An Inclusion Evolution
Over the course of the late 20th and early 21st century, Western society has become an increasingly less hostile place for diverse groups. The paths for various groups that have religious, racial, ethnic, gender or sexual identities that differ from the "mainstream" have taken varying lengths of time. Typically, though, these paths begin with a more or less indifferent tolerance, move gradually toward acceptance and, ultimately, inclusion.
Women, and racial and ethnic minorities, have experienced high-profile struggles along this path for decades. In more recent decades, the struggles of gays and lesbians has become much more visible; acceptance has grown significantly. But, while transgender people have long been included in the "LGTBQ" community, their journey toward acceptance and inclusion has arguably taken longer than that of cisgender homosexual people.
Growing Awareness and Understanding
High-profile debates over something as basic as the ability of a transgender person to choose which bathroom they use have occurred in states like Georgia and Virginia, and even the U.S. Supreme Court. But there are signs of growing acceptance as well. For example, Merriam-Webster added "they" as a nonbinary pronoun earlier this year.
When it comes to inclusion and diversity, we've long called attention to the business case for diversity. Being inclusive expands a company's potential market and gives it a competitive edge in its overall business operations and strategic thinking. These are benefits with their own value in addition to the moral arguments in support of diversity and inclusion, and major companies are taking note. For instance, as part of its Pride + Progress series, CNN has covered stories on moves toward greater transgender and nonbinary inclusivity from companies like Mastercard, Lyft and Tinder.
Yes, Inclusion is a Business Imperative!
Most recently, CNN reported that, "Always sanitary products will remove the Venus symbol, historically used to represent the female sex, from its products to be inclusive of transgender and nonbinary customers." The article notes that the need to purchase these products can be particularly awkward experiences for transgender and nonbinary people. It's a move that may help the Always brand appeal to a relatively ignored potential market. Inclusion is a business imperative.
It should come as no surprise that diversity and inclusion is an ever-evolving concept. As society and the business world continue to understand, accept and value diversity of all kinds, we will all become richer for it. Be inclusive!
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