I was describing the four-pillar approach to a group of leaders recently, and there was a running joke that it sounds like I am running for political office. Of course, I could, but I am not!
I was describing why I focus on women’s and transgender rights. Besides having a history as a national board leader for a feminist organisation in Canada, I take a business-first approach, as I do in many aspects of my life.
I was in the corporate world for 30 years and understood the power structures and biases created by being a cis-gender, white, male-identifying person. It was an excellent role to play for 50 years until I had the epiphany through therapy that I wasn’t my authentic self.
That’s part of my superpower of being one leader with two genders of experience I bring to every client engagement. With this point of view, I see the disparity between genders.
Also, statistically, it makes sense. If I was to focus solely from a transgender perspective, based on the most recent UK survey, approximately 0.5% of the population identify as transgender. Our work will change some hearts and minds but will change very little policy. If I reflect on my LGBTQ identity as a queer person, collectively, we represent between 15 and 20% of the population, allowing us to change more hearts and minds and some policies. As a woman, we represent approximately 52 to 54% of the people regardless of our journey to being here. Collectively as a combined group, we can not only change hearts and minds, but we can also change policy.
From my experiences nationally and corporately, I know women are the largest group of marginalised people in the workforce today. I speak to this regularly in my work with organisations, a popular topic I discuss for International Women’s Day, 8th March.
The events in the past week here in the UK have highlighted many things: one crucial aspect is that we need more Acceptance without Understanding. Seeing human beings first who are deserving of human rights. Since human rights are about equity, not equality, we will experience them uniquely.
That’s where government policy comes into play to ensure that marginalised people do not experience further marginalisation.
While our individual needs are unique, we share these four pillars.
Health Care – accessing appropriate health care for our unique needs.
Economic equity – none of us are enjoying equality when it comes to economic power.
Representation – we do not see ourselves represented in places of power and privilege and not restricted to political structures or corporations.
Safety – rarely do any of us feel safe, from the office to the high street, when we walk outside our front door.
If these four pillars resonate with you, then realise we share more in common with other marginalised people than you might be aware. In that case, you need to consider acceptance without understanding™ as a philosophy of living a more authentic life. Maslow would be happy to know you uncovered the secret to creating safe spaces where people feel they belong.
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