‘INCLUSIVE COMMUNICATION AND EQUITY’
WITH CARMEN MORALES, PROFESSOR OF ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOUR AND HR AT IE
Powered by IE Women in collaboration with the IE Center for Diversity, IE Faculty and IE Talent & Development.
There are different perspectives from which this topic could be addressed and all are equally valid: the legal and civil rights perspective, the economic policy, the socio-demographic perspective, and the corporate perspective e.g. regarding the presence of women on boards of directors. In this regard, the question that arises is whether the origin of the progress are governments putting in place regulatory mechanisms so that changes take place in the corporate environment, or rather organizations, that manage talent sensitive to demographic and social changes.
We are living difficult and convulsive times in which the term “new normal” has been coined. Unquestionably, our societies are changing and becoming more diverse. Recent data shows that for instance “one in ten persons living today in the OECD is foreign-born; among youth, more than one in five has immigrated or is native-born with immigrant parents. These shares have been rising virtually everywhere.” 1 In Europe, the influx of refugees over the past years has contributed to increased awareness about cultural diversity. Generally, the concept of diversity has expanded as awareness is growing about differences within our societies. Although an old topic, social diversity and inequality has been debated more hotly in the wake of the financial crisis and the following austerity policies, and it is related to a number of global trends from globalization to changing labor markets, which have in some cases increased inequality in Europe. Moreover, the last decade has seen an increase in awareness and recognition of sexual and gender diversity, visible in -among other things- increased legal recognition and anti-discrimination laws.
In order for our societies to benefit from this diversity, social inclusion is not only an important matter of justice, but also a means to ensure social cohesion and long-term prosperity.
While inclusion needs to start at an early age and educational level, a number of universities have taken action to be more open and inclusive, and to find new ways to enable people from traditionally less represented backgrounds to participate.
The IE University is committed to creating an inclusive, welcoming, and equitable learning environment for every member of our academic community. IE promotes diversity to ensure a unique experience, enriched by the contributions of students, faculty, staff, and alumni, from over 160 countries that nurture an environment rich in diverse visions and ideas. Freedom and respect for diversity of thought, experience, perspective, culture, and background are intrinsic to our identity.
For communication to be effective, it needs to appropriately address all audiences for which it is intended. Inclusive language acknowledges diversity, conveys respect to all people, is sensitive to differences, and promotes equitable opportunities.
Equity and equality are two basic strategies we can use in an effort to produce fairness. Equity is giving everyone what they need to be successful. Equality is treating everyone the same. Equality aims to promote fairness, but it can only work if everyone starts from the same place and needs the same help.
In education, the term equity refers to the principle of fairness. While it is often used interchangeably with the related principle of equality, equity encompasses a wide variety of educational models, programs, and strategies that may be considered fair, but not necessarily equal.
Given the key role of language in shaping cultural and social attitudes, and in creating the reality it describes, this conversation proposes to raise awareness of the importance of using gender-inclusive language to promote gender equality and eradicate gender bias.
The language we use when speaking and writing matters. Language and words are very powerful: words can hurt or heal, discourage or inspire, destroy or build, alienate or bond, and once said, can never be changed or taken back, so it is our responsibility to choose and use them wisely. The goal is to raise awareness to using empowering and respectful language, free from words, phrases, or tones that demean, insult, or exclude people based on their membership within a certain group, or because of a particular attribute.
But we also know that language is fluid. The meaning and connotations of words can change very fast, consequently, it is essential to be aware of its importance and apply inclusive language principles.
1 Universities’ Strategies and Approaches towards Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. European University Association, May 2018.