Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Gender discrimination isn't fair, but it's no reason to give up on self-confidence

by Katty Kay and Clair Shipman
Originally Published: April 30th, 2014

Women don't have to be jerks to be sure of ourselves. At work and beyond, the confidence gap is something we chose to close
    businesswoman fist
Who among us wouldn't like to shorten the cycles of doubt and rumination, to escape from the straight-jacket of perfectionism that makes risk, and failure, seem so daunting? Photograph: Design Pics Inc / Rex Features
For decades now, female students at the US Naval Academy at Annapolis have been referred to by their male counterparts with an innocuous sounding acronym: Dubs. There are more than enough hurdles for the women at Annapolis, young women there told us – and so challenging a nickname that seems to have lost its sting is often a battle they choose not to fight. Many of the women themselves actually use the term jokingly. A pint of ice cream is often somewhat affectionately called a "Dub tub". Still, imagine trying to feel genuinely confident – much less respected – when you are called, in shorthand, and on a regular basis, a Dumb Ugly Bitch.
Dubs is a phrase actively condemned by the leadership at Annapolis, which is working overtime these days to create a supportive (and safe) environment for its women. There's even a Lean In circle at the academy now. But Dubs and its persistence is a useful reminder of lingering institutional bias. Sexism remains stubborn and subtle, and shouldn't be ignored.
In writing about our new book in these pages, Jessica Valenti points to gender inequity in the workplace, and suggests female lack of confidence is just "a reflection of a culture that gives women no reason to feel self-assured". We completely agree. Workplace inequity is, in fact, one of the culprits, and that's why we wrote about Dubs and a host of workplace issues as well.
But the reality that the game isn't entirely fair is not sufficient reason to ignore one factor we actually have real power to change. We refuse to accept that women can't summon confidence when there are no women in the room, or when there aren't enough women in command, or when we're working in an environment with values we didn't design. That's hardly an empowering notion. Women are stronger and better than that.
Would we be more "naturally" confident, in our operational style and in our power, were the world run by women? Certainly. Are female values critical and perhaps even superior in the workplace? Probably. But it will take a realpolitik approach, not a grievance politics approach, to get there. It is obvious that women are in a much better position to influence policy – and to change the nature of the workplace – when they sit at the top. When we run for political office, put ourselves forward for managerial positions or speak up in that daunting professional space in big numbers, that's when we can really get things done.
Hillary Clinton has been preaching the necessity of confidence for young women lately, though her message was overshadowed by the announcement of another Clinton on the way. She offered vivid wisdom from an earlier pioneer:
The best advice I've seen came from Eleanor Roosevelt, who said that women in politics or in public roles should grow skin like a rhinoceros.
That, Clinton explained, paves the road to self-assurance. Is it fair that the world may make that harder for our gender to muster? No. But do we feel more satisfaction when we can approach challenges with confidence? Unquestionably.
Wellesley professor and feminist Peggy McIntosh offers a path forward. It's critical, she explains, for women to understand that their lack of confidence is not always "a personal defect", as Valenti writes – indeed, that the gap does have societal and institutional roots. But McIntosh also believes that information can and should become part of our fuel for action, which will in turn breed confidence.
There is so much we can't fix or affect or impact immediately and individually, but, according to research we've outlined in our book, confidence is something we can work with. It may be unevenly and unfairly distributed, but it's straightforward to acquire. And solving this internal shortage, one woman at a time, can help tear down some of the larger barriers women as a group face. It's not the only path forward, of course, but it works.
Women instinctively recognize the confidence gap in themselves, and want to experience the fortitude and resilience confidence can bring. Who among us wouldn't like to shorten the cycles of doubt and rumination, to escape from the straight-jacket of perfectionism that makes risk, and failure, seem so daunting?
We can start by being a bit tougher. Not on the men. We don't need to invent derogatory echoes of Dubs as retribution. In answer to a question so many women have asked us: no, we don't have to be jerks to be confident.
The best confidence-building gift you can give your friend, your daughter, your colleague, or the next female Naval cadet you meet is not to simply tell her, yet again, that the world is unfair. Or to merely suggest that she is perfect and fabulous just as she is, and that everything will work out. Push her, instead, to try the things that are hard, to win and even to lose. That's what nurtures confidence – no matter the inhospitable environment. That's what will move us toward a culture that truly values self-assured women.

Read the original article from The Guardian here: 

Companies Ask Workers with Disabilities to Check the Box and That's a Good Thing

by Joe Entwisle
Originally Published: April 30th, 2014

Let's not get all worked up about the new self-identification form for workers with disabilities. This form is designed to help federal contractors and subcontractors meet the new Section 503 regulations, which sets a target of a seven percent workforce comprised of employees with disabilities.
Issued by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, the form -- which is voluntary -- appears to be a huge benefit and not a negative for businesses. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits businesses from asking specific questions about whether an applicant has a disability. While a hiring manager may ask if someone can perform the essential functions of the job, asking questions about the existence of a disability is illegal.
HR departments now have the ability to attach the form as just one more item for applicants to fill out. The bonus is that employers can distance themselves from the form by saying, "It's a government regulation, not something we would ever ask under other conditions."
I think the new self-identification form opens an opportunity for companies and workers with disabilities. Let me explain.
First, for years businesses have hired individuals without knowing whether they have a disability that could affect the performance of their job. That's because while some disabilities are visible, many are not such as learning disabilities, visual impairments, seizure disorders, mental health issues, spatial processing disorders and the like. Not everyone discloses a disability in the workplace.
As a result, workers with disabilities might not ask for a needed accommodation, and their productivity at work can suffer. The new disclosure form is an opportunity to actively engage new employees and encourage them to disclose their disability so they can get the accommodations they need to succeed.
Second, without knowing how many individuals with disabilities they currently employ, companies have had a hard time reporting this number in order to show proactive hiring efforts, which is especially important for federal contractors. With the new form, businesses can to try to meet Section 503 hiring requirements in a way they haven't been able to before.
Third, the form represents a proactive approach that expands opportunities for people with disabilities -- the largest minority group in the U.S., a talent pool thattends to have longer tenures with employers, parallel productivity and fewer absentees from non-disabled peers. And it prepares businesses for the growing trend of accommodating long-term and highly valued older workers who may incur disability as they age.
Still, not every hiring manager is going to be comfortable using the new disclosure form to identify a person with a disability. Fortunately there are other ways to directly expand the workforce of employees with disabilities in a more inclusive way.
One great opportunity is for employers to participate in job fairs to connect with qualified job seekers with disabilities. A career fair gives businesses the opportunity to identify qualified workers with disabilities prior to opening positions or hiring. Hiring managers can actively engage job seekers with disabilities and spark a dialogue about their job history and interests, looking for a match for current and upcoming opportunities.
For example, Think Beyond The Label hosts four online career fairs every year in partnership with Brazen Careerist that includes nearly a dozen federal contractors that are currently hiring such as AT&T, Boeing and Pearson. Think Beyond the Label also offers accredited training workshops on hiring workers with disabilities as well as assistance understanding the utilization of flexible tax credits.
The new Section 503 requirements will help federal contractors tap into an underutilized talent pool, advance their disclosure efforts and engage employees. Companies that hire people with disabilities will create more diverse workforces that better reflect their customer base and help them enter new markets.
The bigger picture is clear. Whether to meet compliance efforts or to gain a competitive edge -- hiring people with disabilities is a strategy that smart companies will want to put into action today. The voluntary self-disclosure form marks the beginning of an opportunity for both companies and job seekers alike.

Read the original article from Huffington Post here: 

We Won The Battle on Sterling, But War on Racism in Sports Lives On

by Robert Littal
Originally Published: April 30th, 2014

It was the late 90s and a star (well a star in his mind) high school wide receiver was talking trash on the practice field.
The kid liked to talk.  His teachers said he had a gift.  Words just flowed from him naturally and instinctively without much thought, but with much ease. He was using that gift to berate any and all defensive backs on his team by letting them know they couldn’t guard him in 1 on 1 press coverage.
He was so confident (some would say cocky) that he challenged the entire secondary. He said he would beat all four of them for TDs in a 1 on 1 drill. He said go get whoever is left at the school and bring them out to the field to view his domination.
Slowly a crowd started to gather – maybe 10 or 20 kids at first as he took on his first challenger.
Quick move, swooosh TD. One down, three more to go.
Our cocky WR easily scored two more TDs as the crowd now swelled to around 100 people. The final 1 one 1 battle was the cocky WR versus a very soft spoken but excellent cornerback named Wayne.
Wayne didn’t talk much.  He had a pretty rough life up to that point. No one really knew what happened to his parents – just that he was moved from group homes to foster homes, before being taken in by a priest at the high school. The other thing was he was fast, really really fast. But, our cocky WR wasn’t concerned, he had beat Wayne before in practice and he could do it now.
They lined up face to face with the crowd cheering and all the pretty girls watching. The cocky WR liked this type of stuff. He was a spotlight guy, had no filter and loved the attention.
The QB says hike and BAM, quick jab step, swim move and our cocky WR has a step on Wayne. Just a step, but that is all he needed. The QB lofts a beautiful pass that is about to land perfectly in our cocky WR’s hands, but before it does……………
He starts talking.
“I told you, you can’t guard me, I don’t even know why you are embarrassing yourself like………….”
As he said the word “like”, the ball hits his hands and he bobbles it. Not a big bobble, not a long bobble, but enough of a bobble to give Wayne, who was focused all the way through the end of the play. a chance to grab our cocky WR’s arm as the pass dropped to the ground.
The girls laughed, the crowd chuckled, Wayne got hi-five and hugs from his teammates and our cocky WR was left to figure out what happened. He had made that catch 1000 times before. He was embarrassed, not because he dropped the pass, but because he had his guy beat. He had won the battle.
Our Cocky WR’s head coach was a Jewish man working at a catholic high school who was about 5 feet tall and looked exactly like J. Jonah Jamieson from The Daily Bugle. He liked the cocky WR, because he wasn’t just a player, he could break things down like a coach. (The cocky WR actually drew up plays for a new trips set that the team was using effectively that year.)
He walked over to his Cocky WR, who was still in shocked and asked him…..
“Do you know what happened?”
The reply he got seemed simple enough from his player.
“I bobbled a ball I should have caught.”
The old coach smiled at his Cocky WR and said….
“No son, you celebrated winning a battle before you finished winning the war.”
You celebrated winning a battle before you finished winning the war……..
You celebrated winning a battle before you finished winning the war……..
You celebrated winning a battle before you finished winning the war……..
As you can imagine that cocky wr grew up to be a halfway decent sports journalist named Robert Littal. Even in my youth, I wasn’t too proud to listen to what people were telling me and that phrase has stuck with me to this day.
When you win something your natural instinct is to celebrate. I beat Wayne cleanly that day off the line of scrimmage. That was the battle.  But I forgot the goal was to score the TD.  So, I won the battle, but in my exuberance I lost the war.
We won the battle against Donald Sterling and when I say we I mean YOU the people won the battle. Donald Sterling has been getting away with this for far too long and you made a stand. The fans, players, social media, TV networks, sports radio hosts, bloggers and everyone who said we aren’t going to stand up for this type of behavior got Donald Sterling up out of here.
But, Donald Sterling isn’t the end game. He, in the grand scheme of things, is just a pawn and frankly a sacrificial lamb for the NBA and their owners.. Pay close attention to what Sterling says in those tapes.
He speaks on being involved in a culture that looks down on minorities, women and even white people that he doesn’t deem to be on his level. This isn’t a singular individual who just happens to be a racist, he is telling you this is how people in his circle think. This is the world he lives in.  This is how minorities and others are perceived by the upper crust of society.  These people aren’t random, they are CEOs, owners, politicians and decision makers in our society.
Donald Sterling was a jealous old man who didn’t like his side chick flirting with black guys on Instagram, but because of that, we get an inside look on how Sterling on those like him think about minorities as a whole.
There are 30 NBA owners and 29 are white.  The one owner who most people thought was the most progressive, Mark Cuban, was the one who said we have to watch out for a “slippery slope” when getting rid of owners who have a disgusting belief system.
That scares me, not just as a black man, but as a human being.  Sterling talks about he can’t control the way society it is and he doesn’t want to change it.  His view of society is slanted, but shouldn’t be discarded as something that many in his position feel.  These owners and people in positions of power in athletics are born into a certain superiority complex and culture where they feel minorities are inferior to them.  So, when a minority tries to step into their world, it is almost impossible for them to gain acceptance, because they weren’t born into that good old boy world.
Maybe a better way to explain it is to quote BANE.
“Oh, so you think darkness is your ally? But you merely adopted the dark. I was born in it, molded by it. I didn’t see the light until I was already a man, by then to me it was only blinding. The shadows betray you because they belong to me.”

I think if we hooked up a lie detector test to some of these owners, their views wouldn’t be that far removed from Sterling’s thoughts – because they were born into this culture of superiority, it is ok for black men to play the game, but not give the orders. There is still an underlying master/worker relationship that is embedded in many of the owners of these professional sports franchises.
I never equate these things to slavery, because slaves had no choice, no voice or no union to threaten to boycott. They weren’t getting paid and seen as celebrates. With that being said how many of these owners see players as property?
I give you Dan Gilbert speaking on FREE AGENT Lebron James.
As you now know, our former hero, who grew up in the very region that he deserted this evening, is no longer a Cleveland Cavalier.
You simply don’t deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal.
This shocking act of disloyalty from our home grown “chosen one” sends the exact opposite lesson of what we would want our children to learn. And “who” we would want them to grow-up to become.
But the good news is that this heartless and callous action can only serve as the antidote to the so-called “curse” on Cleveland, Ohio.

The self-declared former “King” will be taking the “curse” with him down south. And until he does “right” by Cleveland and Ohio, James (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma.
Does that sound like someone who respects “FREEDOM” or someone who sees the athlete as nothing more than property and finds it disrespectful that his property had the audacity to explore a better situation for himself and his family?  What is more likely, that Dan Gilbert is more like Sterling or someone who has never uttered any of those type of phrases we heard on the Sterling audio?
Donald Sterling didn’t need to be an owner of a NBA franchise and we should briefly celebrate the fact our collective voice got the ball rolling to getting him out of the league, but that was getting passed the line of scrimmage. Even that battle won’t be fully won until there is a vote and all 29 owners vote to take ownership away from Sterling. If even one owner votes to keep him in the league, we need their name and we need to ask, no DEMAND answers why.
Racism, prejudice, ignorance, sexism and bigotry in sports isn’t going away just because Donald Sterling has banished.  It isn’t going away in media, fans or management.  The majority of people in this world are awesome, but we can’t ignore that there is a culture that birth Donald Sterling and others like him.  Are we just happy, making it passed the line of scrimmage or do we want to try to finish what we started?  Can we eliminate it completely? Probably not, but does that mean we can’t try?
We have an opportunity to do something much greater if we don’t lose our focus patting ourselves on the back, because by celebrating too early, you only end up dropping the ball.

Read the original article from Black Sports Online here: 

19 Facts That Will Make You Think Differently About Race

by Emilee Linder
Originally Published: April 30th, 2014

Stop. Think about your opportunities. And compare them to those of people around you. Do you think you’re better off?
A new campaign from MTV asks you to “Look Different.”
For nearly the last year, MTV has been closely studying millennials’ perceptions of subjects like fairness, equality, privilege and discrimination — with a special emphasis on race. And in response to the results, the channel is prescribing new on-air programming, social media reach, innovative digital tools, celebrity engagement and much more with its “Look Different” campaign.
To combat biases, MTV will kick off its campaign with initiatives like the upcoming “Untitled Whiteness Project,” a documentary-style program that will explore how millennials navigate diversity and what it means to be a young white person in America in 2014. Also, starting Wednesday (April 30) are PSAs throughout the day dealing with microagressions, which are small indignities and everyday insults used between different races.
On May 7 at 11:30 p.m. ET, the night before the 2014 NFL Draft, MTV will follow two openly gay football players as they struggle to come out to their teammates and families in “True Life: I’m a Gay Athlete.”
Here’s what MTV found in their study with millennials:
On Race
1. 64% of young whites believe having a black President demonstrates that people of color now have the same opportunities as white people
2. 65% of young people of color feel white people have more opportunities than racial minority groups — a 26 point difference from young whites (39% agree)
3. 9 in 10 believe that everyone should be treated the same, no matter what their race
4. In addition to the three facts above, this subject also breaks along ideological lines, as 68% of those who identify as Democrats believe whites have more opportunities vs. just 40% of those who identify as Republicans
5. Further, 36% of young whites believe the gains people of color have made in recent years have come at the expense of white people
6. 58% of respondents believe that as their generation moves into leadership roles, racism will become less and less of an issue
7. 3/4 of young whites believe it’s never fair to give preferential treatment to one race over another, regardless of historical inequalities (65% for young people of color)
8. 58% of respondents — including 63% of young whites and 52% of young people of color — believe people of color use racism as an excuse more than they should
On Bias & Microaggressions
9. 94% of those surveyed see bias — defined as “treating someone differently, and often unfairly, because they are a member of a particular group” — in their lives
10. 8 in 10 say they know someone who is biased, yet 59% deny they are personally biased;
60% say they have worked hard to eliminate their biases
11. 9 in 10 believe small examples of bias can add up to major problems for society
12. Further, more than half (53%) believe “bias is a serious problem, but it is mostly hidden”
13. 8 in 10 believe bias is at the root of a lot of the problems facing the world today
14. 61% of respondents have been the target of bias, with those most affected including LGBT (85%), people of color (69%) and women (64%)
15. Half of young people of color feel that “individual microaggressions, when added up, have had a serious effect on me”
16. 60% of young people of color — including 74% of young Asian Americans — are often asked about their ethnic background vs. just 19% of young whites
On Equality & Solutions
17. Nearly 3 in 4 millennials (73%) believe that we should talk more openly about bias and that “having more open, constructive conversations about bias will help people become less prejudiced”
18. However, a majority of respondents — 54% — feel “it’s hard to have respectful conversations about bias.” Most millennials (52%) say they never or rarely talk about it and only 20% are very comfortable discussing the subject
19. 78% believe that everyone has a responsibility to help tackle bias; 65% wish they knew more about how to address bias when they see it
An executive summary and the full study are available at

Read the original article from MTV here: 

Employment rate for disabled 'alarmingly low'

by Hywel Roberts
Originally Published: April 30th, 2014

More than 430,000 disabled employers fell out of work in the past year, according to research by Scope.
The report, A Million Futures, is based on a survey of more than 700 disabled adults, analysis of employment figures and first hand experiences of disabled people in the workplace. Almost all (91%) of the disabled people polled have worked at some stage. However, within two years of acquiring their disability, only 36% are still working. 
Lack of access to flexible working was cited as the most common barrier to continued employment. Almost half (48%) of disabled people said that flexible working arrangements would have helped them stay at work, but the option was not available. More than a third (36%) said the option to modify their work duties would have helped them to keep their job. 
The report suggests the Government's Access to Work scheme is not widely used. More than three-quarters (76%) of disabled people said either they had not heard of the scheme or they had received no help from it. Despite this, 200,000 disabled people still found work last year. 
Scope chief executive Richard Hawkes said the focus must shift from getting disabled people into work to making sure they can perform effectively in their roles. “It’s now clear we’ve been blinkered in our approach to disabled people and work," he said. “We need to look into how we can make work places more flexible, welcoming environments where disabled people flourish rather than struggle."
Mitie work with Remploy
FTSE 250 outsourcing company Mitie has signed a deal with disabled employment placement provider Remploy. It is looking to treble the number of disabled people it employs, with the aim of hiring 400 by 2016/17. 
Karen Govier, Mitie’s diversity and inclusion manager, told HR magazine demonstrating best practice is the best way to keep disabled people engaged in work.
"Encouraging transparency around disability and health conditions is of key importance to employers," she said. "One way to encourage people to disclose details around their health conditions is to share best practice via case studies.

Read the original article from HR Magazine here: 

Women at Work: Leadership -- Style or Stereotypes?

by O'Brien Browne
Originally Published: April 29th, 2014

Here's a quick quiz for you called, "guess the gender." An executive I coach is a warm, family-oriented person, highly sensitive to the opinions of others, somewhat indecisive yet very supportive. What's their gender?
If you automatically chose "woman" you are not only wrong -- my client is a male senior VP at a leading IT company -- but you are also indulging in a lazy yet harmful stereotype of what many commonly assume typifies "male" or "female" leadership styles.
As we approach this issue, we should keep in mind the attributes of all good leaders: they support and promote their people, possess pro-active listening skills, can build and motivate teams, are creative, make wise decisions based on facts, know-how and experience, have strong persuasive skills, take bold yet calculated risks to seize opportunities, fight necessary political battles while maintaining their networks, and shirk neither decision-making or responsibility.
When we look at great leaders such as Celtic warrior-Queen Boudicca or Lakota Chief Red Cloud, Eleanor Roosevelt or Abraham Lincoln, for instance, it is clear that both genders share the qualities of effective and inspirational leadership listed above. Moreover, in our own private and professional lives, we all know those who don't fit the stereotypes: weak men and callous women, gossipy males and non-communicative females, timid male bosses and fiery female ones.
And yet broad stereotypes of which gender is better suited for which job endure. They lie imbedded in our societies as well as in our subconscious. In the business world, women are commonly thought to be better listeners, more communicative and capable of showing greater empathy. Men, on the other hand, are seen as straight-talking, aggressive and decisive deal-makers. The result is that many women are regulated to dead-end jobs in HR departments where they can best "take care" of employees, while being subtly discouraged to apply for, say, the tough "male" job of COO, where her assumed natural soft skills -- regardless of whether she has them or not -- would be considered a disadvantage.
But while recent neurological research by scientists like Dr. Ragini Verma at the University of Pennsylvania, for example, shows how uniquely wired male and female brains are -- (news flash! men and women are different!) -- hard data on which of the sexes make the most effective leaders is lacking. Additionally, sociological tests of gender leadership styles are often flawed because of the predominance of men in management positions -- they are the ones filling out the surveys. Moreover, testing across positions and sectors can skew findings due to gender job clusters -- mechanical engineering for men, say, or nursing for women -- making it difficult extrapolate for society as a whole. Throw into the mix global cultures, norms and traditions and it becomes impossible to draw any definite conclusions at all.
In this situation, the easiest thing to do is to rely upon our age-old stereotypes of how we expect male and female leaders to act and behave. The end result is to make things more challenging and difficult for businesswomen than for their male counterparts. It is hard enough for any organization to find, develop and promote good leaders. Thinning this thin pool even more by allowing gender stereotypes to affect our decisions about whom to promote, ensure that many more weak or unqualified candidates will rise to the top while the ideal candidates -- among them many experienced, driven and qualified women -- will be relegated to the outer rings of power, there to linger without being permitted to display their true leadership qualities. The result is lose-lose, both for the female employee and the company as a whole.
When choosing the best leaders, it is far more constructive to focus on leadershipstyles and talents -- which vary from individual to individual, according to their experience, personality, skill-set and qualifications -- than on preconceived notions of how a male or female boss should behave.
Like Boudicca, a businesswoman has to focus on getting results; her deeds will dash down the stereotypes -- but only if she proudly and energetically promotes them and demands what is rightfully hers. Enlightened men will welcome and support this. But it is up to females to drive the spear of reality through the heart of the old clich├ęs which are holding them back from attaining their true potential. Only then, like their bronze-tipped spears, will they truly shine.

Read the original article from Huffington Post here: 

Fires of racism still smoulder inside and out of sporting arena

by David Shribman
Originally Published: April 29th, 2014

So another sporting embarrassment is outed – and thrown out.
There were no tears shed around Sportsland USA on Tuesday when the National Basketball Association banned for life (and fined heavily) its leading owner miscreant, Donald Sterling, whose sense of intolerance allowed him to tolerate African-Americans on his Los Angeles Clippers basketball team but apparently not anywhere near his friends.
American sports has had its hero owners and has had its louts. In Boston alone, for example, there have been both – the sainted late Walter Brown of the Celtics and the imaginative Bob Kraft of the New England Patriots in the first category, the curiously beloved but deeply racist late Tom Yawkey of the Red Sox pretty much in the second.
Racial and religious intolerance were once brandished openly in American society, most vividly in one of the most revered but segregated temples of the sporting life: the golf clubhouse. Today’s racism and intolerance is of a more subtle variety, and as a result the shocking and sickening remarks of Mr. Sterling earned swift contempt and repudiation. That is progress, but of a grudging type.
But it also illuminates how what happens in the arena of sports is a reliable indicator of what happens in the broader civic arena.
That is why Jackie Robinson’s integration of major-league baseball in 1947 was such a signature moment, not only in the history of baseball but in American history as well, and why the movie 42, chronicling the movement of Mr. Robinson from the Negro Leagues to the Montreal Royals farm club and then on to the Brooklyn Dodgers, already is regarded as a classic American cultural icon.
At the centre of that film was a theretofore unknown sportswriter, Wendell Smith of the Pittsburgh Courier, one of the leading black newspapers in North America. Mr. Smith’s correspondence with Dodger president Branch Rickey, preserved in the special collections of the Baseball Hall of Fame, shows how the segregated world of professional sports struggled to deal with racial issues.
In early January, 1946, Mr. Rickey set out his plan to Mr. Smith. “The Montreal Club will begin its training season at Daytona Beach on the first of March,” he wrote in one of those letters now resting in the Cooperstown, N.Y., archives. “There will be two colored boys on the Montreal Club – Robinson one of them…I hope very much that you can arrange to be in Daytona Beach ahead of time to see to it that satisfactory living accommodations are arranged for these boys.” He added: “I don’t want to find ourselves embarrassed on March 1st because of Robinson’s not having a place to stay.”
The struggles and triumph of Mr. Robinson now are well-known, but the struggles to create a bias-free atmosphere in sports – an area where blacks have had special success – continues, two-thirds of a century after Mr. Robinson took the field in Montreal and, later, in Brooklyn.
The years that followed were full of racial strife but also were marked by racial progress. A year after Mr. Robinson integrated the major leagues, Harry Truman issued Executive Order 9981, abolishing racial discrimination in another arena of American life that has provided a ladder of economic mobility for blacks in the United States, the armed forces. Six years later the Supreme Court ordered an end to racial segregation of schools, and a decade after that Congress passed the Civil Rights Bill of 1964 and, a year later, the Voting Rights Act.
No one can argue that sports caused these events, but it is also clear that the sports world reflects the main currents of American life. That’s why the racist and anti-Semitic remarks two decades ago by Marge Schott, the president of the Cincinnati Reds, and the odious comments of Mr. Sterling this month attracted such outrage. They indicated that the fires of racism may have been tamped down but that they still smoulder. They stand as symbols not so much of how far the United States has come but of how far it still must travel.
Five years ago the basketball legend Elgin Baylor, a Clippers general manager after his playing career ended, filed legal action against Mr. Sterling, saying the owner had a “vision of a Southern plantation-type structure” for the team. This week the NBA declared an end to the plantation ethos. The action came as the United States marked the 150th anniversary of the Civil War – and it demonstrated that the battle for racial equality has yet to be fully won.

Read the original article from The Globe and Mail here:

Full disclosure: When should you reveal a disability at work?

Originally Published: April 30th, 2014

A man's hand holds a pen hovering over a form, with the question "Do you consider yourself to have a disability?"
The OED defines "disclosure" as the action of making new or secret information known. But for disabled people, it tends to have a more specific usage - one that causes much soul-searching and indecision.
What is disclosure?
It's never far from a disabled jobseeker's mind and usually comes to the fore when filling in a job application form. It's the word used to describe that tricky situation that many people with disabilities will recognise - do I choose to tell a potential employer that I am disabled or not?
When do you disclose?
There's usually an invitation to declare your disability on applications, in the bit about "equal opportunities" called a monitoring form. The Equality and Human Rights Commission says that employers must not base decisions about who to take further into the application process on the information people give in this section. They also advise HR staff not to pass the monitoring form on to the person making recruitment decisions. But some disabled people still feel that sharing the information too early does invite discrimination and could cost them an interview. So, why tell if you don't have to? Why not wait and let them find out once you're in front of them?
Could disclosure be a good thing?
Billy Saunders thinks so. He recently got creative with his job search and uploaded a video CV to YouTube, with help from a mentor. In it, he is completely up front about his disabilities. "It's a way of telling people who you are, what you can do and what people might see as barriers," Saunders says. "If you give them advance warning that you are visually impaired, then they aren't going to get you to fly a plane."
Saunders' CV includes footage of him using specialist technology, playing piano and showing off his talent for figuring out the exact day of any date in any given year. It was created by small recruitment agency A Potential Diamond, which helps people with autism, Asperger syndrome or mild learning disabilities find work. The video had 293 views in its first three days.
If you don't give advanced warning, you won't necessarily get an accessible interview. The room could be too small or upstairs, which would cause problems for wheelchair users or with mobility impairments. Assessment tests may be unreadable or cause difficulty if you're dyslexic or have vision difficulties. The interview itself may even be difficult if, for instance, you're hearing impaired and there is no loop, or if it is held in a room that echoes.
A disability disclosure form, with the question: "Do you have a disability?"
Should I disclose?
For Kate Nash, who works with businesses on how they treat disabled staff, disclosure is a personal choice. "To get the workplace adjustment that you need, you have to share personal information," says Nash, who has also written a book on sharing information about disability with employers. "But there are lots of people who manage their impairment themselves."
Nash, who has arthritis, does disclose. "I would choose to be my best self at interview and if it is relevant to the job I'd say right at the end that I have arthritis and what that means. And then I tell them that 'of course I want to make it as easy as possible for you to recruit me. If you do appoint me, I'd be keen to talk about the adjustments I might need'."
Adjustments might include flexible working hours, specialist equipment, or help from a support worker or interpreter.
But if someone becomes disabled while already working, deciding when to disclose can be tricky. Nash says many newly disabled people are getting used to their situation and that sometimes they need to "practise telling their story" before they share it with anyone else.
Is disclosure a helpful term?
Some people call it a declaration. Kate Nash doesn't think either are good words. "To disclose something suggests that you have a secret," says Nash, "and if you declare something, that sounds like you've got a huge piece of news. This is language that we as disabled people might choose to use for ourselves and that's OK, because that's how it feels."
But she says that employers shouldn't use it because "it perpetuates those notions".
"Disclosure" and "declaration" are particularly off-putting words for people who are still getting used to disability, adds Nash. "Language that suggests you're having something that's a bit of a problem might stop you from sharing the information that gets you the adjustments you need."

Read the original article from BBC News here: 

The technology world's sexism needs to end

by Jonny Evans
Originally Published: April 30th, 2014

The pace of change is too slow for most people now alive to see parity in their lifetimes

Computerworld - The technology industry is sexist, and it will take years before endemic discrimination dissolves.
In fact, it might take decades. A Deloitte report cites Catalyst CEO Ilene H. Lang, who suggests that, when it comes to the imbalance on corporate boards, "it could take until 2075 for women to reach parity with men" if progress continues at its current pace.
Think about what that means. A 21-year-old woman graduating this month from college wouldn't see women occupying equal space on corporate boards until she is 82.
Lang was talking about all industries. For the tech industry, the situation is worse. A 2013 Fenwick & West survey revealed that 43.3% of the top 150 Silicon Valley firms had no female directors, and 40% had just one. That'snot reflected in other industries; of Standard & Poor's top 100 U.S. firms, just 2% have no female representation at board level and just 13% have only one.
And the problem isn't restricted to the boardroom. In the 2012 U.S. workforce, women held 57% of all professional occupations, but only 26% of professional computing occupations.
This institutionalized sexism helps maintain unacceptable behavior. Look at the brouhaha around a couple of hacks deemed misogynistic at TechCrunch Disrupt last year. Those kinds of things can only happen when guys are used to being surrounded by nothing but guys. And when they do happen, they draw protest only because tech isn't really an all-male arena; it can just feel that way still. As Alexia Tsotsis, co-editor of TechCrunch, noted, "Tech has been a guy-dude-bro area for a while now. Now as it becomes more mainstream, more women join the workforce and are exposed to these locker-room-type attitudes."
How do these locker-room attitudes impact women in IT? Head over to the Everyday Sexism project to read testimony like this example:
"Despite the fact that I had, on average, five years more experience and two years more education than any of the men on the team, took only the challenging service calls and those that involved cleaning up messes made by some of the more junior men on the team, and consistently outperformed everyone else on the team by every measure, I was paid $2 less per hour than even the entry-level guys. Management rationalized this to me (and themselves) by claiming that it was simply 'risky' to hire women in IT," a female techie notes.
I suppose the riskiness involves biology; women have a greater tendency than men to get pregnant and take maternity leave. Once they become mothers, some women decide to say goodbye to the workplace and stay at home. Some of that may be self-fulfilling, of course; if companies treated women the same as men, there's a good chance that fewer of them would be so willing to sacrifice their careers for motherhood. Meanwhile, at higher levels of management, there might actually be more risk in hiring men. I am not kidding about this: "Women-led tech companies achieve 35% higher return on investment, and, when venture-backed, bring in 12% more revenue than male-owned tech companies," notes Google. (It's a shame that despite this realization, Google has just three women on its board, and one female senior executive.)
Addressing the problem is complicated. GoDaddy is working with the Anita Borg Institute to encourage better female representation in technology. Not only this, but approximately one third of GoDaddy's leadership team are women. Don't let the irony hit you over the head, though; this is the sameGoDaddy whose use of scantily clad "chicks" in its advertising has routinely caused consternation.
Legislation could help; look at what Title IX did for women in sports. TheEmployment Non-Discrimination Act is a law that would prohibit companies with 15 or more employees from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender. It has languished in the U.S. Congress for years.
Part of the problem seems to be that even people who consider fighting prejudice on the basis of race, gender or sexuality to be worthy of support tend to agree when they hear ENDA opponents say there is no real discrimination to fight anymore. They tell themselves, "It's 2014; surely there isn't a problem still?"
It is 2014. And there is a problem still. Particularly in tech.
It will also help if powerful people wake up to the problem. Apple's Tim Cook recently put his name to the push against prejudice. "The House should mark the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act by passing ENDA," he wrote on Twitter, "We shall overcome" he added.
Of course, Cook leads a company with only one woman on its board, and Apple had none among its highest-level executives until it brought aboard new retail chief Angela Ahrendts in April. Is Cook waiting for ENDA to push Apple to do more?
Meanwhile, many ambitious women, in a quest for self-fulfillment, have turned to free enterprise. What are these talented female minds doing? They're saving the economy, while the men-folk play with Google Glass. The number of women starting small businesses in the U.S. is growing at twice the rate at which small businesses as a general category are growing here (according to Deloitte). This is important because small businesses are creating jobs faster than any other sector in the country. That means a lot of guys are going to be trying to get jobs from women who couldn't claim a seat at tech's table.
How do you think that might go?
It could be uncomfortable for some people for a while, but I have to wonder whether women turning to entrepreneurship isn't our best shot at finally eliminating tech's sexism problem.
Harvard small-business professor Nancy Koehn puts it this way: "What we need to start thinking about is how we capitalize on the vast network of women entrepreneurs. How do we nurture them? How do we fund them?"
How do we empower women (or any other disadvantaged group) to gain an equality denied them simply because of their sex?

Read the original article from Computerworld here: