Building Inclusion

“How many female-dominated industries have the fatality rates suffered in the construction industry, and what can we do to build better support for our male allies?”

I was talking to my friend and colleague Richard O’Neill – the men’s health campaigner and founder of Men’s Health Week -recently about how my view on gender equality has changed since my TEDx: #KillerStereotypes, and how so many things have changed since Covid19. As someone with lived experience of violence against women, the gender pay gap and someone who is also concerned about male suicide statistics, I believe we need a “powerfully” different approach to diversity and inclusion, one that includes men, especially those in the more traditional male dominated heavy industries.

I recognise the strides that still need to be taken in policy, media, homes and business to address diversity and inclusion in the workplace for everyone.

However, when accidents in the workplace, alcoholism, gambling, and suicide also disproportionately impact men, it shows that we still have some work to do with our equality initiatives as we try to promote true inclusion.

From my years within Transport and policing I know that a number of men are often overlooked, omitted or actively excluded from conversations, when we all know this not only contradicts a drive to reduce exclusion and ensure the benefits of diversity can be realised, but it’s also poor business sense. ALL staff, their wellbeing and productivity impacts your bottom line.

There have been huge strides in making heavier industries safer with better PPE, information and inputs on health awareness. However, as Richard’s 25 years of experience of building trades and construction attests, there are still improvements to be made when it comes male mental health and diversity awareness, and attracting more women into the industry. It’s really tricky because the building trades, heavy industries and the people who work in them are often falsely stereotyped as ‘typical blokes’ – a description often thinly veiled as a way of saying sexist and misogynist. It is not only wrong to negatively categorise a whole group, it’s not helpful in terms of building a better workplace and wellbeing for all.

Covid is reported to increase pre existing issues and inequalities that existed before lockdown.

For example:

  • More than two-thirds of UK adults have reported a negative impact on mental health

  • 20% of alcohol drinkers are consuming more

  • 25% increase in calls relating to domestic violence

Covid19 has thrown up new challenges for everyone. If we really want to have a more inclusive, cohesive, healthy and productive workforce we are going to have to learn new ways of working together in terms of gender, race and also intergenerationally. Change must be inclusive, easy to implement, practical and sustainable. Richard and I have given this a lot of thought, pooling our experience and listening to friends and colleagues in a range of industries.

We are committed to helping organisations improve with our men friendly straightforward training, designed to help managers identify and offer practical solutions to your inclusion concerns.

As Richard says ‘creating an inclusive workplace is not only a nice thing, and the right thing to do, but there is an excellent business case for it too, a more inclusive workforce is a more productive workforce.’

If you’d like to know more about our course and how it could benefit your organisation do get in touch.

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