Diversity and inclusion. D&I.
What if we put the I first? Imagine what might change?
This week I’m thinking (again) about Board diversity.
The lack of diversity and the need for diversity on Boards of Directors is something we have been hearing about for years. Last week I was at an Allies in Tech event and we spoke about this very thing – plus the barriers in the process of becoming an eligible Director as well as who has made up those rules. These are all good food for thought in the face of a real imbalance (and in many cases lack) of representation.
Numbers don’t lie
This article presented by the World Economic Forum, includes some 2018 statistics about Board diversity. They will make you cry. Gender diversity is looking better – at 38%, but other diverse representation (in this case, only cultural) is still looking grim. If we had stats for people with disabilities and LGBTQ folks, or people for whom English is not their first language, or different religions, I’m sure they would be equally depressing.
What’s hopeful, is there seems to be some clout behind the push for diversity…at least in consequences to Boards. If we can’t convince people of the benefits, then maybe applying consequences to lack of diversity will help?
What about inclusion?
But here’s the thing that continues to frustrate me:
If we have more diversity but no inclusion, what difference does it make to the Board?
How do new ideas, creativity, and innovation get through if we are focused on who is there but not on how it feels to be sitting around that table, whether people can speak up, whether they are heard, whether what they have to say matters…?
Let’s start a conversation about inclusion on Boards of Directors.
So that the diversity makes a difference, and so that “diverse candidates” stay, and continue to make that difference.