Chances are, you’ve seen this statement (or some variation) on a job posting or on a company’s careers page before:
“We’re committed to diversity and inclusion.”
But do these words really mean anything significant? Are companies auctioning anything to improve gender equality, diversity and inclusiveness in their workplaces? Or are they just posting some vague, inauthentic statements on their websites for optics?
That’s what Sheila James, an equity and diversity specialist, asked the audience at a recent IABC Ottawa event, The power of influence: A communicator’s role in gender equality, diversity and inclusion. The question was meant to gauge if people in the room genuinely believe that companies are taking action to create diverse workplaces.
Sheila James was joined by Shari Graydon, founder and catalyst at Informed Opinions and Jasmine Qi, of Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization (OCISO) to discuss how communication professionals can influence and advance gender equality, diversity and inclusion efforts both within and outside of their organizations.
The following list is of resources the panel mentioned at the event that you may find helpful if you work in communications, or have any influence on communications or hiring practices, hold a leadership position, or simply want to do more to promote gender equality, diversity and inclusion at your workplace.
Gender Gap Tracker
Shari Graydon spoke about The Gender Gap Tracker: In collaboration with Simon Fraser University, Informed Opinions developed this tool that monitors and draws public and media attention to the persistent gender gap Canadian news media and encourages greater accountability. It is an eye-opening tool that reminds us that representation matters.
View Informed Opinions’ Gender Gap Tracker.
The danger of a single story
This TED talk video, posted to YouTube in 2009, continues to be brought up in discussions on diversity because the message that resonates is timeless: if your only viewpoint is a single story, you risk a critical misunderstanding. Jasmine Qi mentioned that this video helps people to recognize their unconscious biases.
Watch the TED Talk:
OCISO Employment Programs
According to their website, OCISO’s vision is the following:
“OCISO envisions Ottawa as an inclusive city in which all immigrants contribute their gifts, skills, values and culture; strengthening and transforming our community life.”
They offer many programs to support newcomers to find employment in their fields of expertise. One such program, Ottawa Connector, is a simple yet highly effective referral process that helps local businesses and organizations connect with talented newcomers who want to build a career and settle successfully in Ottawa.
Join a mentorship program at OCISO.
Hire Immigrants Ottawa (HIO)
HIO is an initiative that was launched in 2006 that brings together employers, immigrant agencies and stakeholders to enhance employers’ ability to access the talents of skilled immigrants in the Ottawa area. They offer events and training opportunities for employers on cross-cultural competency.
Learn more about Hire Immigrants Ottawa.
The Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity
The Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity (CCGSD) promotes diversity in gender identity, gender expression, and romantic and/or sexual orientation in all its forms. As a leader in anti-discrimination work, CCGSD runs programming all over Canada and the United States. On its website, you can find information about training opportunities for organizations as well as workshops on diversity.
Learn more about CCGSD.