Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager answers your questions | 2018: Year of the Woman.

I am the equality, diversity and inclusion manager for Mott MacDonald, a global engineering and consultancy firm with over 16,000 employee in over 150 countries. My company builds bridges, helps design tunnels and trainlines and we also advise governments on programs to help support students - like you - to learn better. My job is to make sure our staff from all backgrounds are happy at work and feel respected for being themselves.

Why do people think that women should have different rights? Did something happen in the past? 

From: Boutcher Primary School

Most people agree that women should have the same rights as men, or people of any gender. In the past though, this was not always the case. Women did not have equal rights to vote or own property - for example - because of the beliefs of others, mostly men, and this was based on a range of things: religion, some biology-based beliefs about men’s and women’s physical differences, politics and some were based on misguided chivalry (which means when men think they are looking after or protecting women but are actually limiting their freedom). A key change to this was the suffragette movement where women protested – and even died – in order to get the right to vote, the same as men.

If you were a man what would you say about women rights? Would you think we should be treated equally or not? If not is that just because you are already in power? 

From: Goldenrespect | Elaine Primary Academy

As a man, women’s rights are also my rights because I have a mother, a sister and my colleagues are also women. I know from my job that gender equality is good for society and also benefits the economy if women are employed at the same rate as men, in every sector and at all levels. I want everyone in society to be treated fairly and have the same rights as me, I don’t believe that ‘if women succeed, then to balance this out men must have to fail.’

One important point about power is that society has been created by men historically and this means that boys are sometimes treated better than girls. I know as a boy I have benefited and my aim is to use this advantage to help ensure others are fairly treated and recognised. I am a trustee for the Fawcett Society, a feminist charity, and their history goes back to the suffragette movement.

"I know as a boy I have benefited and my aim is to use this advantage to help ensure others are fairly treated and recognised."

Richard, Diversity and Inclusion Manager for Mott MacDonald

So you think that one day we will actually achieve full equality to the highest standard in which everybody gets paid the same, has the same opportunities and the same education? 

From: Sceptic cookie | Michael Faraday school

Society is always changing and evolving – people are very interesting don’t you think? Although yes I do believe we will achieve equality, I do also think that there will be new groups with power and other groups without that same power. This may change from gender or race over time but then we need to make sure that we have equal employment and pay for people with disabilities, for people who have migrated to the UK seeking asylum and for several other groups – can you think of any people who may not have the same opportunities as you or your parents?

What would happen if women started being in charge? That wouldn’t be fair for men wouldn’t it? That means that we need to find a way where every person has equal rights without fighting but how is that going to happen if we don’t respect each others rights? 

From: Goldenrespect | Elaine Primary Academy

Respect is so important and we need to respect our similarities and also our differences – just because someone thinks differently from me doesn’t mean my ideas are right and their’ s are wrong; we need to respect each other’s views and perspectives.

With a focus on women being in charge, do you mean women in politics? We have a female prime minister in the UK and men are not being treated any less well are they? From a business perspective – and perhaps this applies to groups in the classroom – when we have teams of equal numbers of men and women we see the best results than a team of all men or all women; it’s not about ‘boys versus girls’ because diverse groups work better.  

How long do you think it will take for women to get the same pay as men? 

From: FootyThinks | Michael Faraday School

There have been several estimates for when the all women’s average pay will equal all men’s average pay (the gender pay gap) in the UK and some suggest over one hundred years! It is important to note that paying a man more or less than a woman doing the same job is illegal and has been for over forty years. So, your History teacher who is a man should be paid the same as your history teacher who is a woman if they do the same number of classes, for example. Overall though we see that more headteachers are men and maybe more heads of years or departments and this means that men on average are paid more. We need to make sure that women working have the same opportunity to have these senior roles – more female headteachers, and more male teachers too (as the majority of teachers are women) and this will help address the average pay equality. The same goes for many different jobs and areas of work.

One Comment

  1. How do you help your staff, who have a hard time being at work because of their background or gender, overcome this?