each other. Inclusion does not mean we are all the same and think the same. In fact, they described inclusion as a feeling of belonging to a group combined with the uniqueness that you bring to that group. The presentation had some great material that gave the participants solid examples on how to increase inclusion, however, the chat that was going on with the participants was even more educational.
During the chat, several people noted that this training should be included as part of our mandatory diversity training for IBM employees. While people were reacting to that post, a male participant wondered why he wasn’t seeing many male participants on the webinar. As I contemplated that question it occurred to me that I had received the invite because I am registered to a group call the Super Women’s Group. So ironically, we were having a webinar about inclusion in the workplace during a session that by its title has the implication of excluding a group of people based on gender (by the way, I understand men are welcome to join this group).
We can continue to have healthy discussions about whether men and women are treated equally, as well as the inclusion and exclusion of people. However, in my opinion, until we start recognizing people for the best in what they do without a “qualifier” or including people as equals, we will never make meaningful progress.