Diversity + inclusion initiatives: what exactly are we trying to achieve?

16 Feb 2018

As someone who has been to + organised countless events + committee meetings that have a variety of motivations + aims, the following is my take on where we are at + where I think we should be.

 

1. Most initiatives focus on gender or sexuality.

What about race, religion or social class? As a woman who is instantly judged as different due to the colour of my skin (which tells you my ancestors were not British) + my name (which tells you I am a muslim), the discussion on gender alone is not deep enough for me.

 

2. What is the actual goal of your initiative?

Is it equality of opportunity, diversity of thought, inspiration, expression? Is your goal short- or long-term? I feel as though the people who truly care about this cause get lost in all the hype + lose focus.

 

3. Work towards your goal + never lose sight of it

If you want to create a forum for expression and inspiration, organising events is a great way to do so. If you want to make a difference on an institutional level, join the right committee or get in touch with the right person + make your voice heard. If you want to create change on a societal level, which I believe is the ultimate goal, there is a lot that can be done + here are some ideas:

  • Research, interview + write about trailblazers or great people in your field who deserve more recognition than they get. You can publish your work as a blog post, a newspaper or magazine article, or even create a Wikipedia page for the person.

  • Contact schools + organise visits. Young minds are the future + they need to be aware that certain opportunities exist + that there are people willing to help them get there.

  • Use the power of social media. Ensure that whatever you do, you tweet about it. To reach a younger audience, use Instagram.

My advice for anyone wanting to make a difference in their organisation is to ask the awkward questions. Just as those in business seek to disrupt norms in order to drive innovation, you have to be willing to think outside of the box to make a difference. Follow through with action; talking is not enough. Remember that the power is in your hands + be confident in your beliefs + ambitions.

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