Canadian HR Reporter

October 20, 2014

Canadian HR Reporter is the national journal of human resource management. It features the latest workplace news, HR best practices, employment law commentary and tools and tips for employers to get the most out of their workforce.

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Canadian HR RepoRteR october 20, 2014 2 NEws Visit our website for a full list of courses, products and services offered. 1.866.688.2845 Inc. Safety Compliance Made Easy! YOW Canada Inc. Now Offers Office Ergonomics  Training Online! ERGONOMICS Office Ergonomics The course takes approximately 1.5 hours to complete and covers: Workstation Layout Ergonomic Guidelines Legislation MusculoSkeletal Disorders (MSDs) Certifiy today! Recent stories posted on Check the website daily for quick news hits from across Canada and around the world. web O n t h e ACross CANAdA Wynne says Ontario on- side with unions when it comes to good jobs Says 'adversarial model' of labour relations no longer works Prentice says time critical factor in Alberta's worker shortage Denies employers are trying to underpay AroUNd THE world Greek government vows tax cuts, swing to growth in 2015 budget Unemployment likely to stay high Engagement in tough times in this third installment of our roundtable video series, our expert panel talks about how engagement programs can be built to survive difficult times FeAtuReD ViDeo Joining the boys' club Transgender professional shares insights into workplace gender roles By Liz Bernier When Chris Edwards started his advertising career, it was in a male-dominated department. In his early 20s at the time, Ed- wards was presenting as a woman then and while ad agencies are filled with women, his creative department wasn't, he said. "Working in an ad agency is very different than working in a corporate (environment) or a law firm. It's very laid back," he said. "But the creative depart- ments in ad agencies are very male-dominated." Edwards enjoyed the working environment there — he met a lot of other young people, social- ized after work, appreciated the casual dress code. He never ran up against gender discrimination while working as a woman — but he never quite felt comfortable. "I didn't feel I was mistreated, I didn't have any problems... it was more me being uncomfortable in my own skin, and sort of laying low," he said. "In meetings, I was very reserved. I'd do the work, but I wouldn't speak up very much — and if I did, it would be to ask questions, not to really take a stand on my work. I didn't feel confident. But that could also be because I was junior — I was just learning and just starting out, and I was more in observational mode. So there were a couple variables at play." In 1995, Edwards prepared for his transition period and let his advertising firm know he would soon be presenting as a man. "I didn't just come right out in a tie… I gave people time to get used to it, and then it wasn't until that September that I started tak- ing hormones," he said. As a man, Edwards started no- ticing differences in the way he approached his work. "After a few months on the hormones, (I) really noticed the difference... I was more confi- dent, I was more aggressive — not in a mean way but just in that 'I'm going to speak up for myself and be a go-getter' (way)," he said. "I think it was that I finally felt comfortable. e hormones were helping me, although they did make me less patient. Before, I would maybe go gently around issues — sort of dance around things a little bit — and then I found myself just being more di- rect, saying what I meant." A couple of female co-workers felt Edwards wasn't quite as pa- tient as he used to be, he said. "When they'd ask me ques- tions, they'd want to talk and I'd give them solutions — like a typi- cal male response, instead of just listening like I used to. So that translated into my working be- haviour as well. And I think what started happening is I'd speak up more in meetings, I'd say what I thought, and people were listen- ing," he said. "I was now two years, almost three years into the job, so I did have experience now and I was commanding more respect… I ended up getting put on new business pitches, which was an honour at the time, I was getting better assignments, I got promot- ed… It wasn't necessarily my per- ception (that I was getting) better treatment — I just thought I was doing a good job. (But sometimes) other people made assumptions." One of the guys Edwards, who has an upcoming memoir about his experiences, saw his career blossom after he began working as a man — though there were a number of other factors at play such as ten- ure, experience and confidence. It's not uncommon for trans- gender men to begin experienc- ing advantages in the workplace once they complete their transi- tion, according to Kristen Schilt, assistant professor at the Uni- versity of Chicago and author of Just One of the Guys? Transgen- der Men and the Persistence of Gender Inequality, an interview- based study of the experiences of trans men in the workplace. "One of the sort of 'sticking points' about research on why women continue to not do as well as men in the workplace in gen- eral... comes down to attitudes about immeasurable differences," she said. "And with transgender workers who were transition- ing and staying in the same job, I realized I would really be able to look at people who have the same human capital, the same job training, the same personalities, and all they do is change gender." E x p e r i e n c e s d i f f e r e d Chris Edwards UNfAIr > pg. 3

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