7. Gender Identity & Expression
The social constructs surrounding gender roles vary from one culture to another, however, within most, individuals are assigned these roles at birth based on biological sex. Once this assignment happens, individuals are more or less segregated into male or female gender binaries.
These days, however, things have progressed beyond these two distinct (and constricting) binaries, with society now beginning to accept that there is, in fact, a spectrum of gender identities that may or may not correspond with the sex a person was assigned at birth. These identities include - but are not limited to - transgender, non-binary, genderqueer, non-gendered, and gender fluid.
To add, gender expression - how someone expresses themselves externally - may also vary from an employee’s sex or gender identity. This can be interpreted through elements such as hair, makeup, mannerisms, behaviour, clothing, and preferred pronouns.
To remain inclusive of gender diversity and expression at work, organisations should practice the following:
- Educating their teams about the different gender identity terms
- Politely asking potential and current employees what their preferred gender pronouns are
- Consider creating an Employee Resource Group to support LGBTQ+ employees, and
- Ensuring that part of company spend is utilised toward supporting diversity goals
8. Sexual Orientation
Different from gender identity, expression, and biological sex, sexual orientation can be defined as an ‘inherent emotional, romantic, or sexual attraction to other people’. In other words, sexual orientation refers to a person’s identity in relation to the gender or genders to which they’re attracted to.
Common sexual orientations include heterosexual, bisexual, lesbian, gay, asexual, pansexual, and questioning. While to many of us these terms are known, accepted, and acknowledged in the workplace, in over half of the world, LGBTQ+ employees actually still face a huge lack of legal protection from employment discrimination.
So, while the world plays catch up in advocating for this incredible and diverse community, employers can still work to create an inclusive workforce by learning about current issues and laws as they relate to LGBTQ+ employees and educating those in their organisation on them as well.
A term used to describe how the brain varies from person to person, neurodiversity focuses on neurodivergent people, including those with autism, ADHD, epilepsy, Tourette syndrome, and dyslexia (among others).
In the past, these conditions were often seen as disabilities that needed to be fixed or treated, however, the idea behind neurodiversity is accepting that these conditions aren’t disabilities but are instead simply differences between the way people think.
When organisations prioritise hiring and supporting neurodiverse individuals at work, they’re making a statement that they value the way different people think and perceive the world around them, ultimately offering organisations a broader range of skills, experiences, personalities, etc problem solving and innovations.