It’s important to always keep learning, and as a result of listening to many Muslim women talking about Ramadan and fasting, I’ve edited number 20 on my #22WaysToBeConsciouslyInclusiveIn2022. Originally focussing on avoiding organising business events and meetings involving food during Ramadan I’ve realised that that suggestion came from my own feelings about fasting and didn’t take into account the much wider context in which fasting happens during Ramadan, or consider the needs of other faiths. So number 20 now becomes:
“𝗟𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗻 𝗮𝗯𝗼𝘂𝘁 𝗱𝗶𝗳𝗳𝗲𝗿𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗳𝗮𝗶𝘁𝗵𝘀, 𝗶𝗻𝗰𝗹𝘂𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘄𝗵𝗲𝗻 𝗺𝗮𝗷𝗼𝗿 𝗳𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗮𝗹𝘀 𝗵𝗮𝗽𝗽𝗲𝗻 𝗱𝘂𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘆𝗲𝗮𝗿 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝗺𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 𝗺𝗲𝗮𝗻 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗲𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗼𝘆𝗲𝗲𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗳𝗮𝗶𝘁𝗵”
Two examples I came across when I was working in an organisation:
Islam – Ramadan is a time of fasting between sunrise and sunset (though there are exemptions for certain groups of people including women who are menstruating, so if someone you know to be a practicing Muslim isn’t fasting, that is their personal decision and not something we should ask them to explain). Most of the articles I have read have said that the biggest challenge is the dip in energy that comes during the fasting day – but this is different for every individual. There may be things that you can do around timing of meetings and events, but knowing your team as individuals is important here (number 19 on the #22Ways list).
Judaism – As with most religious faiths, there is a great variation in how different members of the Jewish Community observe the practices of their religion. The one I came across most often was for staff and students who needed to be home before sunset on the Sabbath (Friday). In deepest winter in the UK, sunset comes before 4pm, and if you add on travel time to get home this can necessitate an early end to Fridays. As flexible working has become more possible for many, this has probably made this aspect easier, but not everyone can access flexible working (teaching day at Uni went on until 6 pm for example). Friday being historically the end of the UK “working week” in the UK (though increasingly that’s not the case for many) no-one really wants to be in a lab or a meeting at 6pm on a Friday anyway but for students and staff from the Jewish community, this is far more than a preference and if you have any choice over the timetable it might be good to avoid.
Whilst we are on the subject of Fridays… bear in mind that if 𝗮𝗹𝗹 your social events are on Fridays, you may be excluding some groups of people, possibly on the grounds of religious observance , and possibly for other reasons – people working part-time, weekly commuters etc. I’m not saying you can’t have socials on Fridays – just spreading them around a bit in terms of days helps more people attend something.