A new social dialogue by revisiting concepts: diversity, equity, inclusion, and….. belonging

The same as the photo above, merging with the same color into a chaotically society is the challenge, not only to be part of it, but to “fit” into it, and supposes much more than legal guarantees on equity, inclusion and diversity but the feeling of “belonging”. Beyond a legal framework, but the capacity to join without biases. That is to build real peaceful societies. The road ahead: a powerful and brand new social dialogue.

When Human Rights are not taking into practice its time to stop and reflect. This is precisely what is happening with diversity, equity and inclusion, three concepts including in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Paris, 1948) although not addressing within an inclusive criteria in itself. 

Sometimes going back in history supposes revisiting the present and reshape the current scenarios accordingly to their background. Diversity is not a new challenge but a very old one that humanity has been forced to insert into their societies. Indeed, after the two world wars, the number of refugees around the world pushed the host countries to make reforms and insert the new citizens into the social fabric. It was not until the massive economic migration that the world realise their global senses, even before becoming a formal global system. The steady and huge movement of people established a true new global way of living that imposes Governments and civil society to rehearsal new shapes of relationships, education systems and labour market. Even without regulation, many societies have accepted and also welcoming their own transformation.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 was signed, -surprisingly or not- with the main principles of the current “new” senses of diversity, equity, inclusion:

Article 2

“Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status..” 

Article 18

“Freedom of thought, conscience and religion either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance…”

Article 23

“Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work…”

Article 29

 “Rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society…”

The framework is already there, the challenge is to adapt it to a new culture for whom individuals become the real game changer instead of institutions or/and leaders. Besides, 

it doesn’t necessary contemplate the senses of a very emotional element that is “belonging”. This concept applies to all aspects, from national to global, from labour market to social structures, and represents much more than diversity, equity and inclusion together. In fact is the binding element for the rest although is not including as it supposes a non tangible piece of the puzzle. 

Let’s give and example from the business sector: only 23% of at the Human Resources professionals believe their D&I programs are highly effective* , means that even within a high committed strategy and action they are unable to be effective. Why?

“For a diversity and inclusion strategy to be truly global, D&I professionals need to understand the culture, politics, economics, and relevant legislation within the regions in which their businesses operate, all of which underscores the critical importance of being culturally competent”.* 

Is indeed through culture that the change is possible, translated into practical bottom up initiatives, boost by top leaders and including in the labor market. A true renewed construction of the social dialogue that address uncertainty by delivering new tools for a resilient atmosphere. The establishment of new leaders especially coming from the civil society and inserted into business and political sector is what really matters to get into a powerful social dialogue that boost senses of belonging. 

Recent surveys* suggest that on the last two decades the world has become indeed more diverse. As the global model is more advanced the perception of more diversity increases, although not necessary at the local level. In fact the more diverse that a society becomes, the more resistance finds and the more “defenders” of their culture and traditions show up. A fact that is taking in a timely manner by political leaders.

We may see it within migration, that parts of the society adapts to the new reality, meanwhile others take it in an ideological way to boost nationalism and isolationism. This is not just new “waves” from politics but true waves on emotions as hate, discrimination or/and rejection to social integration. Is it more important to manage these emotions rather than trying to maximise regulation. In crisis times the latest becomes ineffective as the social dialogue breaks down, and is flooded with alarmist focuses that lead the path. A wrong management of emotions coming from leaders and the continuity of a top down system that do not allow room for creativity, and tolerance.

It is key to change leaders and leadership style to make sure that emotional management and the construction of  a” belonging atmosphere” is the  main goal. To achieve the goal the profile of the leaders should be versatile and global -even acting locally- in a  way that they do not fit in any pre-established category: business, political, social, activist, religious, etc. but they may be identified as a all-in-one leader. An uncertain world demands holistic approaches, therefore creative leadership able to address multiple crises from the real source of power: the people.  That is the reason to get into the conclusion of the need to search for leaders cosmopolitan that makes of social- political- business- religious challenges just one, and for that is that individuals are first. Under the current structure is it the other way round: institutions rather than individuals, and emotions come after rules. A world hit by multiple crises creates an overwhelmed number of different emotional reactions used by Media that boost alarmist reactions. Is not a minor issues as the senses of belonging boost attitudes towards diversity, equity and inclusion that in the end is translated into reshape of political candidates, social rules and new cultural codes. 

To change culture we need to change emotions or at least, negative reactions.

Diversity, equity and inclusion are positive reactions that comes from a strong personal resilience that helps in the road to build feelings around “belonging” rather than trying to apply a regulatory framework that in fact its part of an old sector of Humans Rights. The new, creative and revolutionary element that societies are claiming for is the sense of being individual actors part of a global scenario within a versatile all-in-one leadership. Revisiting concepts….



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