By: Angela Prentner-Smith, Founder and MD of This is Milk
Part two of my book review blog covers two books about equalities and change that I would recommend.
Some of the key insights from it that really did stick with me are that a lot of men would rather be associated with something that is not even human than be associated with a woman, which actually tells us just how deeply and intrinsically born our misogyny is in society, and any ideas that we've attained equality can be picked apart.
The book also tells us that data feminism takes a more intersectional approach and looks at it from a kind of software technology basis, but really does show us how deeply entrenched that misogyny is.
Racism and inequality across wealth, are some of the examples from the book that I think are really worth us thinking about particularly for anybody that is involved in data or software. The bias that we're building into algorithms through data cleansing, through case laws, for example, are racist and misogynistic at times, and effectively the people that are building the software are blind to this because they don't have the diversity within those teams built up yet.
The people who are cleaning up the bad end of the data and people who are, for example, looking across Facebook or Instagram for violence, for child abuse, for things that we really shouldn't be seeing and are watching harrowing images day after day after day are typically under privileged women, whereas it is your over-privileged men in California that are building this stuff.
So it is really quite interesting from an equality perspective.
You should have ups and you should have downs. Delivering some failure is actually a good thing because you can recover from that, and you can delight your customers through these moments.
But also, from a psychological perspective and from an employer perspective, delivering great things like onboarding, having key moments like away days, summer barbecues, all of that are really important rituals and really important places to create culture and to create organisational culture. These moments are powerful.
The best thing about the book is this statement that has always stayed with me is that courage is contagious and can be practiced. So, by doing something courageous that inspires other people to also do something courageous is how movements become viral. The way that we change the world and the way that we change things for those around us is by speaking up.
And, articulating what that change needs to be because that is how behaviours go viral and that is how things change. That's how to change organisational culture.
It's from the point of challenge that we actually grow, that we move faster, that we innovate better, that we manage risks better and that is how we harness diversity. There's no point in having a diverse team if those diverse members of the team aren't given the challenge or cover to actually put across their points, that they aren't given the platforms to learn, that they aren't given the platforms to do something with this.
That's really the crux of these books, and the biggest thing that is stuck with me from that is as a business leader I need to be thoughtfully taking the time to give people challenges or ask for alternative viewpoints and give everybody a platform to speak up.
Giving people a platform to voice things in the way that they feel most comfortable, I don't always get it right. I don't think anybody can always get it right because we're human. But it is really thoughtful, purposeful leadership all of the time, thinking about how you are including people, allowing them to learn and giving them that challenge and allowing them to collaborate. These are the things that must constantly be through your mind and through your actions and being reflective and taking feedback about yourself is a key part of that.
Here at This is Milk we are celebrating Book Week Scotland.
We hold our monthly TiM book club on the second Tuesday of each month at 12pm, where we discuss not only books, tv shows, movies, podcasts, anything you’ve enjoyed consuming over the month and want to share. Anyone is welcome to join us. If you would like to join our book club or you’re interested in hearing more, please email email@example.com
Read the first part of this blog by clicking the button below.