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Did you know … that most oil rigs don’t’ have female toilets?

Do You Treat Everyone the Same?

Young, white and female?

My oil and petroleum client is an organisation that has been formed by the merger of three different companies, from three different countries. People have been brought together from all around Europe, from some very different cultures. They have different working styles and habits, which was making ‘buy in’ a challenge for the management.

All the differences seen between these groups of people working together lead the organisation to ask me to deliver training in unconscious bias – helping their employees to be less judgemental of others and to be more aware of their differences and how they treat other people. They wanted their employees to learn to work together and get used to their different ways of working.

During this training, I learnt that traditionally there have been no women working on oil rigs, so no female toilets have been installed. There are no young female engineers coming through the industry looking for jobs on oil rigs, as there are few jobs that they can apply for. So the rigs don’t install separate female toilets. It’s a vicious circle.

The majority of the delegates on the courses were white, middle aged men. Sometimes there would be a couple of women attending a course and it was interesting to see how they would sit together, even if they didn’t know each other.

If this were your organisation, would you want to change the lack of diversity within your employees? I spoke to my client about being an industry leader. Could they encourage more young women through apprenticeships and other programmes? The diversity of the population is changing and they won’t be able to rely on a pool of white, alpha men, who want to work on oil rigs. Could you start by making small changes, rather than leaving it to everyone else?

Disabled and struggling to find work?

During my career in training I have also noticed that too many companies still think that if someone is disabled, they won’t have the technical skills or the intelligence needed to carry out many jobs. People can still have technical skills, be very clever and be disabled!

There are too many assumptions made that lead employers to believe that disabled people won’t be worth interviewing. How do you know, until you look at someone’s CV or speak to them? If you don’t give someone with a disability the chance to show what they can do, or learn some new skills, they will never be able to demonstrate how capable they are. They will often lose confidence and if they can’t find a good job, they may not be able to keep their skills and knowledge up to date, leaving employers believing that they don’t have sufficient skills. Another vicious circle.

Do you treat other people differently – either in your organisation or personally? What else can you do to understand other people and their differences, so that we can all learn to live and work together? Think about how you can enrich your life by learning about what makes other people different.

When we don’t understand the differences our reactions and responses can sometimes be negative – sometimes very negative. National Hate Crime Awareness Week this year takes place from 12-19 October.

According to recently published police figures, disability hate crimes in England and Wales have increased by one third between 2017 and 2018. 

A hate crime is defined as ‘any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice towards someone based on a personal characteristic.’ These crimes rose by 30% in the UK in 2016-17. The total number of reported hate crimes (race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, transgender) rose by 17%.

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