Young people across the Americas are brimming with creativity, diversity, and potential. As we move toward a more inclusive hemisphere that embraces the value of marginalized communities, we must also be honest about the history that has prevented marginalized groups from enjoying the full benefits of growing, dynamic economies.
Nurturing diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in our communities fosters belonging, improves livelihoods, and creates the conditions for prosperity and opportunity for all. If you are ready to explore what it takes to realize the vision of building a more inclusive environment, the #YLAI4All Playbook is for you.
Let’s cover the basics of the diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility, and belonging (DEIAB) framework, including defining key terms and providing conversation prompts to help you better understand how to make inclusive decisions in your business.
While this framework may have many advantages in the workplace and community, unless there is a sense of belonging, these efforts will fall short. When people feel they truly belong at work, in community, and in partnerships, they are more connected and engaged.
Let’s take time to define more key terms so you can better understand DEIAB for yourself, your community and your business.
“Intersectionality is a lens through which you can see where power comes and collides, where it interlocks and intersects.” — Kimberlé Crenshaw
A person is not only their gender expression, race, skin color, ethnicity, class, disability or sexuality; people are a combination of these and many other identities. Intersecting identities influence how each of us experiences our world and how we contribute diverse perspectives to our community and workplaces.
Intersectionality is the framework for understanding the interconnected nature of social organizations, overlapping identities and experiences in order to better understand the disadvantages and systems of discrimination individuals face due to the many complex interconnections. Intersectionality is critical when considering and implementing equity.
Taking an intersectional approach to your DEIAB efforts by understanding these identities and building a business or partnership that reflects the diversity of your community or team takes thoughtful planning, inclusive human-centered design and thorough implementation over time.
Some of these identities may be more or less felt in different social contexts, but many of them will consciously or unconsciously have an influence on how you navigate the world and perceive others. Understanding these identities will help you to reflect on your societal privileges and on relationships between groups — in and out of the workplace — and give you better context on how to show up as an ally for marginalized groups.
A marginalized group is a group or community discriminated against and excluded from mainstream social, economic, educational, political and/or cultural life.
Examples of marginalized populations include, but are not limited to, groups excluded due to race, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, class, access to education, physical ability or mental abilities. Marginalization occurs due to unequal power relationships among social groups.
Individuals who identify as a part of marginalized groups often have more barriers to overcome when accessing resources and opportunities than those from more privileged groups. This is to say, every person and every case is different, and the intersection of these identities is also a key factor in access to opportunities. A society or organization that focuses on equity helps to bring people on the margins to an equal playing field.
Everyone has biases, and these biases can affect many of the decisions we make. Our implicit biases build barriers and create inequities. By understanding and disrupting those biases and preventing the creation of new biases, we can make our communities and workplaces a space where all people can be served and feel welcome.
What Is Bias?
Bias is a strong inclination for or against one thing, person or group, compared with another. Biases typically are prejudicial and unfair. There are two types of bias: conscious bias (explicit) and unconscious bias (implicit).
Unconscious biases are typically social stereotypes that individuals form outside their own conscious awareness, and they can come in many forms. A cycle of prejudice and discrimination can result from acting on stereotypes and biases.
Some common forms of bias include similarity bias, affinity bias and conformity bias, but other forms of prejudice based on bias can include age bias, gender bias, ethnicity bias, racial bias and name bias. Biases can affect every aspect of a person’s life, including education and career trajectory. These are particularly evident in hiring practices.
Bias can show up in your business, partnerships and community in many forms. Being aware of your own biases, and educating your network on theirs, will help you to create a more inclusive environment. To better understand the forms of bias and study a case of unconscious bias, complete the #YLAI4All Workbook. We can all work to prevent the creation of new biases, challenge previously held biases, and limit the overall impact of biases.