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My journey of inclusion, HR News, ETHRWorld

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<p>Shahine Ardeshir, Director - People and Organisation, Mars Wrigley India</p>
Shahine Ardeshir, Director – People and Organisation, Mars Wrigley India

Inclusion is a common topic in the corporate world today, and its usage often goes up in March every year – around the celebration of Women’s Day. But what does it even mean? That was the starting point for this article.

The word ‘inclusion’ originates from the Latin for ‘the act of making a part of’. I found great resonance in this etymology – because in many ways, it described my experiences of being included (or not) over the years: It boils down to how much I was made to feel part of a larger whole, despite my differences.

Only Woman

It started way back, when I worked for a home appliance business, and was doing my factory HR stint. I entered the long shopfloor where refrigerators were assembled, looking for the head of production, who had interview candidates waiting for him in the main office. Suddenly, the clutter of the shopfloor ceased and there was pin-drop silence. Why? Because apart from the office receptionist, who never left the front desk, I was the only woman in that factory, and all the workers stopped to look. The Head of Production not only found me, but berated me: “You stopped my line! What are you doing here?”. Mustering all of the courage that a twenty-something-year-old could, I took him into a meeting room, and explained that I was not the problem – the men’s behaviour was. This continued into a conversation…

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