The new Batman will be black DC comics has revealed. Can he do
for your organisation what he is going to do for Gotham City? Or will
it be Wonder Woman who returns to save the day?
Does your organisation’s Equality and Diversity strategy
recognise the lack of black employees in senior posts and is one of
the aims of the strategy to address this situation? Do you believe in
superheroes? Because that’s what they would have to be to smash
discrimination, bash negative stereotypes, trash ignorance and
singlehanded make Gotham City or your workplace safer and fairer.
Perhaps having a person of colour on the senior management team
is just a tick in the diversity box, a symbol of progress, evidence of
a fairer recruitment process or does it reflect an assumption that
this is the person to sort the problem. Maybe as is the current trend
with superheroes the answer is not one but a team of superheroes each
with a different superpower and each specialising in an area of
equality. A comprehensive super team able to defeat racism, sexism,
ageism, Islamophobia, homophobia, and discrimination on the ground of
disability, sexuality or sexual identity. ( I don’t know if the Xmen
are strictly speaking superheroes but they have led the way in terms
of colour, disability and sexual orientation not being a barrier to
possessing super powers).
Clearly whilst most organisations would accept the aim of having
a senior management team balanced in terms of gender and race it
wouldn’t be realistic to have every area of equality
represented-unless of course some double up. But gay, disabled, black
super heroes are thin on the ground!
So despite the size of the challenge are we saying no more
heroes. That we don’t want to rely on one person, even one with
superpowers, to make the organisation a fairer more supportive place
to work. Realistically if we are ditching the charismatic leadership
style represented by the superhero we are replacing it with the
expectation that there will be many leaders or champions of equality
throughout the organisation.
Being a champion of equality should
not be restricted to those in management posts, a safe, supportive and
accepting working environment is more likely to be established if
champions of equality come from every level of the organisation.
So not Batman and Robin just HR and the Champions.