It’s International Women’s Day on Thursday, March 8, which serves as a celebration of all the great achievements of many women across the world in a host of industries, walks of life and disciplines. The day also serves as a reminder of the work that still needs to be done to ensure that people from all backgrounds, genders and race are included in every workplace, and in every day life, equally.
Almost all of us want to create a culture of diversity and inclusion but what steps can be taken by everyone to make this happen? There’s no simple answer to this and to fully ensure there is diversity and inclusion, action must be taken by employers. But with all that said, there are things we can all do inside and outside the workplace to create a successful culture of diversity and inclusion.
Use your voice
The greatest factor standing in the way of a culture of diversity and inclusion is attitudes towards the topic. Your voice is the greatest tool you have to change these attitudes.
When you find yourself in a situation in which you believe someone is not being considerate of another person’s feelings, background or gender, then confront them. This doesn’t mean you need to be aggressive; in fact, to help everyone reach the point of a culture of diversity and inclusion, your approach needs to be quite the opposite.
Attitudes can’t be changed overnight, so to help those you confront, you need to help them see that their approach is not inclusive. Focus on the feelings of the individual who was offended and how the perpetrator sparked these feelings. It’s important to not make them feel embarrassed. Instead you want to help them realize the way they should be speaking to people.
It’s great to be passionate about changing attitudes but you also need to be patient. As the influential and inspiring civil rights leader and author Maya Angelou once said, “Seek patience and passion in equal amounts. Patience alone will not build the temple. Passion alone will destroy its walls.”
Attend Diversity Events
Another way we can all work towards a culture of diversity and inclusion is by attending and encouraging colleagues and friends to attend events relating to diversity and inclusion.
There are a whole host of great events across Vancouver and beyond just like this one. Organizations such as S.U.C.C.E.S.S, AMSSA, the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion and lots more host many events to raise awareness.
Taking friends and colleagues to these events really helps to spread a message of diversity and inclusion within different networks of people and in turn helps us all to take a big step towards a culture of diversity and inclusion.
The best way you can equip yourself with the tools to create a culture of diversity and inclusion is by educating yourself.
By learning about other cultures and ways of life, not only do you understand how to interact with people from different backgrounds and genders but you can now help to implement ideas to create a new culture of diversity and inclusion.
You also then give yourself tools to educate others. By knowing about diversity and inclusion, it’s much easier to speak to people about their actions and to change their attitude.
Be a Driver for Change
One of the most effective ways in creating a culture of diversity and inclusion is to make it happen.
We can all be drivers of change by speaking up and acting to create a culture that welcomes everyone. Being active in the pursuit of this culture means calling for new policies or laws that are inclusive. It can also be as simple as signing petitions or emailing people in positions of power to encourage more people into action.
If everyone acts, even in small ways, there will be a huge change in culture leading to inclusion for everyone no matter their gender, background or walk of life.