Inclusivity, Diversity and Accessibility are not just buzzwords but they are essential in how business, society and we all feel involved but what do they actually mean in real terms and how can we create a more inclusive, diverse and accessible world?
In simple terms, we live in a diverse world but not everyone is or feels equally represented, included and is given the access to opportunities.
There has rightly been a focus on ensuring more workplaces and spaces have a diverse range of people working for the organisation, especially those from underrepresented communities because a diverse workforce makes a better workforce.
But not only that a more equal society makes a happier society -and all of this is proven.
Diversity is defined as ‘the fact of many different types of things or people being included in something; a range of different things or people.’
Inclusivity is defined as ‘the fact of including all types of people, things or ideas and treating them all fairly and equally.’
Exclusivity however is’ the right to have or do something that is limited to only one person or organization.’
Accessibility is defined as ‘the fact of being able to be reached or obtained easily.’
How do these all fit together?
Diverse teams layered with inclusive workplaces contribute to successful companies and spaces, explained Jennifer Marsden-Lambert in a Digitally Active project session for CoActive Arts Charity.
CoActive’s tagline is a ‘place to belong’ which for me sums up what inclusivity is.
This was echoed in a Channel 4 online training I attended by Jasmine Dotiwala, in which she said: “If staff feel like they belong, then it’s a healthy place.”
She advised you to look through the lens of organisations through this.
“Teams should feel reflected, respected and diverse teams matter because they add an extra layer to it.”
Jasmine said that many people ask her ‘how can we move the needle on our diversity gap?’
She replies: “Don’t ask that – ask your team not ‘the experts’ – ask your team if they feel like they belong?”
Pick up themes and topics of main content that people talk about – and explore issues around it.
“To build your audience and create a trusted community, you’ve got to listen to them, make them feel involved.”
Change might look differently in all your companies. But remember Black, Asian and disabled staff feel more vulnerable than others.
Such ‘marginalised communities ‘who we call experts by lived experience’ tend to suffer from a higher rate of mental health problems due to a range of factors including inaccessibility to healthcare and feeling excluded.
By Sophie Mei Lan @SophieMeiLan