Thoughts about hr and management in the real world – extra information I couldn't fit in my books!.
Last week saw the announcement that Jacinda Arden and partner Clarke Gayford are expecting their first child, due in June. There was instantly a social media furore of commentary about this. The negative comments I read seemed to fall into 3 main camps:
The thing is that none of these comments reveal the real reason why it’s unacceptable for Jacinda Arden to be pregnant.
And the real reason is this:
It clashes with most older men’s view of a woman’s role.
Over the years when I’ve run our Management Bites or Employment Law workshop and we get to talking about parental leave – almost always the men in the room in their 50’s and early 60’s tell me that they should be able to ask if a woman is going to get pregnant. They argue that if a women is going to get pregnant, they shouldn’t have to hire them because it’s disruptive to their team. They ask why should women get paid to have time off to have a baby? Why should they be able to disrupt a workplace and have a manager have to find someone to cover their role? Why? Why? Why?
It’s not okay to argue those things anymore.
Because gents, the world has changed.
Your views are no longer acceptable.
I know that this is hard to hear.
But for many, many years women’s views on equality, sexual abuse and our place in the world have been unacceptable. Minorities wanting equal rights – those views have been unacceptable. Now the tide has turned and you will need to learn to cope, as women and minorities have.
I saw this tweet this morning and think it sums it up nicely:
In the US that guy from the Apprentice is trying to hold onto those old men world views and it’s not going well for him. In New Zealand we are breaking them apart and showing how it’s done! Congratulations to Jacinda and Clarke. Thank you for finally bringing us into the 21st century.
Angela Atkins is People and Learning Director for Elephant Group NZ and Elephant Group UK – and also developed the Management Bites training programme. She is best-selling author of the bites series of books and is passionate about helping HR and managers create better businesses. You can follow her on Facebook Angela splits her time between New Zealand, the UK, California and Hawaii.