Many organisations are doing a lot to make their workplaces more inclusive for people with children. But how can workplaces have inclusion for people who are childless not by choice (CNBC)?
Being unable to have children for whatever reason can lead to incredible pain and grief, as well as a sense of not fitting in to a world where becoming a parent is expected. Whats more, people who are CNBC can feel socially isolated and find it hard to talk on the subject as there is a lot of shame, guilt and stigma associated with it.
In Australia, about 20% of people will not end up having their own children. One in six couples who are trying to conceive will have fertility struggles. Being CNBC is estimated to affect 1.4 billion people worldwide.
At our Gender Equality Network event, we discovered how organisations can acknowledge CNBC as a workplace inclusion issue.
Sarah Roberts, Founder of The Empty Cradle, a group that supports women who have lost the opportunity for motherhood, outlined the workplace experiences of people who are CNBC. This was followed by a panel of people with lived experience who explored:
- How workplaces can provide support
- Triggers for grief and trauma
- How to include CNBC voices in D&I planning
- Practical steps organisations can take to be more inclusive.
Our panel included:
- Michael Hughes, National Structural Auditor at Boral, and Co-presenter of The FullStop Podcast, a CNBC podcast,
- Judy Graham, Founder of WomenHood Counselling,
- Liz Campbell, Redefining My Plan A, and
- Sarah Roberts, Founder of The Empty Cradle.
- ‘This was a really interesting topic and I have not seen anything like this before. Thank you for bringing these issues to light in a sensitive and engaging way. I find myself somewhere between ‘childfree’ and CNBC and it was enlightening to hear others experiences in this space.’ Danielle, event attendee
- ‘I found the topic very interesting and thought-provoking. I am a manager and I am always striving to be as inclusive as possible but I hadn’t considered the inclusiveness of CNBC people.’ Anon, event participant
- ‘Thank you very much for hosting this event, the speakers were wonderful and shared very personal and sad stories with the audience, thank you to the speakers for being brave and sharing as it’s not always an easy task, particularly Sarah and Michael’ Anon, event participant
- ‘I thought it was a really great and informative event. It got me thinking about issues and demographics for inclusion that I hadn’t thought about before.’ Anon, event participant
- ‘I just wanted to thank the DCA for hosting the childless not by choice webinar last week. It was an inspiring event, but then again, all your events are! Its a topic close to my heart so appreciate you acknowledging and bringing awareness to it.’ Samantha, event participant
- Thank you for this excellent webinar and well done for DCA for being on the forefront. Its the first time I’ve ever heard this topic discussed and I have been working in diversity and inclusion in workplaces for many years. I related to so much that was discussed but hadn’t ever considered that I had any right to feel anything other than excluded and less than because I didn’t have kids, and that I just had to deal with these feelings and consequences silent and alone. Meredith, event participant
- ‘Thank you so much for this session. I genuinely appreciate you talking about this topic, and taking steps towards greater inclusion. This was exceptionally well run and so helpful and empathetic.’ Vanessa, event participant