Sexism is "alive and well in the workplace", according to the Telegraph article last week, which basically suggests that one sex is superior or inferior to the other. 

This is a massive issue for HR departments that are working hard to eradicate glass ceilings and cultural incompetence from their workplace.

Isms can be extended to other differences based on age, class, disability, race, and while they are endemic in society, they are often acted out in workplaces. The reason they thrive in the workplace? Well, my experience tells me that it’s because developing leadership has little understanding of the impact isms have on individuals. 

In spite of over 40 years of equalities legislation minority groups are still under-represented in senior positions in the workplace, so who is to blame?  

Whose responsibility is it? Well blame isn’t helpful – taking responsibility is. 

Individuals and organisations should take responsibility by ensuring policies are put into practice, so inappropriate behaviour or language must be effectively challenged. 

A workplace where there is fear of saying or doing the wrong thing isn’t helpful – it is about providing opportunities for individuals to understand the impact that isms have on the individuals and the business.

Listening and learning from each other is a good start, because what is wrong for one person might seem right to another.

This is not about pointing the finger at someone else, look at yourself and consider the number of isms you have.

The fact is that individuals from minority groups have to work much harder because of the negative stereotypes – for some the glass ceiling is a brick ceiling. 

Muika Leadership