By Richa Dwivedi, a Senior Specialist at Synechron, India.
Diversity in a workplace or in a community is not just about Race, Ethnicity, Sexual orientation, and Gender identity. It is much more than that - where national origin, cultural identity, one's primary language, thought process, the background should also be included, considered, and accepted. Inclusion is for all, not just for a group of people from certain minorities or classes. It is about what we can do together, as a whole.
We all talk about inclusion around us, but it should not end there. Diversity and inclusion are the first steps in a very long process of bringing everyone together as equals, without the fear of any bias (conscious or unconscious) and accepting and welcoming people from different walks of life. Science, research, and studies have proven that diversified communities are more adaptive and more likely to recognize the competitive advantage it brings.
So, what can we as individuals and groups do to encourage and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion around us?
We can start by being an ally - someone who is willing to educate themselves, act against comments or jokes that are racist, sexist, or biased, someone who can speak against such behavior publicly to raise that it is wrong and is not acceptable, someone who actively promotes inclusion through their actions and words. It is an intentional, conscious, and continuous effort that is needed to benefit the community. Being an Ally is not WHAT, it is WHO. An allyship experience in one space or with one person is completely different from the other. Every allyship approach needs to be tailored according to the people and experiences around.
Is it easy being an ally?
Yes absolutely! Though it takes commitment, courage, cultural and emotional intelligence, it is very easy to start with little steps.
Being an ally means you:
don't have to be an expert
simply step up and help your friends and peers
lift others up by advocating
form genuine connections
share growth opportunities with others
champion fair treatment
be an active part of the campaigns
recognize inequalities and gaps
be intolerant of racism/bigotry
empathize with underrepresented people’s experiences
seek out and respect different perspectives
walk the talk
be an ambassador
show up for the events
listen, support, self-reflect, and most importantly,
use the power of conversations and promote real dialogues
Allyship is a role that we consciously step into. This role can be very visible or can be behind the scenes. All humans are entitled to dignity and respect. That is the minimum of what we can do for each other. Allyship creates psychological safety for everyone. To be an ally means to be very brave personally and be ready to learn new things and ideas but also be willing to unlearn some things.
Organizations all over the world already know and understand the benefits that Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion bring to the industry, and they are building up actionable strategies, equitable systems, and inclusive policies and practices to be diverse in all areas. Companies are now ready to take bold actions and systematic approaches to inform, educate and strengthen their leaders' mindset towards creating a more inclusive workplace.