That’s right. It’s a biased world. Admit it, you jump to conclusions even before meeting or getting to know an individual. Agree this far? No? All right, let me put things in perspective. There’s a new hire in your firm. Won’t you judge based on his or her last name? If it’s a Singh or a Mishra, we say he’d either be podgy or with bad teeth, or worse, both. Down south, if it’s an Iyer or a Nair, they’d be either loudmouthed or with a lousy accent based on the state they represent. Why do we nod guilty to this crime? It’s human nature, it’s as simple as that.
At the recently concluded Best of the Best Conference conducted by Working Mother and AVTAR Group to celebrate and honour the 100 Best Companies for Women in India at ITC Grand Chola in Chennai, Training Sideways in association with AVTAR Group, had a vibrant and interesting workshop based on biases rampant in society that had the audience in splits. The subtle layers of the play also made the audience sit up and look inwards to figure if they were guilty of being biased.
How did we manage that? We presented our play ‘A for apple, B for bias – the d12rty dozen’. Based on an extensive research done by AVTAR across 300 + companies in India on the latent biases that exist in the country, we identified the top 12 unconscious prejudices seen in Indian workplaces. Although our play speaks of standard biases, it lay particular stress on gender bias. Especially of increasing women workforce participation and the resultant challenges that are thrown up.
Here’s a ringside view of the play. From womb to tomb, individuals are blameworthy of being biased. That was almost the case for the protagonist, Bias Babu as well. Literally. Right when he was conceived, the family, friends and beyond pitched in with names. Regardless of being asked for ideas. Outside of home environs, teachers at school dropped loud opinions that girls sang and boys ran. Because that’s just the done thing. Zip ahead to college years and he bears the brunt of ragging, based on appearance, clothes, aptitude and whatever else. Jump ahead to the corporate jungle. His request to join the HR team is turned down & he’s forced to plunge into sales. Ridiculous reason being that sales are for males & HR, for the fairer sex. Yeah, the world is anything but fair. Confused, shattered with no mind of his own, where does it leave Bias Babu? He becomes conditioned by all the compartmentalised factors through his life and turns out to be the very replica of those biased souls.
Witty and clever, Bias Babu held the rapt crowd in thrall who were overheard mumbling about smashing pre-conceived notions and biased opinions on their way home. All in a day’s work, yet again at Sideways.
In just 5 years and 500 interventions, Training Sideways has become an essential training tool for corporates and colleges. Our other play shops in Diversity &Inclusion are on themes of POSH [Prevention of Sexual Harassment], respectful work environment, women and leadership, career building, women and men growing together in the workplace, to name a few. Our technique employs art-based experiential methodologies such as theatre, music, visual arts and team building games. Need to up the game at your workplace? Go #Sideways today.
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