I was sipping on my coffee this morning, having a read of this NZ Herald article. The issue of gender and bias is becoming more of a concern, however, in many ways, I can't say I'm too surprised sadly.
When submitting my CV in the past, I couldn't help but wonder about HR Managers and their mindset the moment they saw my CV...
Immediately, I feel that stereotypes set in regardless of the laws in place that enforce acts against discrimination...
"Sounds 'Indian'. Brown skin colour. Must have an accent. Language Barrier. Probably can't spell or use grammar correctly. Little Experience. Religious. Enjoys cricket. Loves Bollywood films, etc. Therefore, no."
So then it must come as a complete surprise when people hear and meet me for the first time...
"British accent. Born in the United Kingdom. Brought up in South Wales. Excellent English and grammar. Bilingual, fluent. Pakistani. Loathes cricket. Enjoys rugby and athletics. Not a Bollywood fan. Religious. Proven experience. How is this possible?"
I find preconceptions like this to be naive and unfortunate and, alas, it was how I was treated the moment I moved to New Zealand and not much has changed in the 14 years I've been here. I'd rather not feel as if my name should be changed to tie in with preconceived notions.
It's about time we moved away from bias, from racism, from discrimination. There are far more facets to an individual than you might anticipate: no matter how much you assume to know of a person based on their name or simply a few words; no matter how much you might think you're better than another.
Diversity shouldn't be forced for the sake of it. You need to understand, appreciate and echo it. You need to integrate and you need to do more than just acknowledge. Diversity is not hollow, it is enriched by a multitude of people, personalities and possibilities.
My name is Asad, the Arabic meaning for 'Lion' and 'Honourable Man' and I'm more than just the name.
The New Zealand Diversity Survey found the percentage of New Zealand organisations stating that bias is an important diversity issue was up 18.2 per cent, from 30.1 to 48.3 per cent.