What do diversity at work and the England women’s football team have in common?
Recently, the England women’s football team had some pretty big success at the European Football Championship. They came out of the championship with very impressive scores, history-making wins, and a brand new wave of football fans.
As well as showcasing a lot about football and sports(wo)manship, the performance of the English women’s football team can teach us a lot about diversity and diversity at work. There are many themes and messages from this team and their games that we can easily apply to diversity, inclusion, and accessibility, at work, even if that seems a bit of an unusual link, to begin with.
Diversity is a worldwide theme and we can see it everywhere if we only look.
The England women’s football team are an amazing example of diversity at work.
Let’s discuss why.
The World Wants to See Diversity
From the packed stadiums to the highest viewing ratings of European women’s football ever, we can see very clearly that the world wants to see diverse sports. The general public welcomed the England women’s football team with open arms. The joy experienced by football fans across European helped to cement women’s football’s place in mainstream sports. Some people may still hold the opinion that women’s sports aren’t as interesting as men’s, and these games truly proved them wrong.
The same rule applies to diversity at work. The general public wants to see companies and businesses that are working in diverse and inclusive ways. People want to see women and people of colour at the top of business ladders. They want to see non-binary and trans people at the forefront of brands they like. In fact, if people see companies that aren’t diverse, it can turn them away from wanting to do business with them or work for them. People want to work with companies that reflect the community and society they really live in.
Being diverse pays off in many ways. If your company isn’t diverse, you are missing an important opportunity.
Diversity Starts at Home
The women’s football team is diverse from the inside out, including their management. Sarina Wiegman is a Dutch woman and head of the football team since 2021. The team show a female-led front to the world and demonstrates diversity at home. There are also LGBTQ+ members of the team.
If you want to show the world that your company is diverse, that diversity needs to start at home and it also needs to work on every level including management and top positions. It isn’t enough to state that you are diverse or diversity-friendly, people need to really see this in the reflection of your own team. You can put out all the diverse messaging and campaigns that you want, but if your business is made up of only one type of person, this messaging will fall flat.
An important activity for companies is to monitor and publish EDI figures within your company so that the general public is easily able to see this diversity. It is easier to see it on T.V. right in front of us but inside a company is not so visible. Making it visible greatly helps a company’s public image and helps them to connect with a wide and diverse audience.
Women Can Do the Job Just as Well as Men
It’s something we should already know but it’s great for the message to be reinforced. The women’s football team proved themselves to be as talented, skilled, and captivating to watch as any man’s football team. In an industry shrouded by gender discrimination and bias, it is a breath of fresh air to see women perform so well on the main stage.
When it comes to recruitment and employment, no difference should be made based on gender. Women should be in any jobs that they want to be and they should be equally hired and promoted. If this isn’t happening in your company, you are missing out on a very strong talent pool and it is a sign that some strong bias is living within your staff and processes.
Gender equality should be a primary component of any company. If that isn’t happening in yours, there is some work to do.
Allyship Sends an Important Message
The only time that men’s football teams were involved with the women’s European Championship was to show their support through visible allyship. Male footballers took part in allyship adverts in which they showed their support for their female colleagues and encouraged fans to be supportive and respectful of them.
This was an important message to send. We can’t assume that allyship is there if we don’t see it. People in powerful positions showing their support for others, especially those in minority groups and protected characteristic categories, is key. It demonstrates to the world that inclusivity is in and exclusivity is out.
In work, this should be happening too. Allyship at work should be strong and visible. This might need to start with training and learning about the topic of allyship. It makes a real difference so it is worth doing. We often underestimate how important support and backup can be in the fight for equality.
We Shouldn’t Accept Anything Less than Diverse Work Environments
With the women’s football team being so successful and so well-received, it shows that we all should accept nothing less than diverse, inclusive, and forward-thinking environments. If we continue to live in the past, we can never be part of this exciting future.
At Aspiring to Include, we can help you connect with diverse work environments, whether you are an employer or an employee. For employers, we can help you walk the talk of diversity in your company. We can help you become diversity-friendly and connect with a diverse talent pool through our inclusive job board. You can become one of the companies in our directory and show the world your commitment to diversity. That can be an entirely new world opening up in front of you.
For employees, we can help you find the diverse employers you want to work with. Those that provide equal and fair opportunities and help you be the best you can be without limitation. You can take a look at our directory of inclusive companies and find diverse jobs on our inclusive job board. You deserve to work somewhere that respects you, now is the time to find that place.
Equality is now, let’s all embrace it.