Culture ambassadors Shelcy & Christy Joseph share three important ways you (yeah you!) can be an ally to the inclusion movement.
Diversity and inclusion have, in recent years, been part of mainstream cultural conversations. As more brands commit to representing all groups in their marketing campaigns and hiring more diverse team members, the importance of diversity and inclusion has never been more clear.
It doesn’t only make moral sense, but when implemented, it also drives the bottom line of businesses. According to a McKinsey report, companies with the most ethnically/culturally diverse boards are 43 percent more likely to deliver high profits. The study suggests that these companies attract and retain talent more easily and tend to have stronger customer service and decision-making capabilities. Case in point, one of the things that has made Fenty Beauty successful, is how diverse their products are. For the first time ever, darker shades of foundations were introduced, which was widely embraced by the niche markets. It’s no wonder Fenty is now among the top players of the beauty industry.
Despite the increased awareness, numbers are still lagging behind. Just look at the diversity reports of leading tech companies to understand, and if you’re wondering, this pattern is consistent across industries—including fashion.
While raising awareness is part of the solution, more can be done to make sure that companies, marketing or advertising campaigns reflect our ever-changing population. Diversity should be a part of every brand’s DNA. As a media consumer who cares about creating a more diverse world, you can absolutely move the needle. You may feel powerless when thinking about the macro systemic issues at play, but your efforts can make a difference in both the short and long run.
These ideas will get you started, and the best part is, they don’t require you to be an executive at a company or major business owner to foster diversity in your everyday life:
Call out instances of exclusion
Social media is now a powerful tool in combating social issues. As our generation is increasingly more engaged in activism, we use it as a platform to speak out against injustices and spread our message. That’s how a variety of brands (many of them prominent retailers) have been flagged for marketing campaigns or products perceived as racist and non-inclusive. Consumers not only called them out under their photos, but they also threatened to stop buying from them and let their followers in on what was going on. Media outlets quickly picked up on them, giving the story an even bigger platform. Eventually, these companies pulled their marketing assets and issued an apology. And it all happened because of social media.
The same way these consumers took action, you can denounce these biased behaviors when they manifest through ads on your feed—or in real life (i.e. at events).
Doing your part at work
On social as in real life (at work or other social settings), continue to call out instances of lack of representation. You may not be a Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at a leading tech company, but you can contribute to diversifying the talent pool your company taps into for recruitment. Are you in a position where you can help hire someone? Refer your talented friends who would bring different perspectives to the table. Give access, whenever you have the opportunity, to people who wouldn’t traditionally be considered for certain gigs. As the saying goes, share the plugs.
Invest in minority-owned businesses
They may be few and far between, but minority-owned businesses exist and need your support to be part of the mainstream conversation. Increasing representation also starts with supporting those you would like to see stories written about. When you purchase from them, you get more than whatever you buy. You’ll have contributed to their longevity and increased their chances of being seen (as you’ll likely be wearing or using their products in public). Even if you can’t afford to buy, you can post about them on social and let other people know about them. If you’re a blogger, you can partner with them and give them publicity on your platform.
It’s not enough to wish for diversity and inclusion. You have to practice it in your daily life. Surround yourself with different perspectives. Learn from people from all walks of life. Support or promote the people you would like to see represented. Call out biased behaviors. It’s time to get uncomfortable.
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