Workplace diversity and inclusion

by Shweta Ramkumar

My workplace celebrated “Pride Month” today and had grand displays of decoration, dressed up staff members and delicious. Pride month falls under the umbrella of Workplace Diversity and Inclusion, and while the focus is making workplaces more LGBTQ+ friendly, Diversity and Inclusion goes much further.

When I joined the workforce two decades ago, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds were infamously known for working and staying in jobs at the bottom of the corporate ladder. Although done subtly, it was acceptable to deny hiring, promotions and benefits based on age, gender, ethnicity, sexuality & religion. Australia has since come a long way in making their workplaces being represented by people from all walks of life. In my work team, there isn’t a single Anglo-Saxon and the company has a rich mixture people from all over the world. The barriers to entry are significantly less and judgement or discrimination against people based on ethnicity, religion, sexuality, life choices, gender & appearance can now lead to significant negative consequences for the image & reputation of companies. 

While this may be true in Western countries, several cultures are still homogenous, xenophobic and exclusionary due to long held outdated beliefs, hierarchical social constructs & in many cases, religion. For instance, in Japan, it is not offensive for people to be rejected for jobs for not being ‘Japanese’ enough, or asking people who don’t look the part how long are they planning on staying there despite said person living there for ages. In India, it is common to be remarked or commented on for being of a lower caste, different religion (or no religion which makes it worse) & denied career progression based on these factors, gender, sexuality & appearance. Additionally, there are no workplace laws in these countries that protect employees against such behaviour. 

In many ways, I feel privileged to live & work in Australia which is a melting pot of cultures and I’m never questioned or judged for not being ‘Australian enough’ based on my appearance & ethnicity. Diversity & Inclusion committees have worked hard at making workplaces such as mine welcoming to everyone who have the experience & credentials for the role they work in. However, I personally feel an untapped yet significant cohort group that deserves more recognition, support, benefits & privileges are childfree & childless people. I’ve often heard that they get no emotional support for their challenges, workplaces celebrating events that may trigger them, being denied leave as people with ‘families’ deserve them more, no equivalent of paid parental leave & being expected to pick up parents’ slack. Something that deserves a separate post & my views to be shared in my workplace to be a catalyst of change.

Hi, I'm Shweta

I coach non-native English speaking healthcare professionals how to advance in their career and build better relationships with their patients and colleagues by expressing themselves more articulately and confidently in the English language.

I work closely with healthcare professionals who work with patients regularly. I help them improve their communication skills when interacting with patients and colleagues, teach them how to show up authentically, assertively and articulately in their field of work in order for them to ultimately gain credibility, validation and respect.

If you work in a clinical role in the healthcare industry and would like to learn more about how to better connect and communicate openly with your clients / patients, book a complimentary 30 minute discovery call with me to see how I can best support you.

Shweta Ramkumar - English Language Confidence Coach

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