Diversity is a risky business

Embracing diversity is the right thing to do in Indian atmosphere for a corporate. “Unity in Diversity” is what is taught to us in an early stage. As with everything in life, the ramifications of the simple sentence became clear many years after I stepped into adulthood. Call it late blooming.

Whenever diversity is talked in a corporate forum, it eventually translates gender bias. After the topic is raised, both the speaker and the attendees are at a loss. So was my experience in a gender sensitization session. Some of the eloquent in the audience stopped on their tracks for fear of saying something politically incorrect.

At the same time, everyone is confused about how to achieve this. Will this ultimately turn out to a “reservation” exercise? For me, a “reservation” game is counterproductive. But it is in fact the easiest way out. Ensure an equal mix of genders – 50% male and 50% female! Instead of adopting the easy way out, the best fit or the right fit should be chosen for any position. If there is anything lacking in any gender to qualify for a particular position, it should be identified as the gap and the gap published. The gaps, when known, are easy to bridge for a willing soul.

While the focus is on gender bias, there are other burning issues raised by diversity. This was raised by a soft voice in the same session I attended. I term the voice as soft since it did not travel beyond our table. The voice gently questioned, “Why are we addressing gender bias? We have bigger problems. Our teams are comprises of people coming from different parts of the country. Have you noticed how these people from the same region become a group within group? Shouldn’t we address this first?”.

Sadly, the soft voice was right. Tragically, his voice was drowned in the cacophony.

Picture Courtesy: http://www.fgsc.net

Tags: Musings,Gender,Bias,Sensitization


  1. Your blog is excellent. To get more visitors to your site submit your post at Stumblednews.freevar.com.

  2. Sometimes even when we shout it doesn't reach them, for they are in their own world, and to the world outside they are deaf.

  3. Nona, this is an interesting topic. Kudos to you :D.

    There were many thoughts going through my mind when I read this one. Not all of them I could post here.

    The “soft voice” is 100% correct. This is something which I have noticed all throughout my career. Your team badly needs some team acquaintance activities. It really matters.

    I don’t think “Unity in Diversity” by any means refers to Gender, and as you rightly said, when it comes to “Gender”, better call it as “reservation”.

  4. Good point raised by the soft spoken gentlemen. A Soft voice yet a strong message. But if it does not get heard, it may as well remain unspoken.

  5. True, in India, we always seem to stick to the familiar. The culture is so different in different parts of the country that sometimes it is just easier to stay with your own kind.

  6. Bias in any form is unfair - be it gender, complexion, region, religion, creed, caste... Like you said, it should be based on qualification and capabilities. Reservation is just not the solution!

  7. true..there r bigger issues than mere gender bias..:)

  8. Oh..this gender diffrence arises in every single aspect of life.But on 99% of the occassions men never agree what women says even though they are right...sad enough

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