Overcoming the Barriers to Change – The Diversity Conference

As in previous years, it will be attended by individuals with a passion for diversity, representing large and small businesses, the public and third sectors, who want to share knowledge and gain the latest insights on how to create a level playing field in a supportive environment for the workplace all.

In some cases, this can mean addressing hidden issues and opening up discussions about conditions that are rarely talked about or even recognized as barriers to employment or advancement in the workplace.

The opening session of this year’s conference will be chaired by Vicky Bawa, Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at BAE Systems, one of the conference sponsors, whose theme will be Maintaining Momentum – Breaking Barriers.

Vicky will speak about the need for continuous improvement and why settling for a certain level of change is not enough. It’s an issue to which she and BAE Systems demonstrated their own commitment when they won the Diversity Campaign of the Year award at last year’s The Herald & GenAnalytics Diversity Awards, held in October, for a project that made menopause an issue for open discussion within their own organization.

With women making up 23% of BAE’s 35,000 employees, Vicky said there is a real demand for more support and information, not just for female employees, but also for male colleagues and managers who have largely been unaware of the symptoms, its broader implications and how to open a discussion about it.

The campaign included creating a guide, using employees’ personal stories of their own experiences with menopause, raising awareness and breaking taboos so managers felt safe helping employees with issues arising from symptoms.

“Women within the organization were enthusiastic from the start, and while some men were more persuasive initially, we’ve seen a real shift in attitude and in those who have chosen menopause training,” says Vicky.

“Initially the women would tell us, ‘The manager is a man who doesn’t understand what I’m talking about,’ while the men would say ‘I don’t get what I’m getting out of this,’ or ‘I don’t know’ anything about it,” and those conversations have changed.

BAE Systems didn’t stop when they founded the Pause for Thought Network and later became an accredited menopause-friendly employer. The company is now working on new policies that will improve what’s on offer for employees – in fact, to keep momentum and break down barriers.

And there’s a good business case for it. One in four women will experience severe menopausal symptoms and one in ten will leave their job, reduce hours or forgo a promotion at a time when their skills and experience are critical to the organizations they work for .

“We started our campaign because we wanted to support our female employees and encourage them to leave the company when they had so much to give,” says Vicky.

In doing so, BAE Systems has tackled a hidden inequality in the workplace, made managers more confident in dealing with distressed employees and given their employees the assurance that their problems with menopause are taken seriously. The company is committed to ensuring that women don’t have to struggle with this in private.”

Full details of The Herald & GenAnalytics Diversity Conference for Scotland, also sponsored by Diageo, SportsScotland, and powered by CMS, see https://newsquestscotlandevents.com/events/the-diversity-conference/.

https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/23438938.pushing-though-barriers-change—diversity-conference/?ref=rss Overcoming the Barriers to Change – The Diversity Conference

Adam Bradshaw

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