I will always be a student and I like that about me. I may even be addicted to learning new things, including, but not limited to learning new things about myself. (The good, the bad and the ugly.)
For as long as I have been a sponge for learning, I have been especially invested in social justice and human rights. (Even before I knew what they were called, or the endless lesson plans that accompany human rights.)
Over the years and lately, I have had the good fortune to hear (and learn), a great deal about diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Even though I had ample training on it, my learning AND my questions have really skyrocketed in the past few months.
While in “Inclusion School,” I have also had an opportunity to tour some of the hottest Chicago tech companies who pride themselves, and maybe even boast a little, on superior workplace diversity and inclusion.
Some of these companies are, by a long shot, the finest working environments I have ever seen. The physical spaces are welcoming, comfy and designed for collaboration.
Here is the bad news, and the reason why I haven’t mentioned any specific companies or actual people I am learning from…
I am hard-pressed to find my population. Yes, I’ve seen plenty of women, but what I can’t seem to find in these tech companies, and I am looking EVERYWHERE, are women above 50 years of age. To be honest, in one company, I don’t think I saw any men over 50 either and if we are really going to get into the nitty gritty, I can’t be sure if I saw ANY women over 40 years of age.
Look, I am not getting down on tech companies. I love tech companies.
I am, however, interested in where women over 50 years of age are within these hot tech companies. I am even more fascinated with the external corporate messaging of infallible dedication to workplace diversity and inclusion and yet, where are women like me?
There are no accusations here on these very successful tech companies, but I sure would like to review the actual diversity data from corporations who tout diversity and inclusion in their workplace. Perhaps their 50 and 60-somethings are working remotely or are in a less public place, but I doubt the latter as the work-spaces I have toured are wide open.
As you may or may not know, I believe ageism is myopically immature and downright wrong.
I realize that we all have biases. I do too, but, if you pride yourself on diversity and inclusion in the workplace, or within social justice for that matter, please take a long, honest look. If you can’t seem to find women like me, or care about the rights of women like me… check yourself and your actual commitment to inclusion and diversity.
Plus, I have no doubt that real diversity and inclusion, with a smorgasbord of different ages, races, religions, genders, socioeconomic statuses, etc. just has to be the best place to work AND the best place to be a lifelong student.