Caroline M's blog: I should know better

I’ve been fortunate to work for a company that has made huge strides in the last few years in terms of equality, diversity and inclusion and we have an incredible, dedicated committee set up that run events, and educational talks on all things truly important for a diverse and inclusive workforce. There are also regular training sessions available on Unconscious Bias.

As part of Women’s Week back in March we held a book club on ‘Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men’. What an eye opener. Male and female colleagues were left somewhat shocked and educated by things we take for granted in everyday life. In our book club discussion, a male colleague rightly said, "I suppose we all have to be aware of and watch out for these examples in our everyday life and see how we can make changes”.

And watch I did! Watched as if I was watching a trap ready to snare!

In August, my husband and I finally sat down with a Will writer. He came to our house where I opened the door, took his coat, sat him down in front of the papers I had sourced for this service I had paid for. I am the keeper of admin in our household, so I also provided my husband’s financial details, work benefits, pension data, etc.

My husband provided his name, date of birth and the biscuits.

Following an exhausting two and half hours of sombre scenarios, we finally got to signing. I was handed the page, and signed in the section that said Client 1.

With a sullen air, the Will writer passed the page to my husband and said “C“ has signed in Client 1. So you will have to sign above her signature if you can squeeze it in as YOU are Client 1. And “C” is Client 2.

My husband’s face just said- Oh no, not now, please don’t do this now. Please do not poke that bear.

“EXCUSE ME???? Why?” said the bear.

“For Technical Reasons, the gentleman has to go first’’.

“Even though the lady organised it and paid for it??” said the now much more high-pitched bear.

Mr. Will let out a giggle and a shoulder shrug.

I stewed on that moment for some weeks. Equipped with this as just one example, all my unconscious bias training, my Lean In education, and my new found awareness of the gender data gap, I felt I would make this world more equal, bit by bit. How hard can it be to untrain these biases we have developed.

Roll on to September when my eldest daughter started Reception. Although most of the information from her first day was withheld we somehow managed to get a glimpse into the ‘rewards system’. Everyone starts the day on the sunshine, and if you are good you go to the Rainbow, not so good the Cloud, really not so good, you lose five minutes play, and so on until you reach the dungeon. (She may have said the principal’s office).

Excited parents: “Did anyone have to go to the cloud?"

Little voice: “Yes. One person".

“Oh. And did anyone lose five minutes playtime?”

“Yes, just one person though”.

My husband and I looked at each other thinking, wow, first day of Reception, and the teacher does not mess about!

Little voice pipes up: “It was the same person”.

In unison, excited parents said, “What was his name?”

“Mom, Dad, don’t be silly – It was a girl!"

Caroline M is a Risk Analyst at an asset manager in the city working with 4 immensely supportive colleagues and friends. She and her husband have two wonderful girls, aged 5 and 2 and together all four try to manage their puppy.

Category: A Citymother's Diary

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