Don’t Fix Women by Joy Burnford is an interesting and thought provoking read on gender equality in the workplace. It begins by simply outlining the key challenge: that despite efforts over many years from individuals, governments and organisations to address gender equality in the workplace, whilst some progress has been made, true gender parity remains a long, long way away. The opening statistics have the power to make you grumpy, highlighting just how big the gender pay gap still is and how little women are represented at senior levels in the organisations for which they work
Burnford’s central argument is simple yet powerful: it is not women that need to change – it is our organisations that need to improve and adapt. By shifting the focus from women to systemic issues, Burnford encourages us to change the narrative about women at work. It is a perspective that stands in contrast to other advice on gender equality, which too often indicates how women need to adapt to organisations that were designed, as Burnford notes, for men, by men.
The book is a practical one. There are chapters on the specific issues that women face in the workplace, from women’s health issues to the burden of domestic and caring responsibilities that they must often find a way to balance with jobs. There is also plenty of easily digestible information about the steps that organisations and individuals can take if they want to make a positive change for the better, accompanied by signposting to other useful resources and materials.
One of the strengths of the book its accessibility – there are case studies, ‘how to’s, tips, and shared, lived experiences. Don’t Fix Women has useful insights and practical guidance for HR professionals, leaders and those with responsibility for diversity and inclusion initiatives in their organisations.
Published by Practical Inspiration Publishing
Gemma Dale, Founder, The Work Consultancy