UK-based non-profit Like-Minded Females Network (the LMF Network) has launched a report research project to understand diversity and inclusion. The community network is challenging the system by producing educational material for the ordinary person to learn.
Initial research found:
- >50% of us know diversity impacts our everyday life and only 80% truly understand the definition of community.
- 48% had somewhat knowledge of diversity and inclusion.
- 78% believe D&I initiatives are to “tick a box”.
Sonya Barlow, the founder of the LMF Network, comments: “As Diversity and Inclusion become fundamental in everyday life, it’s a shame that ordinary people are missing out on education because companies are not investing in the right material. In addition to that, having facilitated 200+ workshops, I am actively aware of the fact that many don’t understand the core definitions of diversity-related topics, despite being asked to commit to these as an everyday standard. We believe, as a community-run initiative, that it’s our duty to educate, empower and enable people to become their best selves — research, recommendations and education is one step in achieving that.”
What are some challenges to diversity?
Despite reporting and initiatives, the covid19 pandemic has further impacted women and ethnic minorities, regressing the work being done in creating inclusive and representative companies.
- Many sectors in the UK lack diversity, for example, there are only 23% of women on boards in the technology, media and telecommunications sectors. There are only 2.6% of ethnic minorities on the UK tech boards.
- 6% of autistic adults in the UK are in full-time paid employment, and only 32% are in some kind of paid work.
- Not only is there a lack of representation of ethnic minorities, women and autistic adults. Research has found that women, ethnic minorities and those with disability are also more likely to face bias and discrimination at every stage of their career.
- Research shows that progress in diversity and inclusion has been very slow. Mckinsey and company stated in their delivering through diversity report published in 2018, that 346 companies that were part of their 2015 research, have only increased average gender representation on their executive teams by 2 percentage points. The report, also states that these 346 companies increased ethnic and cultural diversity by 1 percentage point. This shows that not much progress has been made in the last couple of years.
What is the purpose of this research?
The first step to addressing diversity problems is shining a light on it and increasing awareness of it. The next is to lead educational initiatives before implementing policy change. To build on our practice of diversity and inclusion, we will be publishing 4 reports with recommendations and following these up with accessible training, open to everyone.
- The first report is about diversity and the lack of diversity that exists in companies and sectors. (18th Feb)
- The second report will go in-depth into the all diversity and inclusion related terms mentioned in the first report especially the 5 terms that participants felt they could not define (intersectionality, neurodiversity, equity, allyship and systemic). (3rd March)
- The third report will be on the hiring and recruitment process and how these processes can better focus on diversity and inclusion. (17th March) To extend the support, LMF has also launched a diversity jobs board where diverse ambitious individuals can connect with value-led businesses.
- The final report will be on monitoring efforts and the role of mentoring in increasing diversity and inclusion. (31st March)
One of the network’s highlights is its inclusivity. 75% of the community identify as female, non-binary or gender fluid; with 65% identifying as non-white. Though the sample size for this research was initially small, it’s a good indicator of the average company and colleague.