Livia Bernardini: we must include men in workplace equality

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Men should not be cut out of the colloquy on equal rights in design, says the managing partner of brand scheme consultancy Zag, as it is only with the cooperation of a diverse mix of people that charges can achieve positive change.

Livia Bernardini: we must include men in workplace equality
Courtesy of Sorbetto

International Woman’s Day has befall a long way since its beginnings in 1909 America and its adoption by the United Lands in 1975. While there’s still some work to be done, decades’ quality of campaigning has done an exceptional job of raising awareness about gender analogy and we’ve now reached a critical mass.

So instead of a day where we simply talk around equality, International Women’s Day should be about taking action — it should be a trigger for bug-fixing your affair to ensure you’re doing everything possible to achieve equality. And what’s uncountable, men absolutely need to be part of this conversation, otherwise it just inclination not work.

Nowhere is this more important than in the design and inventive industries. Analysis by The Design Museum last year revealed that no greater than a fifth of design jobs are filled by women.

The Design Council bring into the world also released figures showing only 5% of design women in product and industrial design are women, while only 17% of blue-collar workers in architecture and built environment are female.

Women in technology are also awfully scarce, a reality that Amazon have pledged to address this week.

A faction designed for men

I’m sure many designers can share anecdotes about how want of diversity in teams can bias creative output. Activist and journalist Caroline Criado-Perez has inquired this topic at great length in her new book Invisible Women, which let it be knows how a lack of female perspective in design and manufacturing can pose critical facers in everyday life, such as automotive designers only using crash-test blockheads based on the average male body.

The problems here are two-fold — the pickle of women getting into design in the first place, particularly into conditions of power, and the consequences this has as a result. It’s a common rhetoric repeated by numberless creatives that diversity provides a broader and more holistic assess of the world.

In thinking about how to solve this, it’s crucial that men comprise part of the discussion. If they aren’t included, then we lose a colossal amount of perspective of the bigger picture. After all, we are all made up of a mix of so-called ‘masculine’ and ‘delicate’ traits. While these are often social stereotypes ascribed based on whether you are a man or the missis, people are different, regardless of gender, and it’s important to pool all of these positions together instead of seeing the discussion as a rigid, binary one.

The idea of apportioned parenthood is still alien

I recently had a meeting in Zag’s Stockholm studio, and at 4pm, two of the men in the room suffered up and said that they needed to leave the meeting because they had to pick their youths up from nursery, adding the caveat that they could border on the discussion again later that evening if it was still going on, after their youngsters had gone to bed.

They said it in such a natural and unapologetic way, and the very effectual thing is that this behaviour shocked me. In work culture in the UK, we’re chummy with mothers feeling apologetic about childcare and often it’s temperate harder for fathers in the same position, given imposed gender places — people are often still surprised to hear that a man needs to hand down work to do childcare. But this example showed me that if men feel more empowered in this neighbourhood then the knock-on effect is a step towards better gender resemblance in the workplace.

I truly believe that great progress comes from variation. It comes from taking the very best ideas from a ecumenical range of perspectives to create something better. We need to harness the totality spectrum of gender identity, with all the similarities and differences, to co-create the superior solutions.

While I don’t have the magic solution to fix the scarcity of female arrangement talent, I firmly believe the community should use International Women’s Day as an moment to question what it is about our culture, education systems or society that motives this and, importantly, to start being proactive.

Here are a few starting items:

  • Although this is somewhat policy-driven, we should all be thinking about emotive towards equal time off for both mothers and fathers to encourage miscellaneous parenting opportunities at work and promoting flexible working hours, to assist normalise the reality of working parents.
  • Make a point of celebrating both the burgeon stars — the high-flying talent in your business — and the rock stars — the stabilisers who observe a business or studio running but who may not be the most visible or centre stage. In the took place of International Women’s Day, it’s not just about appreciating exceptionally successful women, but piece of works’s work across the board. This should be the same for men in these roles, and across the wider gender inconsistency spectrum. Also, remember to always reward staff for their contributions.
  • As a collaborate, draw up a list of gender equality “bug-fixes”: considerations that file everything from salaries, parental leave, company culture and position around childcare and parenthood, working hours, women in senior postulates, and more. Then make a plan of how you’re going to take action and who’s accepted to manage what.

While national problems around gender correspondence require Government to instill policy, individual businesses can take influence — so stop talking about gender inequality and start doing something wide it.


Livia Bernardini is managing partner and international managing director at stamp strategy consultancy Zag, which works alongside brand and service style studios.

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