The conversation about improving diversity in tech is too complex to summarize in a single article. What does it mean to be a diverse company? How will it look when a company or industry has “achieved” diversity? Is it something attainable? Or is the human race so varied that, while we can (and should) strive to improve in this area, there will always be room for further improvement?
Nevertheless, in this article, we want to lay the foundation.
Before measuring and determining if we have achieved it, we must begin. What are the aspects we need to consider to ensure we start on the right path:
Having people talk about diversity and being consistent with their actions are pillars that strengthen the process of Social Normalization, which is the process of incorporating behaviors into the scheme of social norms that were previously not considered part of them. Showing our most authentic selves helps break the stereotypes and social constructs that we all carry with us.
However, social normalization goes beyond proudly embracing diversity; it also requires concrete and deliberate actions to convey it to the world. A great example that we see increasingly often is the inclusion of pronouns in the signatures or social media profiles of cisgender individuals, making it comfortable and open for others to specify the pronouns they identify with.
Targets and goals for diversity are necessary but not sufficient. A welcoming and supportive environment is achieved through a conscious “top-down” culture, starting from the definitions of purpose and values and manifesting in daily behaviors that flow, permeate, and overflow through all walls.
Creating a true inclusive environment means, for us at ATHENAWORKS, making all individuals feel welcome and respected with their individualities during interviews, inside and outside the office, at networking events, and in all types of conversations.
Inclusion should not be a mere checkbox. For it to have real results, it must be developed from the heart of the business. It should be approached with a holistic focus on empathy, review, and action.
Through experience, we know that it may be easier to build a culture than to change it. However, both are necessary. Building in new companies or changing in well-established ones. Those of us who are aware can help build or change, and we have a responsibility to do so. We must spread the importance of diversity. The company will undoubtedly achieve better results, and people will feel better. Diversity is not just a comforting concept or an ethical issue. It is a strategic imperative, and therefore, we must not shy away from it.