The question posed by HR Magazine was: Are anti-woke companies on the rise? Over the past two years, many social causes have compelled businesses to make political statements. But not everyone has been supportive. In May, US entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy launched a $20 million anti-woke investment fund to back companies who shy away from taking ideological stands. Could this indicate a move away from organisations taking a stand against societal issues?
Angela’s response: If this move is a reframing of respecting people’s differences and being more flexible to accommodate individual needs, describing it as anti-woke is a worrying trend. However wildly misplaced the notion is, there is a deeper meaning to woke that should be considered. If woke is used to imply that we make statements at a surface level that enable us to feel good and punish those who don’t comply, then inevitable push back comes more from frustration with disingenuous organisations making grand statements, targeting individual employees, but not addressing structural deficits. A great example of this would be stating that you support a woman’s right to choose – but not covering this in your healthcare policies. Employees don’t want woke statements – they want their basic rights protected, no matter who they are. It isn’t possible, as an organisation, to be politically neutral – each action taken, contract signed, product developed has political implications. Just ask any organisation with operations in Russia or Ukraine right now.