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Chief Commissioner's Blog | Positive discrimination?

Wayne considers the recent remarks by Network Rail CEO, Mark Carne…

‘Macho’ culture?

A speech by Mark Carne, CEO of Network Rail made the headlines today for his comments describing the railways – for which he is responsible – as a scrapheap. But it was his comments on what he described as a ‘macho culture’ within his organisation that got me thinking.

In some ways, the difference between Scouting and Network Rail are very different; while only 14% of their staff are women, we have a broadly 50/50 split in Scouting, so we’re far from a macho culture at Group level at least.
But Scouting’s problem becomes starker when we recognise that the number of women in management roles is noticeably less, with less than 5% of our County/Area/Regional Commissioners being women.

I’ve blogged previously about this, and we are in the process of undertaking some work to better understand the barriers. Mr Carne noted that it would take 65 years to change their balance at current rates, and that he was announcing plans to ensure that all women with appropriate qualifications would be guaranteed interviews.

‘Inherent biases’

Positive discrimination is nothing new, and there are passionate views on each side of the argument (from women as well as men), but Mr Carne countered criticism by saying that ‘if you do not take some action to counter inherent biases that must exist, the bad habits that have persisted in the past will carry on.’ Something I’ve written about previously also.

So, in a Scouting context, I’d be really interested in hearing what those ‘inherent biases’ might be and what actions we should take to ensure that our management roles as well as youth leadership roles are truly reflective of our membership first, and then our local communities.

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