In the media

International Women’s Day is still relevant, leaders

Tanja Juul Christiansen Bitten Døjholt

By Tanja Juul Christiansen, Bitten Døjholt


08 March 2024


The debate about equality is increasingly prominent in the media – fortunately. Even though discussing equality and diversity can lead to oversimplification, generalisation, and polarisation, and even though we sometimes end up in a verbal battleground, we must not stop discussing the challenges we still face and haven’t overcome.

Not only because it’s fair and just. But also because we’ll need a cacophony of voices if we, as a society, are to tackle the complexity we face.

The world is becoming more complex, and the pace continues to accelerate. Anything straightforward is disappearing as AI takes on work processes and tasks. And yes, that can also apply even to the less straightforward tasks. What’s left is everything else. Everything that requires creativity, ingenuity, new perspectives, and complex collaboration. Everything AI cannot do.

We can only succeed in this if we ensure we have a good mix – different genders, ethnicities, generations, religions, professions, geographies, etc., each bringing experiences from various perspectives.

Diversity isn’t easy, far from it. It challenges everything we’re used to doing, delaying decision-making processes, creating friction, and pulling us out of our comfort zones. And therefore, most of us tend to sidestep it – often without even realising it.

To succeed in solving future challenges, to achieve success as a company, and evolve through diversity, we see at least three challenges that should be addressed.

  1. Acknowledge that it’s a cultural journey that affects everyone. The long haul. We need to fundamentally change our culture and the way we collaborate. We must get used to not only listening to those we’re used to but turning to new voices and listening with genuine curiosity, even if the “language” sounds different. Cultural changes take time and require us to be very specific about the behaviour we want to see.
  2. We must understand that we have different preferences, approaches to work, but also to our tasks and the “mental load” we carry at home. Therefore, we need to get better at listening to each other and recognising each other’s needs. And we need to work on how we support career development based on individuals’ needs rather than taking a generic approach.
  3. Finally, we need to practice noticing our own bias. We are all biased, but when does this emerge? When are you challenged? And why do you act in the way you do?

None of these tasks can be solved by the individual alone. It requires dedicated leadership that sets out a plan, leads by example, and persists with it.

Read the original article in Danish

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