Equality and diversity highlights from last week: benefits of diverse leadership, offering alternative role models for young women and the first deaf-blind student at Harvard Law School.
Gayle Peterson, an associate fellow of Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, writes that to change the face of business, we need more women at the top. Gayle argues, “A major part of the problem is that despite positive-sounding developments in recent years such as the increase in CSR programmes, diversity awareness, and employee engagement, the corporate mindset of top-down, command-and-control leadership has remained unchanged since the mid-nineteenth century.” She suggests that recognition of benefits of diverse leadership along with re-examination of our expectations of leadership is a good approach to creating systemic change.
Film maker Rebecca Brand is making a documentary about the invention of Catherine Bennett, a dinosaur-loving, bike-riding, tuna-pasta-eating pop star, an alternative to the limited and limiting female role models offered to young people through mainstream media. Rebecca writes, “It’s hard to believe that in 2012 women made up only 13% of the screenwriters of UK films and 8% of the directors”. Her documentary ‘Credible Likeable Superstar Role Model’ challenges the unsatisfactory status quo and believes in the principle “if she can’t see it, she can’t be it”.
Haben Girma is the first deaf-blind student at Harvard Law School. In an interview, Haben says, “The other thing that really inspired me is that due to my limited vision and limited hearing, I developed strengths in certain areas and that was analyzing and problem-solving. Having a disability means you’re constantly dealing with obstacles, and a lifetime of constantly dealing with obstacles has allowed me to have really strong problem-solving skills, which is great as a lawyer.”
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