Diversity gets in most conversations referring to gender (women and men) and race. And, in most cases the other facets of Diversity are not included, such as culture, the broader aspect that gender encompasses (LGBTQ+), beliefs, etc.
My position has always been that the way that "Diversity" is presented in every conversation is a misconception and limitation of Diversity means and what we really are as human beings.
Each of us are all diverse by nature. We are individuals, there is no one else like us, and what differentiates us from others, what makes us different is our authentic and diverse nature.
Therefore, Diversity as it is presented in most conversations, is quite limited and inaccurate, we need to expand it, amplify its meaning.
Taking out Diversity from the conversation, we are left with Inclusion. However, in the past few years, we have also realised that inclusion won't happen if we don't add Belonging to the equation.
But, what is belonging? What does it entail?
As per Carin Taylor, the chief diversity officer at Workday (a leader in enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resources) to achieve Belonging you need to have PEACE.
Psychological Safety - Empathy - Acceptance - Connection - Embraced
(You can watch Carie's TEDx Talk on the subject here)
Where to build Psychological Safety we need to build trust, a safe environment and embrace curiosity by being curious about our differences.
Then we need Empathy, we need to genuinely care about others and exercise compassion. By being less judgemental and practising active listening. Listen to understand, not to respond.
We also need to exercise Acceptance, of our authentic self, and others' differences.
By developing those we are then open to build strong and genuine Connections. We are social animals and we can't survive without others.
Finally, we have to Embrace all those qualities through our values, showing respect and appreciation to all.
But it doesn't stop here. Another expert in the field of neuroscience, life-work balance and fulfilment, Paloma Medina, challenges our paradigm of diversity in the workplace and in society, by replacing Diversity by Equity.
Paloma argues that our old limbic brain does not like Diversity as it is presented in the conversations. Because our old limbic brain is still wired to equate outsiders with a threat to our own survival, therefore, even if we are consciously saying that we support diversity, that we want diversity in our workplace, our limbic brain is saying, "no please, no"...
And she continues arguing that, "is Equity that our brain is wired to care about. Because Equity means that we are all treated fairly".
It is an interesting point of view which she backs up with studies and concrete data.
Considering that the theme for the International Women's Day this year is Embrace Equity (#Embrace#Equity), I suggest you watch Paloma's TEDx Talk - Let's stop talking about diversity and start working towards equity - to get to know more about her view on the subject and get inspired to bring this conversation to your workplace but also to all spaces you find fit and necessary.
To me, both Belonging and Equity are crucial to implement if we are seriously willing to build workplaces, communities, a world which is fair, diverse, inclusive and worth living in.
I suggest you take the International Women's Day to refer back to all your achievements throughout the past years and to celebrate yourself and your fellow women around the world. We tend to forget our achievements, or even not give them the importance they deserve, the importance we deserve. So, celebrate and let's work towards building a fairer world for all.