When a system is broken, it doesn’t self correct. Rather it tends to continue to accentuate the ‘break’ and embed it further into its operations as ‘the way things are done around here’. Having started my academic career in Human Resources, I’ve seen this so many times with bias in interviews, promotions and everyday organisational practices privileging white males in particular, that the need for positive discrimination becomes abundantly clear. Yes it is unfair if you happen to be in the white male group that is ‘discriminated against’ on that occasion, but welcome to the world of the ‘other’ who face that every day.
When I first found out about the Hen House concept and idea, at its very inception I was drawn both to the cause and the methodology. Not only was this group setting out to address the gender investment gap, but it was doing so in a highly novel way of co-operative working, bringing women together in ways they might not otherwise find.
Not only is it challenging the system of investment, it is challenging the system of how we network and do business amongst ourselves.
This is no easy task to achieve, and hence progress is slower than I would hope. This is partly because we are all systematised into the old way of working. We look for the ‘cheapest’, or ‘the most recommended’ or the ‘best brand’ when we seek to buy anything, conditioned that this will be value for money, without really questioning what value for money means.
Value for money can mean more than money in your pocket. It can mean value added to closing the gender divide; it can mean keeping money in a circular economy of women supporting women and adding value to the collective; it can mean adding value through supporting new business start-up and get going; value for money should be linked to what you value, as in your core values, rather than what society tells us is the value of money.
In its attempt to shift the system, the Hen House dares to be different. A broken system can’t be ‘fixed’, it needs to be changed, and that requires people doing things differently. While it may take time, it also takes commitment from people to live by the rules of the new system alongside operating in the old system, until enough momentum builds for the new to become the systemic norm. For this to happen, we need people to join the cooperative movement that becomes a self-supporting community. That doesn’t mean you can’t do anything outside the cooperative; it simply means if there is a way of doing it within the cooperative then that becomes your preferred choice. You commit, you ‘give a cluck’, you support each other and you benefit from and with each other. It becomes a virtuous cycle of operations rather than a vicious cycle that perpetuates the gender divide. Time for change? Join us on this journey.Join the movement! Follow the buttons!
Learn more about the author of this article: Eddie Blass