food for thought: midterms edition

As the local National Public Radio station plays election returns coverage, here are the stories I collected this week related to the world of work and the people who do it.

Catt Small @ Model View Culture | Ten Lessons Learned from Organizing Diversity-Focused Events.

[2. Help Attendees Be Inclusive]…Even if your event has all-gender bathrooms and name tags with preferred pronouns on them, bad things can still happen due to ignorance. Some attendees might not understand microaggressions. One great way to ensure that an inclusive event will go well is to provide tips for inclusivity in the form of an introduction presentation.

Some things we covered in our tips for inclusivity were the use of positive terminology, having empathy for others, and avoiding labels and stereotypes. These tips were shown on a single slide and elaborated on in the presentation.

An introduction presentation is also a great time to mention your event’s anti-harassment policy and who to talk to in the case that someone violates it – that way, no one can say they didn’t know about it!

Melissa @ Nothing In Winnepeg | Do You Know About Jian?

This is the moment when I first learned. I was 24 years old perhaps — I’m counting back, trying to remember what was then, and when was that — and, after about six years slogging it out in freelance music writing, finally ghosting around the edges of my first fancy industry party. And there was a man gliding towards the bar, wearing the liquid smile that rides the faces of most self-satisfied stars. King of the scene in dark-wash denim jeans.

I turned to an old friend of mine, a man who had logged many years in the music biz.  “Isn’t that Jian Ghomeshi?”

He sipped his beer and nodded, but what he said next I had not expected. “Be careful,” he said, with the dark and searching eyes of someone who is holding a story that isn’t theirs to tell.


“Just be careful,” he repeated, darkly. “He’s weird, with women.”

Derrick Clifton @ Identities.Mic | So You Want to Be a Male Feminist?

As a man, being a feminist isn’t some special badge you earn after going to a rally, speaking out for gender equality or holding another man accountable for sexist behavior. It’s not about getting “ally cookies” or a pat on the back every time you do something that’s considered pro-feminism. Rather, it’s about making sure your actions aren’t sexist, transphobic or reinforcements of gender-based bigotry. It is not going above and beyond to act respectfully and in solidarity with women working towards gender equality.

Rachel Walden @ Our Bodies, Our Blog | Why Corporate Promotion of Egg Freezing isn’t a “Benefit” to All Women.

Despite the financial generosity, this might not be a good deal for healthy employees of these companies — or for women in the workplace in general.

While some news outlets have addressed the high cost of egg freezing — at least $10,000 per ovarian stimulation cycle and $500 a year for storage — there’s more to be concerned about than the high cost or the low chances of success (according to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, for a woman age 38, the chance of one frozen egg leading to a live birth is 2 to 12 percent).

We’ve pulled together a number of articles discussing the potential health risks and the complicated messaging to women employees. Please feel free to add what you’re reading in the comments.

Clare Shaw & Lucy Ward @ The Guardian | Dark Thoughts: Why Mental Illness in On the Rise in Academia.

Dr Alan Swann of Imperial College London, chair of the higher education occupational physicians committee, blamed “demands for increased product and productivity” for rising levels of mental health problems among academics.

He says: “They all have to produce results – you are only as good as your research rating or as good as your ability to bring in funding for research.”

Swann says most academics are stressed rather than mentally unwell: “They are thinking about their work and the consequences of not being as good as they should be; they’re having difficulty switching off and feeling guilty if they’re not working seven days a week.”

Academics and researchers can become isolated and not realise how “out of kilter” their working lives are, he says.

On Point (NPR) | Tim Cook and Being Out at Work in America (audio only; my apologies).

Last week, Apple CEO Tim Cook made history when he became the first Fortune 500 CEO to come out as gay.  And not just out, but proud and very clear about it.  “I consider being gay,” Cook wrote in an essay in Bloomberg Businessweek, “among the greatest gifts God has given me.”  It is striking that in 2014, this was still the first top tier CEO to be publically gay.  And of course, being Apple, this is tip-top tier.  In 29 states, you can still be fired for homosexuality.  This hour On Point:  Tim Cook’s coming out, and how it is today for gays in the American workplace.

Sam Dylan Finch @ Let’s Queer It Up! | What You’re Actually Saying When You Ignore Someone’s Gender Pronoun.

Some folks simply don’t understand what they are saying when they refuse to use someone’s stated gender pronouns.

When someone states their pronouns (he, she, ze, they, etc), they are asking for your respect. And when you choose not to use these pronouns, and instead opt for your own, you are not only invalidating someone’s identity, but you are also saying a plethora of harmful things that you likely never intended.

So what are you really saying when you’ve decided to continue using a pronoun that someone doesn’t identify with? Here are just a few things you could be suggesting when you use the incorrect pronouns…

And finally, three regular round-ups you might be interested in adding to your RSS aggregation of choice:

Rosalind Kemp @ The Reach Blog: Diversity Roundup – October

By Their Strange Fruit: Christianity & Race: Friday Fruit (10/31/2014)

Jazmin @ Persephone Magazine: PoC News in America


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s