Updated: 3 days ago
Short version: there are many diverse groups, such as women, LGBTQIA+, people with disabilities, ethnic backgrounds, and more. Each group has its own shade and characteristics. In our attempts to include everyone, our duty is to make sure that inclusion is egalitarian and not at the expense of any of the different groups.
Here is a story: three months ago I asked to expand my business activity in the field of diversity and inclusion and to get to know the area better. Although I had extensive experience in establishing a diverse group in an international tech company and managing projects for the many diverse groups in the company, I felt that I lacked more hands-on experience in another diverse group. I started thinking about where I could get more experience and I remembered that last summer my daughter and I volunteered at a non-profit association that helps people with disabilities. I remembered the volunteering well and decided to contact the association...
Since there was no "wanted" section on the association's website, I sent a "Contact Us" message saying: "Hello, my name is Perry. My daughter and I volunteered with you last summer and we really liked you. I wanted to check if you happen to have a part-time position for me?". Two days later a nice woman contacted me and asked me to send a resume. From that moment things started happening faster than I expected and after about two weeks I started working as a manager of one of the association's successful business ventures.
In one word: "Wow" with an exclamation point. The project was an exciting business-social initiative of people with disabilities who wanted to convey a very important and significant message: "There is a person behind the disability". The goal was clear - to convey the message to as many people, organizations, institutions, and groups as possible through a comprehensive workshop, which reveals the world of people with disabilities and thus brings the audience closer to them.
I managed 13 staff members with various disabilities: visually impaired, hard of hearing, mute, and those with various physical disabilities who move around with wheelchairs. Besides being responsible for managing the team, marketing, and sales, I was also in charge of summarizing and processing the experience with the audience. Every time I was excited again! Whether it was a group of soldiers, female students, tech workers, or even school students, there was always an exciting aroma in the air and a great feeling of satisfaction. I reached a situation where, even though I have no physical disability, I felt an inseparable part of them and this was reflected in the way I expressed myself in front of the various audiences.
I saw people with disability from the LGBTQIA+ community in the association and it naturally intrigued me, since I am also from the LGBTQIA+ community. At the same time, I also saw people with disabilities of different genders, from the Ethiopian community and from the ultra-Orthodox and Arab sectors, etc. Suddenly, in the face of all this human diversity, the subject of diversity and inclusion took on a deeper and stronger meaning.
I noticed a very high level of openness and acceptance among people with disabilities and I wondered why this is so. I quickly came to the conclusion that many of them simply understand, perhaps better than the rest of us, what is really important and what is less. And what is really important? the person. humanity. kindness. I can only assume that the disability gave many of them proper and correct proportions to look at humans as a whole. Something that I'm sure many will agree with me that is missing in the "people without disabilities".
And then I asked myself, if this is how many of them perceive humans, is there still some kind of "clash" between them and other diversity groups? And the answer was not long in coming - yes, absolutely yes. The best example I got was a clash between the female population and the gay community and people with disabilities. And the collision is called "multi-gender Hebrew".
For those who don't know, multi-gender Hebrew is a system of new letters and symbols that allow multi-gender reading and writing in Hebrew. This new system uses special characters to turn integrated pronunciation into multi-gender, but I won't go into that now.
In any case, I understood from a visually impaired person, who uses a special device (OrCam MyEye) that reads the text in front of him and reads it to him, that the same multi-gender writing style is not supported by the device and that he is unable to read text written in this way. The same person said that the attempt to include all genders "left him and his visually impaired friends outside the fence of inclusion." This is the collision.
This is a very interesting case where the needs of one diversity group "ran over" the needs of another diversity group and this brings us back to an important precision in defining the concept of "inclusion". To include everyone means to consider everyone's needs, but not at the expense of others. When we offend another diversity group, we have actually achieved nothing and may even have achieved unnecessary "noise" and hard feelings between the diversity groups. Inclusion is "both" and not "or" and you always have to find the middle ground that will make it all work.
Corporate Coach for employee engagement and diversity and inclusion