IWD2021 #ChooseToChallenge: Jo Walker

Author Rachael Crocker
February 7, 2021

Disclaimer: Please note that all commentary and opinions provided in this interview are those of the individual and not the organisation/company they are employed by. 

What does “choose to challenge” mean to you? 

You can’t assume that people know where you stand on an issue – you have to make your position clear. Silent disapproval isn’t enough. If you hear or see something that suggests bias or inequality, you have to speak out and challenge it there and then. To be able to do this effectively, you have to invest time to learn and understand where those biases may lie. Bias can be subtle and if it’s not related to your own life experience, you may not even realise it’s happening.

What impact could Kamala Harris’ appointment to Vice President have on the next generation of female leaders?

Although it’s a significant development in US politics, in my view, we have to be careful about pinning too much hope on a single appointment. However, every success by a member of an under-represented group is a step forward and no doubt inspires others that they can achieve their own ‘first’.

Why is it important that we “choose to challenge” and call out gender bias, discrimination and stereotyping? 

It is particularly important that leaders always ‘choose to challenge’ as this will set the tone for the organisation and the team they lead and encourage team members to do the same. There are so many reasons this is important. It ensures that we always recruit the best person for the job, approaching every CV and every interview with an open mind. It creates a team culture where diversity of thought and experience is encouraged and valued, and where people feel safe to express their views. That in turn leads to strong, high-achieving teams, improved staff retention levels and an enjoyable work environment. In a new era of increased remote working, leaders won’t hear as many ‘background conversations’ in the office as they would have in the past. This makes it even more important to challenge anything you do hear or hear about.

Click below to read the full edition of IWD2021 #ChooseToChallenge: Female Leaders Across The Globe.https://indd.adobe.com/embed/bb2678fd-fafb-4e5f-b57b-bbe97612e7cf?startpage=1&allowFullscreen=true