Through her hobby, Elske van Asseldonk, Operations Manager Digital Customer Experience, has learned a lot about the lhbtqia+ community. That has not only enriched her personal life; it also comes in handy in Capgemini’s Rainbow Network. ‘I try to bring everything I learn at the roller derby club with me to Capgemini.’

‘I went to a roller derby match to watch a friend of mine compete, and I thought: wow, that’s cool! I joined the club nine years ago. Roller derby started as an exhibition sport for women. I’m a referee, and I skate too.

To me, the great thing about roller derby is that it’s an empowerment movement. A lot of the players are lhbtqia+, and there’s plenty of opportunities to talk about it. The team really celebrates diversity. Through the sport, I’ve gained awareness and expanded my network with people who don’t fit in a standard box. That’s not only enriched my personal life, but it also comes in handy as a member of Capgemini’s Rainbow Network. I see what people are going through, and I can do something about it as a member of the Gender work group. I seize every opportunity to make colleagues more aware. For example by creating a safe atmosphere, but also by ensuring a diverse composition of my team.’

Taking responsibility

‘As an employer, I think you have a social responsibility to work on diversity and inclusion. Capgemini accepts that responsibility. We still have a way to go, like all companies, but we’re on the right track - even aside from Pride Month. From honoring Ramadan and thinking about paternity leave, to providing gender-neutral bathrooms and gender-inclusive texts. In the Gender work group, we re-wrote texts to appeal to everyone. ‘He/she’ isn’t good writing, and it isn’t inclusive. An easy way to fix it is to use ‘you’. Such a small change can make a big difference.’

Warm heart

‘My dream is for Capgemini to set the tone in the area of diversity and inclusion. And that we can inspire other companies. Because there’s a lot that needs to change. For example: did you know that women are 40 percent more likely to sustain a serious injury in a car accident? That’s because there aren’t any female crash test dummies, so the safety measures in cars are mainly geared towards men. And another thing: the temperature in many offices is set to be comfortable for men. In ICT, you need to be aware of that, and ask yourself if there might be any bias in your model.

In short: there’s a lot to do, but also a lot to be proud of. I think it’s great that I’m encouraged to bring out the best in myself. To do something that suits me. ‘Get the future you want’ isn’t just empty words. Another thing I’m proud of, is the Utrecht Pride parade. This was the second time I was on the boat, and I thought it was amazing. My average pulse was 134, with a peak of 175 – that’s how excited I was. It’s really special to be surrounded by colleagues who feel the same way. Then you know: we’re really in this together.’

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