It’s been 20 years since Esteban González Burchard took a trip to Chicago that changed his life. The asthma researcher had been to the Windy City before, so tourism wasn’t on his agenda. Rather, he was there to attend the American Thoracic Society Conference for the first time. And he was on a mission. The […]
I was in the Mission Bay Conference Center in San Francisco, on a stage in front of the largest group of men I had ever seen gathered together in one place, at the same time, to talk about inclusion at the Better Man Conference. There were executives, leaders, emerging leaders and changemakers; men from big corporate, men from the entrepreneurial community, men from early stage tech companies; coaches, contractors and consultants. To stand on that stage and look out at hundreds of men, willing to learn from one another—men who were challenged, during the course of the conference, to model the value they place on inclusion in public, and make it safe for others to do the same—was a powerful experience.
The first time my department chair was hostile to me was during a private lunch, moments after I expressed curiosity about their field of specialisation. The second time was a humiliating email copied to college administrators. The third time was a dressing down in front of an administrative assistant. For anyone familiar with workplace bullying, this is known as “repeated mistreatment” or – more euphemistically – “escalated incivility”.
Rivka Isaacson is something of an authority on the novelist and philosopher Iris Murdoch (pictured above). She has delivered papers about her at conferences, published two peer-reviewed articles and contributed a chapter to a book. She now feels “part of a community” of Murdoch scholars and is often asked to chair relevant events. Many in that community are surprised to learn that her academic post at King’s College London is not in the English or philosophy department, but in chemistry.
Decades before Anita Hill, Gretchen Carlson or #MeToo, American companies dreamed up “diversity training,” typically a course that lasts anywhere from an hour to a couple of days, with the goal of wiping out biases against women and others from underrepresented groups. For most of its history, diversity training has been pretty much a cudgel, pounding white men into submission with a mix of finger-wagging and guilt-mongering.