This is my final blog.
Gender inclusiveness and equity became my focus over two decades ago, when I was the first (and only) female senior vice president at a well-known company. Later, gender diversity, equity and inclusion became the mission of my company, DifferenceWORKS, LLC. I published a book, Difference Works. For over 13 years, I did speeches, facilitated workshops, gave interviews, and provided consulting services to help organizations make “inclusion” more than an aspiration. I taped videos, had many articles published, and wrote blogs – 276 of them to be exact. I used gender bias as a doorway to understanding unconscious bias generally.
In 2020, so much changed. The pandemic emerged; those who could quarantined and worked remotely. Zoom replaced meetings and the phone. And I did my last workshops.
Also in 2020, the death of George Floyd re-awakened the call to know and show that “Black Lives Matter.” The targets of the “Me Too” movement – sexual assault and violence — remained as common and real as when Harvey Weinstein’s behavior increased their public visibility five years ago. (BTW, me too.) And, by this time, the definition of “gender” itself was recognized as more complex than we had seen it when I was young; there is greater focus on gender identity, gender fluidity and the use of pronouns.
These three movements understandably took most of the oxygen in the diversity, equity, and inclusion field. I felt I would need to apologize for writing about garden variety gender bias and discrimination. So I didn’t.
My mission had (no, has) to do with the workplace and leadership. I want men and women –and masculine and feminine ways of being, working, and leading – to be equally valued. I want awakening to bias based on gender to enable our overcoming unconscious bias in all areas. While there is progress, my mission is not accomplished. Gender bias is real and important. Not enough men or women model and leverage feminine as well as masculine forms of leadership. Unconscious bias underlies lack of inclusion of all difference — and, worse, discrimination and violence. I hope my work has made a difference. But, at this moment, my mission seems less critical than these other issues.
Women are not stopped by police because of their gender, and they are not shot for making the wrong move when stopped. Racial violence and gender violence are both outside my wheelhouse. Like others, I am still learning about gender in a non-binary way. These matters must, I believe, come first. I offer anything I can contribute to them. This is farewell to the blog world from DifferenceWORKS and Caroline. Thanks to all who followed me in the past. I sincerely wish success to those continuing to work for equity and inclusion.