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Diversity is not Inclusion

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Ashleigh Rennie - copywriter and owner of the Story Team

If you’ve been following my contributions to Euronewsweek, you’ll know me as a copywriter. What you might not know is that I’m also a feminist. While I acknowledge that women are in more spaces than ever before, it doesn’t mean that they’re equal. It doesn’t mean that there is equity. As long as we continue to do things the ways we’ve always done, diversity is not inclusion.

Here are three important things to understand before you continue reading:

  1. I adore men
  2. I believe language is the most important thing we have – it’s our superpower
  3. I’m okay with being vulnerable

The 8th March was International Women’s Day, and March is also Women’s History Month. I’ve delivered three speaking engagements about how diversity isn’t inclusion, and how women still have a long way to go in the world, generally, as well as in the workplace when it comes to closing the gender gap. All the gaps. Not just the financial one.

What follows isn’t a remarkable story. It’s just my story. But it speaks to the greater problems that we’re still seeing in the world – even though it’s 2022, and wow, we should have learned a thing or two by now.

It also holds as incredibly precious and vital, our use of language.

 

Diversity is not Inclusion – The beginning

I grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa. We weren’t wealthy, but we were very comfortable. Educated. We didn’t want for anything.

As a child, one is supposed to feel safe in the obvious places: home and school. That should be a given. And yet…

 

The horror of home

I grew up knowing that something was very, very wrong. I couldn’t put my finger on it, exactly. It wasn’t an overt danger I was facing. No one hit me. Or punched me. But there was a sense that one step in the wrong direction would lead to catastrophe.

My father wasn’t a fan of women. He’d married one and had three daughters with her, and yet his tolerance of females was wanting, to say the least.

I was routinely told that I was the smart one, and my sister was the pretty one.

He once told me, at the age of eight or nine, that the line from my pubic bone to my belly button was sexy.

He would find his way into my bedroom or the bathroom while I was navigating puberty. He’d simply be there. Observing.

He also regularly told me to smile. “Put a smile on your face. Wipe that look off your face. Give us a smile.”

The deeper, and much more pressing crisis, was that he held all the power. So, while we were a family of predominantly females, and we certainly didn’t lack representation, he ruled the house with an iron fist.

He controlled the money.

He itemised the shopping bills.

If my mother deviated from what was expected he would punish all of us by screaming, withholding affection, not speaking to us, or just not coming home from work.

At night, he’d come home and run his finger over the window ledges and the tables and countertops to make sure my mother had cleaned his house properly.

 

The other inescapable horror

At the same time as this was happening, I was in a fresh kind of hell – high school.

I didn’t look like the other girls. I didn’t have long legs and long hair. I wasn’t good at sport. My features were too big for my face. I enjoyed the cultural side of things. And because I was so desperate for adult attention, I tended to spend more time with my teachers – so I was known as a suck-up.

This lack of popularity lead to a range of bullying that happened over years. It was mostly meted out by the boys – ridicule. Jibes. Laughing at me. Calling me names – slut. Whore. Not a girl. Cute (which, in my school meant, ugly but f@!kable). I’d never kissed a boy in my life.

These boys were a particular kind of male – physically large. They played rugby. They dated the pretty girls, who were enlisted to do more of the physical bullying. I was slammed into walls and kicked in the back in class.

A very structured social hierarchy was established. If you weren’t part of that, you were in trouble. Boys who didn’t fall into this category of maleness were beaten up. Tipped upside down in dustbins. Hung over the school balcony with knives to their throat. A reminder: this was an affluent school in Johannesburg with a diversity of gender. Equity? Not a chance. Inclusion? Ha.

 

The Presence and Absence of Language

The effects of my home life and my school life manifested in various ways. My hair fell out. I was underweight. I had no confidence. I had no self-esteem. I was terrified of men and relationships with them until late into my 20s. I had suicidal ideation by the time I was 19. And I had fantasies of killing my father.

I didn’t understand what was going on. For years, I thought I was the problem. I was ugly. I wasn’t good enough. Smart enough. Thin enough. Athletic enough.

Then, after years of therapy, medication, and long conversations with my mother and my girlfriends – I realised that I had experienced a toxic combination of two things: the everyday sexist language that was consistently being used around me; and the absence of language around things that were formative and incredibly important.

 

What are we saying?

The language that we use when we’re talking to girls?

Smile.

Your bra straps are showing.

Your skirt is too short.

Cross your legs.

Don’t be a know it all.

Don’t answer all the questions in class.

Don’t be a showoff.

Stop being bossy.

You have a nipple stand.

Cover up.

Don’t distract the boys.

Don’t make the male teachers uncomfortable.

Don’t be too loud.

We teach children that girls are powerful and dangerous, and we sexualise their bodies. While there may be diversity in schools, that diversity is not inclusion.

And we teach boys that girls are there to be objectified. We prioritise his education over girls. This is bad news for boys too. Because any boy that is slightly effeminate, or shows emotions, or wears their hair long, or cries, or wears pink is targeted. Why? Because they’re too feminine. And society isn’t a fan of the feminine, unless it’s in a bikini. You run like a girl. You scream like a girl. You hit like a girl. Don’t be such a girl.

We’re not fans of girls.

 

What are we not saying?

The absence of language is just as devastating to diversity and inclusion.

Growing up, there were things we didn’t talk about. When I was around 13 or 14 we went out for lunch in a restaurant. I started having the worst abdominal cramps I’d ever experienced. It felt like knives were slicing up my insides. I had sharp, shooting pains down my legs. It was only 24-36 hours later that I realised I was having my first period. No one had prepared me for this. No one had told me what would happen to my body.

As I was being bullied at school, there was the implied threat that if I spoke out about it, I would suffer. I knew that these kids carried knives. There was no way I could take a stand and talk about what was happening.

This restriction around language and the policing of women when they try to say no, or they try to speak out, takes many forms as we get older. The threats range from being laughed at, ostracised and jeered at, to not getting the raise or promotion we’re after, to being physically attacked in the street, on public transport, and in other public spaces. Soraya Chemaly explores this in detail in her book Rage Becomes Her.

 

My theory – you’re not going to like it

If your organisation and your people engage in everyday sexist language, or there’s an unspoken rule that certain things don’t get discussed, then your organisation is my father and the boys at school when I was growing up, and your women are me.

We balk at this idea. It’s worth remembering that we are taught this gendered way of being before we can even speak. It’s possible that you don’t even see it happening around you, because it is so normalised.

 

What do we do?

All around me, I see women who lack confidence. Who are pushing all the time to move beyond that. Who are fighting the structures in place that support the idea that diversity is not inclusion.

I can only tell you what I’ve done.

  1. I work with women. They are my clients. They are my network. I love men and I find them smart and brilliant, but I feel most comfortable with other women. I want to uplift other women, and I want to be uplifted by them.
  2. I talk about it. I speak about feminism and the need we still have for it in society as often as I can.
  3. I tell little girls that they are clever. I ask them what books they’re reading. I ask them what they like to do at school. I NEVER tell them they’re pretty. And if I like her outfit, I’ll tell her she looks totally fierce and, dressed like that, one day she’ll take on the world.
  4. I make money. As much of it as I can. Because, as Rachel Rogers says in We Should All be Millionaires – we need to make bank. That’s what gives us our autonomy.

If you’re a woman reading this, you can leave. It will be rough. But if you draw on the resilience you have inside you, it will be okay.

To men, the next time you are in a conversation about women being barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen, or you hear the term female author, or female doctor, or you see a man making a woman feel uncomfortable, say something. We need allies. More than anything, we need you to be our allies. As long as everyday sexist language exists, and as long as we aren’t talking about it, diversity is not inclusion.

Ashleigh is a Copyhackers-trained conversion copywriter who helps ambitious business owners attract their ideal clients and generate wealth with words. She's also a speaker, a feminist, and dog mom. She lives in London and works with incredible businesses all over the world.

Business

Outsourcing legal transcription might help small law offices

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Outsourcing legal transcription might help small law offices
One way law firms, big and small, can save costs and improve accuracy is making use of legal transcription outsourcing.

Operating a small legal firm while delivering first-rate client service calls for multitasking. In the field of legal transcribing, accuracy and speed are very important.

Small law firms might find it challenging to strike a compromise between their main legal business and transcribing standards. One good way to save costs, improve accuracy, and increase output is legal transcription outsourcing. The main advantages of outsourcing legal transcribing services as well as probable effects on small law firm operations are covered in this paper.

On costs and savings

Outsourcing legal transcribing might help small law firms save significantly on expenses.

Outsourcing lets companies to cut the overhead costs related to hiring and keeping an internal transcribing staff.

This budget calls for salary, office space, and incentives. Legal firms might decide to concentrate their resources on other important aspects of their business instead of paying expenses to employ and train transcribing crew members.

An further economical benefit of outsourcing is that many transcribing firms provide a pay-as—you-go approach. By just paying for the transcribing services they need, companies may avoid the fixed expenses of hiring full-time staff using this variable pricing structure. This approach would help small legal firms with changing workloads most as it allows them to change service levels in response to demand without running extra expenses.

Outsourcing may also help to lower the need for expensive transcribing tools and software. Using transcribing service providers who typically invest in modern equipment and procedures to guarantee high-quality output may help law firms save money on capital expenses.

Small law firms outsourcing legal transcribing might save money and release resources to focus on other crucial areas of their business.

Enhanced efficiency and output.

Small law company efficiency and production might be much raised by legal transcribing outsourcing. Faster reaction times of expert transcribing services are one of its main advantages. Thanks to precise transcriptions made by knowledgeable transcriptionists using modern technology, lawyers may get vital information fast. Creating legal paperwork, keeping client connections, and getting ready for litigation might all benefit greatly from fast access to transcribed records.

Delegating transcribing tasks to outside experts and law firms helps internal staff members concentrate on critical legal matters. Transcription of audio recordings takes less time than client consultations, case research, and courtroom preparation, attorneys and paralegals may discover.

This change of emphasis can result in better customer service and case results.

Moreover, outsourcing gives you access to a pool of seasoned transcribing experts focused on legal language and formatting. These experts make sure transcriptions satisfy high accuracy and consistency criteria and can easily manage complex legal jargon. By lowering the possibility of mistakes and omissions, experienced external transcriptionists make legal papers more accurate and dependable.

All things considered, legal transcribing outsourcing helps small law firms be more efficient so they may manage more cases and provide better legal services.

More quality and accuracy.

Legal transcription outsources help to guarantee accuracy and quality of transcribed data.

Professional transcribing services use highly skilled transcriptionists knowledgeable with legal language and structure. Apart from being accurate, their knowledge guarantees that transcriptions satisfy the particular needs of legal documents, including formatting and reference guidelines.

Using expert transcribing services has mostly benefits in that mistakes are minimised. Particularly when handling delicate subtleties and complicated legalese, internal staff members could lack the unique knowledge required to produce outstanding transcriptions.

Conversely, external transcriptionists have thorough legal training and competency, which lowers mistakes and raises general document quality. Many times, professional transcribing services adhere strictly to quality assurance standards.

These methods assure that the final result is error-free and accurate by use of several editing and proofreading rounds. Small legal firms might not be able to do more internal checks given their restricted means. Still, these services—quality control systems—do exactly that.

When outsourcing legal transcribing, small law firms might rely on the regularity and dependability of professional services to produce better reports. By raising the firm’s legitimacy and efficiency in the legal field, this benefits clients and promotes better case results.

Flexibility and Spreadability

Using the scalability and flexibility that outsourcing legal transcribing provides, small law firms may effectively control changing workloads. The capacity to adjust to variations in the transcribing demand is among the most important advantages. Professional transcribing services may modify their resources to fit the demands of the company, independent of the situation—a temporary increase in activity or a rapid surge in cases, for example. This flexibility allows companies to keep operating at a high degree without using temporary labour or overloading current staff.

Still another great benefit of outsourcing are tailored services. Many times, transcription service providers provide a number of choices to meet the particular demands of every one of their customers.

Small legal firms may choose the formats, degrees of transcribed information, and response periods best fit for their needs. This customisation guarantees that companies get precisely what they need without running more expenses.

Moreover, certain transcribing services provide round-the-hour access. This ongoing service allows transcribing projects to be finished outside of usual business hours, which is very helpful in cases of tight deadlines or urgent need. The company’s responsiveness and efficiency improve when one may use transcribing services as needed. Using the scalability and adaptability of outsourced transcribing services helps small law firms increase their general operational effectiveness.

Security and confining of data

Third-party legal transcribing services might enable small companies to meet legal industry-critical data security and confidentiality regulations. Following all relevant rules and regulations—especially those controlling data protection, like GDPR and HIPAA—is highly valued in expert transcribing services. These companies use rigorous security policies to protect private information and sensitive data.

A key security measure is to use safe file transfer techniques. Transcription service providers utilise encrypted techniques to transmit audio recordings and transcribed documents in order to stop illegal access during transmission. This encryption guarantees that during the transcribing process client information stays private and protected.

Moreover, many times, transcribing businesses have tight internal policies and procedures in place to manage private information. These limitations include personnel background checks, regular security instruction, and confidentiality agreements. These precautions help transcription companies greatly lower the danger of data leaks by guaranteeing that only authorised users have access to customer data.

Safely stored using expert transcription services are also audio recordings and transcribed documents. These storage options assist to prevent data loss and illegal access by means of secured servers and safe backup systems.

Small legal firms could contract with reliable transcribing service providers instead of making significant investments in their own security infrastructure, therefore benefiting from these strict security protocols.

Professional transcribers often adhere to more security rules and confidentiality requirements, which small law firms might gain by outsourcing their legal transcribing needs. This guarantees legal compliance and protection of private customer data, therefore strengthening the brand and image of the business.

For small law firms, outsourcing legal transcribing has many advantages; it is thus a great way to improve effectiveness and save expenses. Companies that outsource their transcribing needs could save money, raise accuracy and quality, and boost general output.

Strong data security systems guarantee the safety and preservation of important client data; outsourced transcription services’ scalability and adaptability help companies to handle different workloads.

These benefits might be used by small law firms to concentrate on their main legal profession, therefore offering improved client service and case results. In the competitive legal market of today, small law offices may realistically keep operational and financial stability by means of legal transcribing outsourcing, therefore enabling their growth and development.

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Why Potholes are a Problem for Businesses and What to Do About Them

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A silver car on the road passing by a big pothole
Potholes are a common issue across the country, with the RAC estimating more than one million of them in the UK.

Unless you run a garage, potholes are bad for businesses. The deep holes in a road’s surface can cause many vehicle issues, such as tyre damage or deflation, wheel rim bending, broken suspension springs, or alignment problems.

Unfortunately, potholes are a common issue across the country, as the RAC estimates there are more than one million in the UK.  So, why are they a problem for businesses, and what can they do about them?

What Causes Potholes?

A pothole develops when water seeps into the tiny cracks in a road surface, which commonly form due to excess traffic. The water may then freeze and expand, causing the cracks to become large once it thaws. It weakens the surface while allowing more water to enter, and the potholes could be exacerbated by heavy rainfall. Heavy traffic over the weak road causes a small hole to develop, which will grow due to the pressure of passing cars.

Why are Potholes Bad for Businesses?

Businesses have a duty of care to their employees, which is why potholes are a big problem, as they can pose a risk to employee safety on the road. Also, they could increase the risk of a collision with one or more motorists, pedestrians, or cyclists.

Potholes are a threat to businesses dependent on efficient road infrastructure and transportation, such as courier firms or logistics companies. If a pothole causes significant damage to a vehicle, a small business might be unable to operate for many days until the necessary repairs are complete. As a result, it could lead to a loss of business, customer dissatisfaction, and reputational damage.

What Can Businesses Do About Potholes?

Businesses cannot force local councils to fill potholes across towns and cities, but they can prevent the deep holes on their premises. Improve road safety on-site with a dependable pothole repair kit, which you can apply straight from a bucket and use in all weather conditions.

It will allow your business to create a safer, usable environment for all on-site vehicles. You can use it to fill gaps on various surfaces, such as drives, paths, cycle tracks, and manholes. It will minimise road safety issues and prevent your vehicles from sustaining damage on the premises.

Also, your business could request its employees avoid driving over potholes, but only when it is safe to do so. If it isn’t safe, they will have no option but to drive over them. However, they could decrease damage by reducing their speed or distancing their vehicle from other motorists if possible.

Potholes can pose a risk to employee safety and cause substantial damage to many business vehicles. If a vehicle experiences damage on the road, a company might have no other option but to spend a large sum on essential repairs to get it back on the road, which can drain its profitability.

Also, a lengthy vehicle repair could impact a business’s operations, affecting its revenue, customer satisfaction, and reputation. Unfortunately, you cannot change the UK’s roads, but you can repair potholes on-site and teach your drivers how to safely drive over them to prevent accidents and minimise repairs.

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Chocolate Lovers Wanted as Cadbury Seeks 48 Tasters in the UK

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Chocolate Lovers Wanted as Cadbury Seeks 48 Tasters in the UK
• The roles involve tasting iconic brands such as Cadbury, Toblerone and Milka, and providing feedback to support product development.

Mondelēz International is recruiting 48 Sensory Panellist job roles at its historic Bournville site in Birmingham. The part-time roles, also known as chocolate tasters, will play a crucial role in product development by tasting and providing consistent, objective and honest feedback on new chocolate products, including iconic brands such as Cadbury, Toblerone and Milka.

Successful applicants will bring a passion for food, a desire to try new and inventive products, as well as a communicative personality to collaborate with other panellists. Full training is provided, including helping successful applicants to develop their taste buds and learn the specific vocabulary required to communicate feedback.

The Sensory Panellist roles are part of ongoing investment being made at the iconic Bournville site, the home of Cadbury, with the brand celebrating its 200th anniversary year. The roles, which were previously located at our Reading Scientific Services site in Wokingham, will now be based out of Mondelēz’s Global Centre of Excellence for Chocolate research and development at Bournville.

The roles play an important role in Mondelēz International’s commitment to world class innovation, ensuring it continues to adapt to changing consumer trends and delivering choice for consumers. Recently it has continued to enhance its health and wellbeing portfolio. In 2023 it launched Cadbury Delights, a new range of confectionary under 100 calories per bar, and in April this year it launched Cadbury Brunch Light, new non-HFSS (non-high in fat, salt and sugar) range of Cadbury Brunch Bars with each bar containing less than 100 calories.

“We are hugely excited to be recruiting 48 Sensory Panellists to join our amazing research and development team in Bournville. Often called a ‘dream job’ for many, the tasters will play an invaluable role in helping to develop the perfect taste profiles for our amazing products. Previously our Sensory Panellists have helped develop consumer favourites including Caramilk and Toblerone Truffles.

“We currently have around 600 employees working in a variety of research and development roles in the UK and are looking forward to welcoming our newly trained chocolate tasters to the team. They will enable us to continue to innovate and lead the future of snacking,” says Afsha Chugtai, Section Manager in the Consumer Science Team at Mondelēz International.

This year Cadbury is celebrating its 200th year anniversary. To mark the occasion the chocolatier has released a national television advert that reflects its core values of generosity; launched Cadbury Dairy Milk bars in stores with packaging designs from 1915 to the current day; and partnered with Alzheimer’s Research UK, donating £200,000 to support research to one day find a cure for dementia and drive awareness of the condition.

To find out more about careers at Mondelēz International and apply to become a chocolate taster, visit: https://www.mondelezinternational.com/careers

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