I’m sometimes asked ‘Why is gender equality so important in the workplace?’ My response is typically, ‘Why not?’ To me, gender equality is the foundation, but the question needs to go beyond that to: ‘Why is equality so important in the workplace?’
Equality is achieved when people can access and enjoy the same rewards, resources and opportunities regardless of gender, race, age, etc.
So to me, the answer to the question above is simple. It’s about business. We live in a diverse country. More households and businesses are being run by women and minorities; therefore, more business decisions are being made by women and minorities. Millennials are the largest generation in US history, with more buying power than any other generation. So even if a person or a company isn’t committed to the idea of equality for personal reasons, I don’t know why they wouldn’t for business reasons.
I’m a history guy, and I like to look at these topics from that perspective. Think of the comparison between iron and steel. If you look at iron, it’s a wonderful product that moved us into a new age, but you can’t build a skyscraper with it because it’s too brittle. So, someone thought differently and added another material — carbon — to form steel. You can use steel to build skyscrapers and any number of other structures that you couldn’t build with iron.
That’s why this country is so great. It’s made up of people who have diverse backgrounds and ways of thinking. When you keep them separate it doesn’t work, but when you bring them together, both become stronger.
That’s how I look at the issue of equality in the workplace. The more we can come together, the stronger we’ll be.
This was originally posted on LinkedIn.com on June 19, 2017 and is reposted with express permission from the author.