We all have heard of countless diversity initiatives such as women holding seats on company boards, joining the talent pool, pursuing careers in STEM fields, and addressing the pay gap parities. While all these are great starting points to empower women, the truth is that diversity on its own doesn’t solve the problem as it is important to highlight that diversity and inclusivity are not the same. Simply put, diversity provides women a seat at the table while inclusivity is about being heard.
So, what is inclusivity? Why does it matter? And what are its benefits to it in spaces where women are under-represented such as the tech-space?
By inclusivity, we mean creating workspaces where women feel included rather than just a number to fulfill company’s diversity programs. It is about creating a strong sense of belonging and building an engaging work culture. It is a practice that requires consistency to achieve the greater goal of the organization, as it impacts the company’s brand, corporate purpose, and performance.
Some of the benefits of inclusivity, but not limited to, are listed below:
- Benefitting from different perspectives when thoughts and opinions are voiced openly that helps fuel creativity and innovation within the organization and spotting new opportunities.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai once mentioned “A diverse mix of voices leads to better discussions, decisions and outcomes for everyone.”
- Enhancing collaboration through embracing female–leadership styles. Studies have shown that in groups where there were more women, they were better at taking turns during conversations. Hence, enabling sharing of knowledge and skills while including everyone.
In a recent research done by Harvard Business Review women were rated as more effective leaders before and during the crisis (2020 pandemic).
- Gender diversity and inclusion has shown, many times again, that it helps improve company’s profitability.
A study done by Mckinsey has shown that most gender-diverse and inclusive companies are 21% more likely to witness greater profitability.
Gender inclusivity goes beyond checking the diversity box, it requires education and effective listening and communication.