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Social Awareness: More Than A Trend

By Aury Cifuentes

February 8, 2018

From the boardroom to the classroom, an echo of changing times can no longer be ignored. Statements about harassment, diversity, and the ties between the politics of all are not always easy to understand. While it might not be easy to trace a story back to its earliest instance or beginnings cultural awareness is now more than a brand builder. Companies like Uber, Google, and Microsoft are making strides in their company policy and hiring decisions in the hopes of alleviating some of the strife these allegations have caused their bottom line. Yet justice for the victims is often indirect and forward looking while forgetting the present. 

Education is certainly a huge step forward as prior practices were not proactive enough to change the behavior instead favoring keeping taboo topics under wraps. These instances are now useful case studies for MBA programs as highlighted in a recent NYT article “Business Schools Now Teaching #MeToo, N.F.L. Protests and Trump.” Yet any individual involved in business whether as consumer, shareholder, or employee should feel some type of accountability on an issue that can impact them directly. 

As an undergraduate, these difficult conversations were a regular part of my philosophy and feminism courses but they can extend beyond the typical humanities classes (professor and student permitting.) Depending on whether your school follows technical or liberal arts curriculum can affect the access to learning about the concepts and subsequently your awareness level. Yet with the invention of the World Wide Web, (barring from changes in net neutrality) a formal education on how to cater your emotional intelligence and experience a new level of “woke” are not impossible. Patriarchal concepts tie closely to sexual harassment claims or political debates about birth control. While discussions of equality transcend beyond affirmative action and discrimination. For those inching toward graduation or looking to land an internship or job with a notable company, becoming familiar with their stance on the issues presented above can serve as a useful metric of the workplace culture extending beyond the formal interview.

Overall, this article is not trying to champion one issue over the other but raise awareness to the importance of these issues as part of a greater cultural movement that will change the antiquated way of doing business in the future. Technology has only accelerated this process and could change our original methods of communication in the next 10 years completely. As a final point, no single person can be an expert in every socially charged topic but there is a bare minimum of respect and empathy that should be extended to every individual in business and beyond. So kudos to anyone already becoming well aware of their own power and privilege who is willing to use their voice for the greater good of those who might not be regarded in the same respect because of institutional barriers and social constructs.

Aury Cifuentes is a very bubbly senior at The College of New Jersey. As an Economics major with a concentration in Social Justice she is happily working on a capstone project, internship, and thesis this year. When she isn’t studying, Aury is actively participating in the community through the Bonner Service program and working closely with her E-Board as president of Women in Business this year.

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