Social inequality is at the forefront of the conversation. There are many ways that inequality has existed in the past and continues to exist today. So many groups seek fairness including the LBGTQ+ community, Black lives matter, and the me too movement.
Today, women are on my mind. I have been thinking a lot about how the current pandemic has been affecting women globally and locally. There has been a rise in domestic abuse cases and the workload of mothers has doubled since many schools have shifted to online learning. Women make up 39% of global employment but account for 54% of overall job losses.
I recently read multiple articles with studies warning that COVID-19 ‘risks reversing decades of progress concerning gender equality in the workforce.’ That is an unacceptable outcome. It immediately got my brain thinking… What can we do to stop this regression? How can we become inclusive connectors in all that we do?
Most organizations and individuals are navigating the waters of being intentionally inclusive, but they’re often unsure of how to achieve that objective. If that’s you and you came here for answers… You’re in luck. Read on for ways to be an inclusive connector.
- Keep our eyes open for signs of inequalities.
The first step is actually recognizing there is an issue. It’s hard for many to recognize this as it often involves admitting you’re wrong. This pertains to all inequalities. It’s important to stand up for the values we know are right. In order to advance as a country, we need to hold each other accountable and speak out when we see injustice occurring.
- Invest in people.
Whether women, people of color, or those that are underrepresented, invest wherever you are. I am of course a fan of equality on the platform. Do conferences (live or virtual), have a diverse set of speakers and viewpoints? You must diversify your connections beyond those who fit the similar-to-me category. Create a space where people can show up and share their experiences and authentic selves without fear.
- Attend and embrace your inner unicorn.
Not only should we provide opportunities for others to learn, we too should attend conferences to expand our thinking. We can support women-led conferences and help spread the word about future engagements and we can support female-owned and operated businesses. You should also embrace your own uniqueness and what you bring to the table. YOU might be the minority at the conference you are attending. In other words, you might be the elusive unicorn — unique to the situation and look or act differently than the stereotypical attendee.
- Don’t call out the differences, call out the similarities.
You need to broaden your scope of relationships. We all have our relationship comfort zone that is all too convenient to stay complacent in (i.e., Law of Similarity) When someone has to compartmentalize their identity or squelch it to make you comfortable, there is an issue. Many of us have a predisposition to call out the differences. All that does is exclude, isolate, and cause relationship rifts. Call out the similarities instead. This allows the individual who is different to feel more included. Another helpful tip is this:
Is the difference something the person chose or is it part of who they are?
If they chose it, there is a much higher chance they will welcome the conversation.
- Have a host mindset.
There are moments in all of our lives where we don’t feel like we belong. To be inclusive, adopt a host mindset. Differentiate between inviting someone and welcoming someone. Don’t assume anything and operate without involving factors such as gender, age, and race. Make it inclusive of everyone. The host mindset is about reaching out to those who might not feel included or look like they’re on the outskirts. This might look like making eye contact with people who have yet to contribute to the conversation. Watch your body language and proximity to the lone wolves. The more inviting you appear, the more likely they are to join the pack.
These are just some of the stepping stones. I highly encourage you to keep researching this prevalent issue and prioritize working to create a world where we call out similarities, embrace our differences, and achieve equality for all.