I am trying to break down stereotypes in the workplace.
I am disabled, I have physical, mental and learning disabilities, but by championing the cause I can raise the issues I encounter at the top of the pyramid and hopefully they will cascade to the bottom.
Although I do find it quite funny seeing the faces of my workmates when I ‘come out’ to them…
You see I wasn’t born male, I was born Intersex, and I still am, I have Testosterone injections every fortnight to keep me looking (and acting) male!
I don’t tell the world (although I suppose I just have), I don’t shout about it, but I have put my name down on the equalities board on my workplace intranet site to help others in a similar situation, I also belong to the LGBT community so I’m well placed to help those who are confused about their gender/sexuality.
It can be tough when you find out you are Intersex/have a gender abnormality, my syndrome is called Klinefelter’s Syndrome 47, XXY which means I have an extra female chromosome, it affects every part of my life, I am outwardly male (because of the injections) but my brain is female, and if I didn’t have the injections my body would change too! Now that is confusing!!
What has this got to do with International Women’s Day? Well, I feel like I belong more so with my female colleagues than I do with the males.
Although I don’t come across some of the obstructions that women face in the workplace, I do meet several of the others including the glass ceiling – mainly due to my disability and my ‘standing up for what I believe in’ against anyone who disagrees with me – whether that be an Engineer (my grade), a manager or a Director!
I suffer from 'PMT' every fortnight due to my injections, I have very high- highs and very low-lows, and it can affect my relationship, I need to manage it the best I can, by varying that 2 weekly cycle by a few days either side.
I do feel more comfortable in a room full of women than I do with men, ok I don’t talk about stereotypical women’s subjects, but neither do I know any stereotypical male subjects either!
I feel sad that my workplace hasn't pushed International Women’s Day to the extent I think it should do to other employees across the business.
Next year I want to see a roadshow atmosphere showcasing all the women involved in putting together the aircraft we create.
I want my employers to show the men across the business that women aren’t just there to take notes, and fetch coffee, but they are there to install software in your PC, fix the avionics on the fighter jet, or even test fly the jet before the customer gets to it.
Only then will my colleagues start to respect women on this site, they don’t respect disabled men/women, but let’s start with one thing at a time!
Here are some links to some interesting articles regarding this subject.
Upcoming Events - Celebrating Gender and Diversity
IDAHOT – 17 May 2016
International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia (IDAHOT), draws the attention of policymakers, opinion leaders, social movements, the public and the media to the violence and discrimination experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people and all those who do not conform to majority sexual and gender norms.
National Women in Engineering Day (NWED) – 23 June 2016 Engineering excellence is at the heart of our Company, and we support numerous initiatives that promote and encourage young people, particularly women, to study and consider careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths subjects.
London and Manchester Pride – 25 June and 26 August 2016
A great platform to raise awareness of important LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) issues, the events also serve as a great way to bring together our LGBT colleagues and allies in a fun and supportive environment.
Black History month – October 2016 Celebrated for more than 35 years, October is a national celebration of black history, arts and culture throughout Britain.
International Men’s Day – 19 November 2016 Many of us are familiar with the annual Movember campaign, and International Men’s Day is focused on raising awareness of men’s and boy’s health issues, as well as on improving gender relations, promoting gender equality and highlighting positive male role models. Much like International Women’s Day, it is an opportunity for men to celebrate their contributions and achievements to community, family, marriage, and childcare whilst highlighting the discrimination against them.