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Published on 7th May 2024

It’s not them- it’s us


It’s not them- it’s us

It has been a busy few weeks at WUN, with the launch of the results of our survey on Unconscious Bias swiftly followed by an Executive Dinner where we discussed, not only the survey results, but also the role of leadership, inclusion and allyship.

As the dust settles, there is time for reflection and a chance to highlight some of the key insights:

  • 1/3 of women are considering leaving the sector in the next 1-3 years- we are failing to retain talent. Just at the time that the sector needs to grow and the need for talent has never been more acute, women are looking to leave. Added to that, almost half of women feel that they are treated differently because of their gender, believe that they are talked over or ignored at meetings and most disappointingly don’t feel they are able to express their views and be heard. So whilst on one hand it feels like there is general consensus at Board level that we need diversity and inclusion, in reality the sector is still failing to shift the dial.
  •  We are at a pivot point: There is growing weariness and resistance to terms like ‘unconscious bias’; a sense that D&I has gone too far; increasing pushback from the majority in leadership and management who feel increasingly got at for just being who they are. There is a need to change the narrative and have more mature conversation so that it does not feel like ‘them and us’ whilst still actively supporting the underrepresented.
  • Leadership is the key to creating inclusive cultures. It has to be about behaviour and not box ticking. Having a D&I policy, allowing others to run forums and financial sponsorship does not equate to real leadership in this area- it is a sop to the issue and is seen as such. Visible action, calling out poor behaviour and active allyship are far more impactful in demonstrating commitment. More importantly than anything leaders need the willingness to reflect on their own behaviours, team constructs, and business culture cognisant of the data that is reality. How we do business today is not inclusive- and change has to be lead from the top. It’s not them, it’s us.

WUN itself, will continue to be all about supporting women in developing their careers in the sector.  We focus on giving women the tools to help themselves, and in a supportive ‘tribe’ where the power of the network gives confidence and perspective. We continue to learn a lot about women in the workplace throughout their careers and love to come and talk to Boards about the reality- for those brave enough to invite us in!

Jo Butlin, WUN Co-Founder & Director.