Updated: Nov 14, 2021
Equality is one if those subjects now that is so emotive that it silences many from speaking out for fear of saying the wrong thing, being cancelled or ghosted.
This is a time for equality but actually, it is yielding some reverse effects.
There is no doubt that the world has achieved a degree of gender and racial progress over the last decade, largely thanks to the viral nature of social media. There is nowhere for offenders to hide. The crowd will act as judge and jury long before a trial is ever heard.
Despite their origins, the cases of #MeToo, George Floyd, Jeffrey Epstein, football racism, and bilateral populism have been broadly positive catalysts for attitudinal change.
Of course the pace of equality progress is too slow. But at least voices are being heard.
A recent McKinsey report suggests that 80% of men want to be allied for women in the workplace but just a smattering have actually appointed diverse candidates.
Reverse discrimination remains a moral dilemma.
And in some populations, this wave of equality breeds silent resentment for those who miss out on appointments as companies strive for optics and to be seen to be fair employers - even if they override another capable employee.
Covid hadn’t helped the case for women’s economic empowerment - and remote working will make it worse, especially for those who prefer to stay home. Cliques will form for those onsite and psychological ingroups tighten.
Is COVID going to push the current demand for equality over a cliff? On balance, I think not. The fight has begun globally in too many camps.
Few organizations will roll back, even if they secretly want to. And I suspect many would like to, despite the rhetoric.
Social change comes with as many fears as hopes. It’s time to quell the discontent and show the next generation that equality can be progressed.
Those who look down on others - whether from a gender, racial, sexual or intellectual perspective - ultimately pay their own price.
As my long-departed 96 year-old Catholic grandmother used to say, ‘We are all equal in the eyes of the Lord.’