Paolo MarencoParticipant@paolomarencoMarch 14, 2018 at 11:30 #2326
Hey all, after the amazing meeting with you all at CLAB Trento on March 8th, here we are ready for the Discussion Forum to attend the SVST 2018. Introduce yourself and Stefania Tibiletti, from Trento UNI now in Snt’Anna Pisa will meet you here. Good start!Stefania TibilettiParticipant@stefaniatibilettiMarch 14, 2018 at 11:36 #2327
I’m Stefania and I’m a student of Innovation Management at the University of Trento, and Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Pisa.
I did the tour in August and was one of the most exciting experiences of my life! I can’t wait to share with you my experience and to give you some tips and tricks about San Francisco and the Silicon Valley!
But now it’s your time.. let’s start!
Here we have an article about diversity.. but there are also other topics that you can use to tell us something interesting! Like education, internet access and also what the Government do to foster the job demand..
Read it and share with us your ideas! But don’t forget to introduce yourself!
I hope to hear something from you!March 14, 2018 at 19:01 #2328
Hello people of the internet and thank you very much Stefania for starting the discussion!
So, I’ll break the ice introducing myself, my name is Alessia Antonuzzo. Two years ago I got a Bachelor degree in “Psychology and Cognitive Science” and after that I started a Masters in “Personnel and Organizational Psychology”. In these 5 years I had the awesome opportunity to study abroad twice: I studied at the department of Economics at Ku Leuven University (Belgium) and at Hitotsubashi University Business School of Tokyo. In Japan I also did an internship at a multinational company in the healthcare, which is one of the reasons why I’m now very interested in innovation.
I bet my background will be slightly different compared to other students’ here, but I’m curious to get your insights and happy to share my perspective! Also, this diversity is related to the article shared by Stefania, so let’s jump straight into it!
What caught my attention is the fact that people in the tech industry don’t come from a very diverse background, especially concerning gender.
I think this is not something happening only in America and not only in that field. Nowadays diversity is getting more and more attention by companies, which very often commit to inclusion initiatives. In my opinion, focusing only on events for students graduating from college and university is not the key solution. If you think about it, at that age women have already reached a mature level of development, so they’ve probably already been influenced by society and stereotypes. In that case, it’s gonna be really hard to convince them that they can make it in a “traditionally masculine” field and they won’t even try! Therefore, often times the issue is not gender equality itself but making girls and women aware of their potential. Once again: if we inspire them to give a try in the tech field when they’re all grown up (college or uni) we solve a problem of opportunities; but if we could just have a positive influence on them at a young age (primary school) we would solve the root of the problem! So I believe the solution relies on a cooperation between companies and education.
If you want to deepen this, go check out this study – image-src.bcg.com/Images/Women-at-the-top_tcm81-165724.pdf– by the organization ValoreD”. Highly recommended!
I also encourage you to read a short article – https://hbr.org/2016/09/diverse-teams-feel-less-comfortable-and-thats-why-they-perform-better – and you’ll get why in my introduction I highlighted my “diversity” 😉
I think it’s an interesting topic… let’s not forget gender equality is not only ethical but profitable! A study by W.Wooley (2010) showed that in teams, a high level of collective intelligence is given by various factors: one is the high proportion of women.
So, what do you guys think about it?AnonymousInactive@March 14, 2018 at 20:39 #2330
Hi there, my name’s Matteo and I’m actually attending an economics and management bachelor degree here in Trento.
First of all I’d like to thank you about the meeting we had in Clab last week, I really enjoyed hearing former partecipants’ stories instead of a simple project presentation, that really worked on me. Also I’d like to thank you for the opportunity to attend this SVST project.
The article is quite interesting because it talks about Silicon Valley’s firms and also about diversity, which is quite an actual topic.
I’d like to suggest this article from The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/oct/03/silicon-valley-diversity-black-latino-women-decline-study
It talks about minorities in the Valley and try to give an explenation to the low rate of not-white people in tech industry. “If people think they are being unfairly treated in companies, they’ll leave,” said Gee, which means not only that minorities – black, latin, asian, women – found quite hard to get in any higher position like executives or managers, but also that due to the racial biasis they’ve got to leave their job. Silicon Valley needs to face this problem as soon as possible because it’s loosing the opportunities that a mixed community – with all it’s different backgrounds – may bring.
The article is also about tech industry. At the end, it talks about the lack of tech developers saying that universities aren’t able to close the gap beetwen demand and supply because they take so long to train people. It suggests that a solution to this problem may be bootcamp training program: they train people way faster than universities and allow the developers supply to grow and catch the demand. I don’t completely agree with this idea: while a bootcamp may teach you how to code in less than six months, univeristies take more time to train you because they don’t only teach you how to code, they also give you all the background that allows developers to think through things in different ways. This of course takes more time, but, in my opionion, it worth.
About gender, I totally agree with Alessia when she says that sometimes the issue isn’t gender equality itself but making women aware that they can make it. In this article: https://www.forbes.com/sites/geekgirlrising/2018/03/08/women-in-silicon-valley-harness-power-of-metoo-for-positive-change/2/#1c3f4f36b69f
Cack Wilhelm introduces the “wishper campain” as a way to make women get founds. She said that usually men talk about their companies or projects at events attended by important people or even internally at their organizations because that helps spreading their ideas or projects throught word of mouth to collegues, partners and investors. She suggests that women should do the same: talk up each other and start their own network to rise founds.
As gender equality and diversity are both actual topics I’m looking forward to hearing what all you guys think about!March 16, 2018 at 12:45 #2331
I’m Rachel Mazzucchi, I’m in my final year of a master programme in Finance. I’m on an exchange right now, so I’m writing this from Rotterdam. This is actually my second international experience, the first being in Madrid a couple of years ago. The reason I am remarking this is that diversity (this strand’s topic) comes in many forms and I think the importance of diversity in culture is something that isn’t stressed enough: it serves as a means to combat racism and it leads to sophisticated insights. In an increasingly globalized world, I would like to see companies in Milan and Rome creating a more welcoming environment for people from other European countries.
Generally speaking, I’m very passionate about the tech industry and about innovation. As a consequence, I have participated in the Start-up Lab last year and did an internship in the start-up accelerator Hub Innovazione Trentino during my bachelor. When “I grow up” it is my dream to start my own company, but only after having had a working experience in either CapitalG or Google Ventures!
About the article that Stefania shared, I find the topic extremely interesting and relevant. It tackles the lack of diversity on two levels: gender and race.
I agree with Alessia above that the problem begins at an early stage, e.g. with little girls being induced into thinking that the STEM world is more apt for males. I think a large part of the problem lies in underrepresentation. Children and teenagers tend to be especially susceptible to the reference points they see in the media. I was reading an article in which the authors measures the proportion of words spoken by characters in best picture winning films and in Disney movies (see https://pudding.cool/2017/03/film-dialogue/index.html). I find the numbers to be startling. Going further it would be beneficial I think to create incentives for cartoon producers to give more (and smarter) representation to girls and other minorities (i.e. not depicting them simply as princesses in distress). A similar rationale applies to books. Elementary and middle schools should be monitored in creating programmes for reading books with more diversity in the leading characters.
As for teenagers having more figures like Marissa Mayer to look up to is important. Being bombarded with news about Zuckerberg, Musk and other male, white, influential CEOs and political leaders, makes it hard for a girl/person of color approaching university to relate and believe that we live in a fairly treated world. I remember being incredibly disappointed last year when I read a study implying that male start-up founders have a significantly higher chance (86%) of securing investments from venture capital funds (see https://www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2017/apr/24/we-need-to-stop-sexism-in-start-up-investment). On the one hand creating tax breaks for minorities pursuing a degree in a STEM faculty could be a possible way of tackling the low affluence issue. Companies’ efforts to increase females/people of colour at the executive level through revised strategic plans should be further accelerated and encouraged. Creating awareness among investors however is also crucial.
One last point that I would like to touch upon is the lack of explicit acknowledgment in the article of another discriminative feature that is typical of the tech industry: ageism. In one passage the author mentions that an issue we’re facing is the small pool of supply of coders because companies mainly look for new employees in fresh graduates. So little focus has been put into attracting and educating the older generations. A book the specifically tackles the issue of ageism in Silicon Valley is “Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble”. In his biography, Dan Lyons details his experience as a new hire in a start-up, the feeling of being completely out of place being twice the average age of all other employees, and the condescending way with which he was treated. If more boot camps/company programmes were targeted to “older” generations, firms could benefit from a larger pool of skilled workforce and from the experience and wisdom that these people typically bring with them.
Let me know what you guys think about all this (and thanks for reaching the end of this lengthy post)!March 16, 2018 at 14:56 #2332
Hi guys, nice to see other people from Unitn joining! 😊
After reading Rachel’s insights and the article from The Guardian (suggested by Matteo), I noticed there is one main element in common: the lack of role models, especially in STEM.
Why? Basically, because companies don’t provide leadership models alternative to the traditional ones. People need something real to see, visualize, dream of and work for! They need leaders to identify themselves with and simply realize it’s just possible! There is a successful career in STEM they can possibly achieve, regardless of their diversity – or even, thank to that diversity!
As a solution, a recent trend is the “Diversity promotion” division. I’ve seen that in some asian companies and I’m trying to figure out if that would work in Silicon Valley as well… It’s basically a department whose main goal is to promote diversity in a variety of different aspects in a more systematic way and on a daily basis. The key strength is the tight connection between this department and the Human Resources division: with the support of the HR, inclusive initiatives are held more practically. For example, recruiting a diverse workforce, organizing training events to fill in the gaps and allow everyone to make a career, talent development and career support.
Being honest, I’m quite sceptical. I think creating a specific department caring of this issue can be counterproductive… First, because the risk is to do it only to LOOK, and not BE, an inclusive company – only as a way to brand the firm. Second, creating a “Diversity promotion” division taking care of some categories automatically discriminate these categories, as if they need an extra help! And third, this doesn’t solve the problem at its root. So I believe the solution has to be found in society: a total change is very much needed, from early ages education to the messages conveyed through social media.
I’m thinking about the hindrances to a full acceptance of diversity and I need to go back to one big issue again: stereotypes. Have you ever heard of the Self-fulfilling prophecy? It’s an extremely interesting effect we study in Psychology and it’s basically when a prediction causes itself to become true. It was initially studied in school, with the name of Pygmalion effect. Students were randomly divided into two groups: one received a very positive feedback about their future career from teachers, and the other one received neutral/negative feedbacks. The consequence was that, statistically, the first group showed a better school performance in the following years compared to the second group. How harmful can a belief be?! Can you see the connection? If some categories don’t have diverse role models to identify with and get no positive feedbacks from society, they will believe there are no opportunity for them in that field… and sadly fulfil the prophecy.
Rachel suggested movies and books; can you think of other ways to promote diversity? I’m curious to hear back from you 😉March 17, 2018 at 11:33 #2333
Thanks for your input Alessia. Although I agree that the problem at the root is the lack of models and the stereotypes we are brought up with, I also believe that putting in place policies and practices to correct current behaviour in companies is also necessary. Although it is sad that change at the social level has to be brought upon by “force”, It’s often the first step in the right direction.
I think that the idea of a whole function dedicated to diversity although a bit over the top, is not wrong. It should be simply carried out by the HR departments as standard procedure. I don’t believe that introducing equal opportunity policies is negative by implying that someone needs extra help. These policies are put into place to correct an imbalance or a distortion and bring down the barriers to entry. They can be highly effective. Take a look at what the Quote Rose law succeeded in doing: publicly traded companies are now bounded by law to have more than 1/3 of women on the Board of Directors. In Norway, the first European country where the law was introduced, they have almost reached a 50-50% balance.
Of course, there are issues with these policies because met with reluctance and resistance. In relation to this law, there was the public backlash claiming that it’s not a meritocratic way of assigning positions. I was even more stunned by the James Damore scandal in Google because so many of his colleagues defended his argument that women’s biology inhibits their abilities as leaders. It is clear to me that many people still fail to see that the lack of diversity and unfair advantages are a real issue. Companies should provide training programmes to employees to make them understand the reasoning behind equal opportunity practices.
Unconscious biases are yet another problem. The way one speaks and writes, the word choice, etc however innocuous may also deter minorities. HR employees as well as managers and directors should be trained to become aware of their biases and avoid them (as well as teachers in schools!).
Nevertheless, creating an inclusive environment doesn’t stop at the hiring moment. My sister for example told me that in her company although they really do try to upgrade women to higher positions to reach their “gender targets”, the offers tend to be rejected. A couple of her colleagues in this situation told her that they have responsibilities at home to take care of their family and can’t afford taking on the extra work and office hours. I was thinking that flexible hours policies and especially remote working could be greatly beneficial options to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace.
I truly believe that cnce we create a more accessible and welcoming environment, then the number of role models will grow accordingly and people interested in pursuing typically “white/male careers” will increase. As I have already mentioned in the previous post scholarships and tax breaks for minorities pursuing a technical degree may be yet another concrete solution to incentivize affluence in STEM faculties.
Thanks again for reading. I’m looking forward to hearing about extra insights!AnonymousInactive@March 17, 2018 at 15:06 #2334
Thank you Alessia, you made a point: Role models.
I’d like to talk a little about that in general. I think role models are important of course, because it’s often hard to be what you can’t see. Anyway, in my experience, my first role model has been my father. He had a big impact in my life, leading me in my adolescence, and I guess for a girl is quite the same with her mother or father too. We start getting shaped by our parents first, and only when we get like teenager, we start taking as role models actors, book characters, scientists, economists, musicians, athletes, writers…
My point is: yes, we surely need to give more space to female figures in films, books, newspapers and television programs, but first of all we’d need to overcome society stereotypes. Parents need to get charge of this becasue, as I mentioned, they’re the first ones who show us the world and tell us about it and about the people who live it. We should find a way to empower parents to teach their children about gender equality. They should show that women have flaws and strengths just like men. And just like men, everyone’s gonna face obstacles and challenges. And even if sometimes you may fail, this should never deter you from achieve your goals and be successful.
Considering the Self-fulfilling prophecy, children like those I mentioned before, who grow in families that push them to never give up after a failure, they’re are more likely to be self-confident, to take any further opportunity, to not be scared about failing and to keep on trying ’till they success.
So, even thought creating specific departments or policy may solve this problem, they may also have backlash and be counterproductive. Instead, I think the best thing to do is change people mentality by understanding where stereotypes come from and how to overcome them.
Glad to know what do you think about that!JParticipant@jacopomocellinMarch 17, 2018 at 16:44 #2335
Hey there, Jacopo here. To introduce myself I’d like to tell you three things I love: I believe that what one does really says a lot about who he/ she is.
So, first, I am a cognitive sciences student. This reflects my passion for insightful knowledge and social problems. Then, I’m a wannabe entrepreneur. For how I see it, entrepreneurship is the privileged way to foster positive and necessary change, both on a personal and on a global dimension. Third, I am a passionate alpine skier, effortfully seeking to become ski instructor.
Each day I think of how to take the most out of these passions. My life goal is to create something that would allow me to live on the intersection of these three fields while making an impact on society.
For this reason I’m hoping to make it to the Silicon Valley: this is a golden opportunity to reach for my dreams.
Getting to the topic being discussed: I was absolutely startled reading that diversity is not welcomed by tech companies in the valley. I envisioned the Silicon Valley as a place where people would join and race together to achieve a common goal, that is, crafting cutting-edge technology that would always be a step ahed of anything else, a place where talent and merit had more relevance on race, sexual preferences or gender. Instead, companies have to put up offices working to create an artificial, non felt, diversity. Well, probably not much has changed since the fifties: this sad picture seems to have much in common with the story in the movie “Hidden Figures” (2016), in which the careers of three African Americans, critical for their contribution in the space race, are hindered because of their diversity. In the end those hindrances are overcome in the movie, though.
Where all of the interventions are failing, in my opinion, is in making explicit why diversity is valuable. Why would we want our companies to be different from what they are? By placing women in companies’ boards “by default” we are making it seem like “it has to be like that, and that’s it”, which leads to nothing more than mindless conformity. Even though expedients like these will help in long term – providing the role models Alessia mentioned and thus breaking the stigma that minorities are not eligible for certain positions – they will fail in creating an authentic inclusion and engagement.
To break the ingroup-outgroup bias fuelling prejudice and thwarting integration of diversities, a series of precautions must be taken when introducing underrepresented components into the workforce, research says. First, the newcomers should be introduced to the existing team face to face, so that they could get to know each other. Then, a series of activities creating common experiences between the two groups should be performed. Third, the players should move in an environment where favoring someone over somebody else doesn’t bring any personal advantage.
This is for sure not everything that’s needed to achieve better integration, but it’s a step in the right direction. These accoutrements will at least break some stereotypes and favor value recognition of minorities, creating grounds for cooperation and breaking the self fulfilling prophecies Alessia talked about.Riccardo BelleseParticipant@bellesericcardoMarch 17, 2018 at 16:57 #2336
Hello everyone guys!
I’m Riccardo Bellese, a physics student in the small town of Trento!
First of all I would like to say that the idea of visit Silicon Valley really excites me. This because I’m really keen on technology and STEM in general (that’s why I’ve chosen physics) and also because my idea after the degree is not to do academic works but to find interesting firms to co-work with.
About the first article, the one shared by Stefania, I really appreciate the research of diversity. I think this is the key to make new innovative and largely usable technology. Like Alessia’s background, it’s important to create groups of different kind of people with different experiences and different educations in order to create new ideas. This ideas will have the peculiarity that includes many important topics given by every member of the group and this can generate new technology with the target to involve the most number of people possible. Of course what I’m talking about agrees with what Rachel was saying: ageism is as important as diversity. This is the best way to produce the best innovation for society.
I agree with Alessia when she says that this “Diversity promotion” can be counterproductive. Putting under the lights this kind of subjects can emphasize the stereotypes on them. Surely some people will see positive intention in this, but I think the mass will reject this approach. After this consideration, I find myself in agree with the importance of models in society. One important italian woman model can obviously be Samanta Cristoforetti. A person who struggle the women stereotypes of being a mother and take care of family while the man works to get money.
In conclusion I’m in the opinion that the diversity we are talking about can be reached with the role of models that struggles stereotypes and inspire new generations. Tough and motivated models with a great education ( that can be from a bootcamp just to get a job, but surely obtained from universities ) are the keys to convince society that diversity spurs creativity.
Hoping you enjoy my post and it stimulates you new topics to talk together I would like to greet you with a motivating phrase:
Sometime we win, the other times we learn.AnonymousInactive@March 18, 2018 at 17:16 #2338
Hi again and welcome to all the new ones here!
I agree with Jacopo when he says that by placing women in companies’ boards “by default” we are making it seem like “it has to be like that, and that’s it”.
During my economic lessons I’ve got in touch with the concept of “new market”: it all starts when someone, let’s say a company, find out an unexplored and possibly more profitable market and decide to get a part in it. Other companies are going to enter the same market only if they see some good performances from the first one or if they think they can do a better job and gain more from this opportunity than the first one. We usually call them followers because they wait someone to “explore” the market so they can have more info to decide whether enter or not.
Forcing companies to include men and women from different cultures feels like acknowledging that those kind of mixing-people-firms are unnatural, that they need a legislative action to exist. Instead, if a company shows that having a mixed board, instead the standard white-men board, is way more profitable, the other companies, that sadly care more about gains than acting morally, will for sure start to include minorities.
I’m trying to think about this integration like simple innovation: firms which stop doing innovation, usually don’t last too long. Companies need to innovate to survive the competition. We gotta show the world that companies that include minorities are actually making innovation and let the market finish the job.
How about that? Do you guys think this might work?March 18, 2018 at 20:39 #2339
I wanted to quickly bring back the Quote Rose argument I made because I see it has stimulated some contrary opinions. I truly understand your points, and in fact I am aware of the negative reaction such policies give rise to in the general public, but it is not a good reason in my opinion to not take legislative action, either at the government or at the corporate level. In fact, the purpose of policy making is to make the better choices for society, sometimes against what the masses (think they) want, and to protect minorities. The new markets analogy doesn’t really resonate with me because in that setting nobody is experiencing a psychological bias and firms can adapt quickly. The imbalance we are experiencing in the STEM labour market is a typical example of a market failure. For those without an economic background, a market failure is a situation in which the market fails to allocate resources efficiently and persistently. A certain degree of government intervention is always necessary to correct these kind of distortions when they arise because it is very difficult that they will correct on their own. Therefore, leaving it up to the market for me is not an option because it may never solve the problem. In fact, a large number of studies on the benefits and the importance of diversity in the workplace has already been published, but it hasn’t been translating in any detectable significant change in corporate practices, which is why I advocate for policy initiatives which tend to be more effective. What is more, these legislative actions are usually programmed to only initiate change in society and then to be abrogated after a certain number of years, while in the meantime rising awareness on the issue (which on some level is working since we are here discussing it!). In Germany, they are not even enforcing a proper equal opportunities law, but they are acting by moral suasion, which generally speaking means creating incentives to make companies voluntarily take up good practices. Finally, even if a free market without any intervention worked, it would take years to change the general mindset and correct biases which is precious time that we can’t afford wasting. For example, have you thought about what it means in a technological sense to have so little diversity in the industry? Currently the vast majority of coders and developers are young, white and male. Quoting Cathy O’Neil: Algorithms are just opinions embedded in code. In relation to this quote Bill Gates also stated:
“Already [algorithms are] deciding how much we pay for insurance, what kind of medical treatments we receive, even how long people go to prison. But even though those decisions affect all of us, they don’t reflect all of us. They’re based on the assumptions and biases of the people who write the code – who, at least at this point, happen to be almost entirely men.”
Given that in a few decades time our lives will be (even more) controlled by technology, I would like more diversity in the workforce to happen today, so that our future interactions with technology itself will be impartial and unbiased. Technology is meant to accompany us towards a more equal society, not hinder it.
This has actually led me to another question: is it possible to apply new technologies (AI/machine learning?) to control the recruitment/integration process in order to make less biased decisions and increase diversity in the workplace? Do you know of any companies that are already applying such systems?
I’d love to hear your opinions on this one!AnonymousInactive@March 19, 2018 at 12:50 #2341
You’re right Rachel, markets aren’t perfect of course. Still, with “let the market finish the job” I guess I just misspoke. I wasn’t talking about complete deregulation at all. But, as you said, a large number of studies on the benefits and the importance of diversity in the workplace has already been published and this may take too long to translate in significant changes.
In my last message, the point I tried to make was that government should commit more in spreading the benefits that come along with both gender and culture integration. In my opinion, the problem about legislative actions is that government should make companies want to have a mixed board instead of forcing them. By the way, you suggests a great thing: even though we’ve talk about forcing firms to include minoritis since now, as you mentioned, goverment may also create incentives for those companies. This should be probably better, I guess, because people see costraints as limitation to their freedom, meanwhile they see incentives more like opportunities to take.
And, as we know, every good enterpreneur loves taking great opportunities.
That being said, I agree with you Rachel.March 20, 2018 at 15:36 #2342
Hello UNITN and welcome Jacopo and Riccardo! It’s very nice to see people from different backgrounds…I only hope for more girls coming in the next weeks! 😉 But now, back to business! I read your recent posts thoroughly and I would love to share my opinion with you.
First of all, I appreciated Matteo’s metaphor – integration as innovation. I think that’s a smart new way to perceive diversity, as something that can bring additional value to companies and not something that merely has to be done. If you think about it, it’s basically marketing: when you want to introduce something new in a market, not everyone will join from the beginning but if you can show that other people who tried the product have enjoyed it, boom! You have followers. In HR there is a concept called “personal branding” – it’s basically how you “sell” yourself on the job market. We should teach this diverse workforce new ways to “sell” and highlight their intrinsic value. On the other hand, I agree with Rachel, waiting for something to happen automatically can’t be the solution: action is needed.
What kind of action? Well, have you ever heard of https://www.arcticshores.com? (If you haven’t I encourage you to take a look at their website!) I recently had an opportunity to test how it works and I truly enjoyed it. It’s a company that provides psychometric game-base assessments to deliver meaningful, job relevant insights about people. They work with clients (other firms) “to produce reliable, data-driven, objective screenings of candidates so they can improve quality and diversity of hires, whilst contributing to an improved ROI”. It’s innovative not only for the game format but because these games are grounded in validated models of intelligence, personality and cognitive neuroscience – reliable data vs. stereotypes. I believe this is the future of HR and many big firms are already using this evidence-based approach around the globe.
Of course, the biggest issue rising with big data is what type of data companies should be allowed to use, not only for recruiting but in general. Have you read about the recent scandal involving Cambridge Analytica?
So do you think technology could be part of the solution to increase diversity? I look forward to your feedbacks!Chiara GrossiParticipant@chiaragrossiMarch 20, 2018 at 15:40 #2343
Hi everyone! My name is Chiara Grossi, from Mantova and here are three thing that you have to know about me:
I’m a Civil Engineering student. I’ve always been interested in technical and technological stuff, how things work, how human kind has improved his skills from building trilithons to skyscrapers.
I’m an AGESCI Scout since I was 12 and I think this explains a lot of things about me: I’m used to be the change rather than waiting for it. I always try to see what is positive in situations and people rather than complain about everything and then starting from here, I try to improve the environment in which I live according to my skills. Thanks to Scout experience I’ve learned the importance of cooperating with other and different people.
I’m an insatiable learner and always self-challenging, never satisfied: every finish line is a new beginning.
This said, I want to share with you my opinion about the items introduced.
I think that sometimes we pretend different people to be all the same at 360° but what is more important rather than make everyone equal, in my opinion is to give everyone equal opportunities and rights. As the first article posted by Stefania said, what a firm needs to succeed is to appreciate diversity but to appreciate diversity first of all it must be recognised and accepted. A man indeed is different from a woman and an Italian boy is different from an Indian/African/American one because of their background and growing environment.
So in my opinion rather than reset differences we have to find ways to valorise and protect them, the main goal must be to give everyone the same opportunities. Some instruments could be: as Rachel said, give flexible hours policies to pregnant women and give them the possibility to work from home; make accessible all the university to all the young students, even to the less propertied ones thanks to governments incentives; create courses for firms’ employees to talk openly about gender/racial discrimination, to teach people to recognize and stop this type of behaviour; promote employees according to their skills and capacities rather than their physical appearance or background: this could be reached for example with a digital selective system.
But besides “practical” changes even a cultural change is needed. In my opinion this target can be promoted and reached thanks to tool which characterise our generation: internet and social media.
Internet and the social media gives us the opportunity to create movements that can have a global diffusion and when thousands or millions of people unify for a common goal, their voice can’t be ignored. Another huge utility of social media is to spread positive models. For example, few days ago Chiara Ferragni posted a video on her Intstagram profile in which she invites all young women to believe in their career targets and to have the courage to strive for them in a entrepreneurial reality that is mostly male.
I finish by saying that as a Civil Engineering student, I know what it feels like to be one of the 30 girls in a 150 students class but I have even experienced that when you are a minority you have a great connection with the others like you. I think this is the key to acquire the same opportunities and rights of the majority: to believe in the richness of your own diversity and to get together in movements/associations that will let this diversity to be more and more accepted and promoted in the environment you live in, from university to workplace.
Let me know if you guys agree or disagree or if you have anything to add!!
P.S. In response to Alessia question: “can you think of other ways to promote diversity?” of course, arts and music!! Check out for example Eli Rezkallah work (http://www.elirezkallah.com/inaparalleluniverse/) or “White Privilege” by Macklemore (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_rl4ZGdy34).
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