Well, in case you are wondering, let me tell you why they do. Full disclaimer, this article is a rant and might contain some curse language, so I apologise in advance. On second thoughts, I don’t. The language used in this article reflects what I feel at this moment while writing this article.
I am so bloody tired of having endless conversations around closed-minded- DEI mentality. If I charged a penny for every single time, I have had the conversations around why there are ‘’too many’’ women groups and how much ‘’they dilute’’ the message; I would be incredibly wealthy. Ok, I would have a major headache of banking all these pennies, but you get my point.
To help you understand just how ridiculous this is, let’s use Boobs & Bras. A simple Google search on bras will bring back thousands of different types, designs, sizes, colours, prices, shapes, cups etc. Thousands! What does this tell you? It means that there are billions of different body sizes, body types, colour preferences, affordability, cup sizes! Those of us who are carriers or owners of boobs, will buy, select or prefer a bra(s) based on one thousand reasons. We will decide on comfort, on occasion, or cost price, on colour, on what we are going to wear on top of it, on whether we prefer one with straps or without, whether it’s a stay-home-all-day kind of bra day, or even on a good day, we will not bother with any bras! At the end of the day, we have options-choices-preference! WE decide.
I am yet to see any argument about too many bras or too many varieties and options! Never! Why? Because there is an unspoken agreement that those who are carriers and owners of boobs are free to choose. But most importantly, it is the realistic realisation and common sense that there are different body types, shapes, cup size, colour preference, financial capabilities, among many other factors. It is unanimously agreed and accepted as common sense and of course business or commercial benefit to those who design them.
Now, where I go batshit crazy is when we come to conversations around inclusion and diversity. Let’s use a simple example as gender diversity. The conversation goes south, and this is not just once, but every single time, and this is where it gets interesting.
Women are diverse creatures! Just because they share the gender identification does not mean that they ALL fit into one ‘’box’’- the single most bullshit I have ever heard.
Let’s use me (Martha) as an example.
I identify as a woman. I am African. I am Kenyan. I am Black (Brown). I speak four languages. I was raised Catholic. I am an Immigrant. I have worked and work in more than one industry. I love country music. I read a lot of books. I am an entrepreneur. I am a Founder. I run charity organisations. I am a multipotentialite….and many other things.
Going back to bras. Forget about body types, cup size, price for a moment. Let’s continue with me as an example. Based on some (not all) of my different wishes and desires mentioned above, I would need say 10 different types not to be confused with pairs/number of bras. Stay with me. I might choose to have: Padded bras, T-shirt bras, Underwired bras, Full figure bras, Halter bras. These are different types of bras, which again, will be driven by cost, size etc. Just to give you an indication, there are about over 40 different types or bras, which all have a different outcome.
Following this explanation, I, Martha, might chose to have:
· 10 pairs of padded: 5 from Victoria secrets, 3 from Hunkemoller and 2 from Sephora.
· 10 T-shirt bras: all from Hema
· 15 Underwired bras: from an unknown designer
In total I, personally, individually, would have 35 pairs of bras! While they share a common core objective: Uplift, Uphold, Support, Enhance; they work with one goal in mind. In order for them to meet and fulfil my needs, they have to Collaborate and Alternate, which allows them to meet my needs in different ways.
Everyone will unanimously agree and understand this part.
But, Alas! When it comes to diversity-related discussions, I am ‘’grouped’’ as a Black Woman, period. I should be happy to with this, since this is the group that ‘fits’ me the best, according to those who think that DEI is a one paint colour brush. It doesn’t matter that I am so many ‘other’ things, the definition and correct criteria for me is with the ‘’black women’’ group. That should solve and address ALL my issues, since we all face the ‘’same’’ problems and challenges.
Or in a good day, I should fit in any ‘’women’’ group, because, well, we all have similar issues.
What this closed mindset miss is the fact that each individual is unique. While we might share some similarities in challenges, wishes, desires, career ambitions, where we live, where we come from, our race, our culture, even in some cases come from the same family; it doesn’t mean that one group will address all that needs to be addressed when it comes to inclusion and diversity.
Even as unique individuals, we have many different needs, desires and wishes. These needs cannot be met by one single group or tribe. Human species are innately tribal. We strive in groups and tribes. Different groups serve different purposes.
I belong to many different groups and tribes. E.g. Women in Tech, Women in Fintech, Women in Finance, Black Women in Tech, African Diaspora, African Women in Europe, African Women in Diaspora, Diverse Speakers, Women Founders, African Women Founders, Global Leaders….and many other different groups and initiatives. All these groups meet my specific needs and/or desires. They each address different challenges and offer support on different issues. There is no single one group that could meet ALL my needs and desires.
This is exactly the reason why there are many different groups, initiatives, communities and organisations that target a ‘group’ of people, simply because not one single organisation can fix, address and meet the needs of everyone, even those who come from same gender or race or culture. It’s impossible!
So, for the last time, women are not a homogenous group!
Black people are not a homogenous group!
Muslims are not a homogenous group.
Africans are not a homogenous group!
Europeans are not a homogenous group.
Asians are not a homogenous group.
Just because people share something in common doesn’t mean that someone should group them as a homogenous group.
If you search Women in Tech, Women in Finance, Black Women in Tech, etc., you will get hundreds of groups, initiatives, organisations and communities; rightfully how things need to be! Different groups meet different needs for different people. There will be overlaps for sure, but the beauty of having a choice or choices is what we should thrive to achieve. By having all these organisations and initiatives out there, it means that every single unique person has an opportunity to connect to like-minded individuals in various communities, that might meet some or all of that person’s needs.
The magic that happens is when all these different organisations and initiatives collaborate and partner with one core objective of meeting the needs of those they serve. I have personally seen just how incredible this is.
Understanding and accepting that, as an organisation, as a group or an initiative; you cannot simply meet ALL the needs of the people you serve is the first step. The second step is being open to collaborate and partner with groups or organisations that bring forth something that is lacking in your group. Your core objective and desire should always be to put the ‘’people’’ you serve at the center of everything. Serving them the best way you possibly can.
Stop viewing other organisations, individuals, groups or initiatives as competitors. They are not. They are enablers, just like you. They are potential partners and collaborators. If your core and authentic objective is really to help the people you serve, then you will do what needs to be done to provide the very best service. This might, and will, in most case, call you to partner and collaborate with your ‘’competitors’’.
Now, next time someone tries to tell you just how ‘’too many’’ women in something groups are (replace women with any other group), ask them to google search boobs and bras and then come back to tell you what they find.
There about 7,8 Billion people in planet earth. That’s 7,8 unique individuals with hundreds of different needs and desires. That’s 7,8 multiplied by 100 possible opportunities!
If we can unanimously agree that we should have choices of bras, so can we agree that women, or any other group of people should have choices and varieties of communities that they can be part of, depending on their particular need, desire, mood or cup size!