WorldPride 2023: Diversity in the workplace
Today marks the start of Pride week, and for the first time in history, Mardi Gras and WorldPride will be joining forces at WorldPride Sydney.
Rarely has there been a more important time for the leaders in our society to amplify the benefits of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) in the workplace. As attention shifts to leaders and their role in providing a welcoming work environment, we decided to take a look at DE&I from a Pride perspective.
Pride is a perfect time to be looking at DE&I, commemorating the 1969 Stonewall uprising and the ongoing grassroots movement that followed in search of equal treatment for the LGBTQI+ community. More and more, broader society shares in this enthusiasm to drive up DE&I in our country. Now is truly the time to celebrate the diversity within our organisations and try to do better so that we can be better.
This year’s WorldPride has taken measures to consciously include representatives from First Nations communities in the organisation of Pride celebrations. This gaze has been amplified further through the WorldPride goal to represent the whole Asia-Pacific region this year rather than setting its focus solely on Australia.
Yet, in broader Australia, the reality is that we are still in a formative stage.
As a society, we still face many ongoing challenges. For example, a recent study conducted at Monash University revealed that, although sensitivity training was being undertaken by sporting clubs, homophobic language remained prevalent amongst players because it was not continually being called out by coaches when it happened. In a previous, separate study conducted by the Annual Review of Psychology, sensitivity training or diversity seminars were also found to be largely ineffective when delivered in a sample of workplaces.
Even though we have come leaps and bounds in regards to raising awareness on issues regarding diversity, tokenistic initiatives are actually signifiers (and enforcers) of a non-inclusive culture. It’s a sign that an organisation might be developing awareness of its internal issues, but is having trouble embedding the long-term commitment required to ensure that they are resolved.
While it may be true that our workplaces have a long way to go, there’s great benefit to facing up to this reality.
There is data to suggest that many organisations would fail a DE&I audit if they undertook one – or, at least be less than satisfied with their current state. Perhaps it is because of this that diversity initiatives struggle to break the surface and create lasting change.
The leaders who choose to face this challenge with a warts-and-all view of their DE&I status demonstrate the courage and pioneer spirit needed to achieve progress. We need business leaders who are willing to take a deep dive, declare their shortcomings, publicly announce their intentions to change, and hold themselves accountable – both when the eyes of the world are on us for WorldPride, and when their attention shifts elsewhere. It’s this kind of leadership that will truly create change for good in this area.
We should consider the opportunities we have to bring our intentions and aspirations to reality during 2023 WorldPride.
Creating and maintaining support structures for the queer people in our organisations takes commitment, but it doesn’t have to be hard, here are some simple steps you can take to increase your workplace’s queer inclusivity:
- Create a space for listening and education. Encourage everyone to read about the history of Pride and the communities (especially people of colour) that have been leaders.
- Think of how your organisation can support LGBTQ+ colleagues on an institutional level. Examples from some companies include training on how to support someone who wants to come out at work, or offering gender affirmation leave for someone who is transitioning.
- Using inclusive language. Gender-neutral language, such as not assuming someone has a “boyfriend” or a “girlfriend” but instead a “partner”, is often welcomed.
- Encourage people to share pronouns if they would like. Ideally, attach your pronouns to your email signature without an explicit push for others to follow suit; some are more comfortable to share their gender identity than others.
Here at Interchange, we want to be the bridge that helps you close your diversity & inclusion gap once and for all. Fill out our contact form with any questions you may have, and a member of our team will get back to you soon.