As a Divinity student, the Gospel of Luke stands out for me because it is one of Universalism, ‘the Gospel for All’. Luke’s emphasis is on Jesus who accepted those who were marginalised, the poor, the infirm, women & Gentiles. In those days even the temple functioned as a hierarchical structure with the outermost and outer parts of the temple reserved for Gentiles and women.
To date some of these hierarchies and “inequalities” still exist, more so in the world of work.
For long we have written, read, debated about the glass ceiling as less women make it to the top echelons of organisations.
There are a lot of barriers for women in the workplace. For example, the fact that women go on maternity leave or work flexibly for childcare reasons, might mean they are passed over for any promotions. Additionally, other women leave work completely to raise their children. As such re-entry into the corporate world is often a challenge and the only available options will be to occupy lower positions than previously held.
Unfortunately, the marginalisation is also prevalent in ethnic minority groups. There seems to be little representation of these groups in top managerial positions. A lot has been put forward to try and address these issues but there is no doubt that there needs to be a mindset shift on the stereotypes and more often flawed preconceived notions about women and ethnic minorities.
Having said that a lot of organisations have Diversity and Inclusion as an integral part of any People Agenda. They have become fully aware that capitalising on a diverse workforce offers advantages and yet the entry and progression of these groups is often slow.
The Gender Pay Gap report, a requirement for companies with more than 250 employees to publish a comparison of average pay for men and women across the organisations, gives some valuable insight. is still a long way to go as the Gender pay gap figures show eight in 10 UK firms pay men more than women. Some of the data about the figures are beyond the scope of this article.
The question is – how do we rectify this?
A lot of progress has been made with the heightened use of flexible working/working from home; keep in touch days at the end of maternity leave etc. However, a broader solution is needed to address the wider context and how best women can reach those top echelons of an organisation.
Initiatives like mentoring or targeted development for high performers etc. are an effective way to recognise, develop and eventually promote women into more senior positions. This applies to ethnic minority groups.
To introduce the topic, I used the universal Gospel of Luke as a benchmark of acceptance and inclusion. I also hope that the marginalised in our society will be recognised for the valuable knowledge they possess.