On 1th of november 2016, Barack Obama gave a speech in Ohio, addressing to the male campaign leaders of Hillary Clinton and asking them why they did not want to vote for Hillary? Because for not to agree with her policy is one thing but not choosing her on the basis of her sex, is sexist.
“When a guy’s ambitious and out in the public arena and working hard well that’s okay, but when a woman suddenly does it, suddenly you’re all like – well why’s she doing that? I’m just being honest. I want you to think about it because she is so much better qualified than the other guy.”
We all know how the election campaign ended.
The Inauguration took Donald Trumps in the White House almost contemporaneous with the Women`s March, which once again showed us how far removed we are from gender equality and how much sexism, gender stereotypes and outdated role models impact our daily life.
Another example from my personal everyday life reflect precisely this problem of apparent gender equality and diversity.
A few months ago I applied for a job at a Swiss university in the Department of Computer Science. The university also actively encourages women to take part in the field of computer science on its homepage and is committed to more women in a men’s domains – for reasons of equitable and equality. When I made it clear how great I find this commitment, I was asked in the same breath how I would behave in a discussion with a man in this actual men-dominating industry and whether I think, that I could trough against a man. I was baffled that I was actually asked such a question. Would the question have been asked if I were a man?
Gender diversity and gender equality are current topics, which are discussed not least in media networks, universities and also in economics and politics. Also some companies and organisations have taken the topics to heart and are now proudly promoting women’s advancement. It seems to me, as already mentioned, that it is good form to take gender diversity as a minimum in the corporate mission statement, as the study by Funder et al. (2006) shows us. Funder et al. (2006) dealt with the topic of “Geschlechteregalität – mehr Schein als Sein”. She shows on the basis of the investigation of modern information and telecommunications industries, that the establishment of gender diversity in corporate models alone does not signify structural change. It is only when asymmetrical gender arrangements become justifiable, the myth can be exposed as a “myth” and a structural change can take place in organizations which closes the gap between symbolic and structural levels.
As Funder et al. (2006), Women’s March and Barack Obama’s speech, it is not enough to discuss gender equality to establish and to promote it – it has to be actively implemented not only on paper but also in our heads and our actions.