It's quite evident that I'm not an artist, but when I was explaining to my 9-year-old daughter what I do to earn a living, I thought it would be best to try and illustrate the world we live in. She amazes me every day, as she has not been conditioned to view the world in the same way that I have. I hope that she keeps her rose-tinted glasses on longer, as the innocence of her questions do make me sit back and ask why?
She understands that she is living a comparably privileged life, which affords her the ability to have the rose-tinted view that I mentioned.
Let me quantify what I mean by comparably privileged; she lives in an affluent city, great state education, good (free) healthcare provision, she gets to see her friends when she wants, occasionally go out for dinner, she has two parents that care and love her, and whilst she doesn't have the puppy that she craves or a pony that she wants, she doesn't really need to worry about anything.
She is acutely aware that other children of her age do not have what she does. As parents, we don't hide what is going on in the world from her.
She sees documentaries about kids going without food, be that in Africa, Asia, America or Europe. Even with the privilege of living in an affluent city, she has seen children come into school for breakfast as their parents are unable to feed them before and during school.
She has seen the news, children being unable to go out to play safely either due to war, climate change, location, health - the list is endless. The inevitable questions of how certain countries can put power (defence or utility!) over people's health. We have multiple conversations every week about the injustices across the whole of humanity.
We shield her from the very worst, but nonetheless, she is aware of many of these injustices as she needs to see the world for what it is. She has me wrapped around her little finger and continues to impress me with her comments and thoughts.
I know this is a rite of passage for all children, but the most profound (and in context!) question she asks is "why."
Why do people march for BLM?
Why don't women get paid as much as men?
Why do people look at that person differently? Surely, it is up to them if they want to dress like a lady. They are not impacting anyone.
Why are they "taking the knee"?
Why shouldn't two women or two men be able to live together? If they love each other, who cares?
These are just some of the questions that I have tried to answer in the last couple of weeks. I have done my best to try and explain some of the reasons as to "why", but it left me feeling like I had only done half a job.
I did, however, realise that virtually all of her questions could be answered with only a handful of words.
People having to march, take a knee, demonstrate, go to court, be vocal about the thing they are passionate about, are symbolic of what is wrong with the world.
So my questions are this:
If a nine-year-old can see that it's wrong and that people have been pushed beyond their limits, why can't adults?
If a nine-year-old can play and make friends, irrespective of colour, race, age, disability or ability, gender, location, language, physical appearance, socioeconomic background, why can't adults?
If a nine-year-old can understand that people are biased and see beyond the physical "being" in front of them, why can't adults?
Why does a nine-year-old understand that there is more to equality and inclusion when 99% of Fortune 500 and FTSE 100 corporates don't seem to see it?
Recognising that inequality is more than just dealing with race, gender or sexuality has to be the starting ground for all companies. I challenge you to see how many of the largest organisations do the following:
1. Declare that they are "pro" everything and have a pledge to be more inclusive
2. Changed their logo last month for "Pride"
3. Focus 95% of their diversity blogs etc. on race, gender or sexuality alone
4. ONLY focus on race, gender and sexuality in their annual reports
I bet the vast majority got 4 out of 4.
There is no excuse. The need is clear. The tools are out there...now companies must get their head out of the sand and deal with it!
My final take away….be more like a 9-year-old!