Diversity, The Fabric of Modern Society

 

In the complex and interconnected world in which diversity forms the fabric of modern society, with our communities having been shaped by globalisation, technology advancement, growing economies, migration, and cultural evolution, we believe that social inclusion is a non-negotiable and that we must encourage and support the empowerment of the diverse people our communities are made of.

Partially in response to current world events and also as a lead up to the Ethical Enterprise Conference for 2020 of which diversity is highlighted, we chose to focus on Diversity as a theme for this month’s networking event. This is always of great importance to be recognised and developed, and while we know that one networking event is not all it takes we know that powerful conversations can spark powerful action, and we are committed to doing our bit in caring for our communities, people and planet.

As Australia is continually evolving and becoming an ever-diversifying country, we’ve become aware of the need to respond to this in a way that is inclusive and supportive of all peoples of all abilities and backgrounds. Social inclusion requires that all people have the best opportunities to thrive in their personal lives and society, including being supported through personal crises and having opportunities for their voices to be heard. Communities practising social inclusion are able to evolve as a whole with no one being unjustly left out or behind.

We invited experts and scholars from various industries and backgrounds to have an open conversation about diversity and social inclusion, what it means to them and how they have been able to integrate both themselves and the notion of social inclusion into their fields of work and lives in general. With the opportunity to hear first hand from people of diverse backgrounds, who are also focused on creating space for others of diverse backgrounds and abilities to have equal opportunities and experiences, we knew this conversation was going to be a passionate and insightful one. Speakers Ben Vasilio CEO of Youth Projects, Biheng Zhang, Director of Philanthropy – Pollinate Group, Luz Restrepo, Founder of Sisterworks and Dr. Natalya Turkina Vice Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow at RMIT, Graduate School of Business and Law shared their own journey’s and their insights around how we can all be a part of creating social inclusion and why it benefits communities to do so. In this blog post, we share the main themes and points made by both speakers and guests of the event, as they were all so valuable to us all. As there are just some of the main points and by no means all that there is, we encourage you to continue your research into this topic and to ask the question of what you can do to enhance social inclusion in your communities, places of work and beyond.

So what is Diversity and Social Inclusion?

Diversity, in a nutshell, is about empowering people by respecting and appreciating their individuality and celebrating what makes them different, in many ways and forms.

Social Inclusion is a conscious effort to encourage bringing groups or individuals of different backgrounds together and ensuring that they are culturally and socially accepted, while also treated equally. It forms a sense of belonging and promotes respect and value among everyone in the community.

What can we do to enhance social inclusion and overcome the obstacles to equality in our communities?

  • Actively educate yourself and or seek out education on marginalised groups in your community/country/workplace. Biheng Zhang of Pollinate group shared an example of noticing a lack of female employees within certain positions, from sales to truck driving, and actively sought to understand why this was and how to move beyond the obstacle of ideas that women can’t do certain jobs.
  • Tap into your own agency. Dr. Natalya Turkina made the point that we all have our own agency, we don’t need to wait for others permission, in many cases, there is something we can do. From educating ourselves, to challenging stereotypes and a lack of diversity in the workplace and or community, there is a myriad of ways for us to utilise our own privilege.
  • Don’t be afraid to use your voice and stand up for what you believe in. Ben Vasilio reminded us that all the changes that have come before us required people uniting and standing up collectively to rally change. From sharing your knowledge with others to peaceful protests, we can’t afford to shy away and remain in our comfort zones. We all know change doesn’t happen there.
  • Connect with the champions in existing structures – it’s time for us to make use of those who are already championing diversity and social inclusion. Networking, connecting and banding together is going to help raise awareness and help the message to echo out into our communities and workspaces. Those who have platforms and a voice are able to influence change in a positive way and if they aren’t already sharing these messages through said platforms, it’s time for us to approach them and explain why this is of value for everyone and how they could be a part of the change. United we stand, divided we fall.
  • “Find our own voice and power to lead ourselves to further lead change.” One of our wonderful hosts, Pavit Ramesh, shared this great piece at the close of the event. We need to consistently work to be the change we wish to see in the world. In working on ourselves and embodying the value of diversity and social inclusion we inadvertently will encourage others to develop their own journey, ask questions and also feel comfortable to step into our diverse and inclusive spaces.

If you’d like to hear the conversation, a recording of this event will be available on our YouTube channel in July, so stay tuned for that! In the meantime, our past events Regenerate and Women Power are now available for your viewing! Head over here to check those out!

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