Inclusion Goes Far Beyond Gender
By Lynn Branigan
Black History Month is an opportunity for all of us to celebrate the achievements and contributions of black people to our nation. For She Runs It, it is a time to celebrate and reflect on the powerful impact black women – and all women of color – have had on the progress of women. Black women have shaped our country, our world, our voices, our minds.
From the heroes and champions and warriors we know, to those we need to know: Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Daisy Bates, Angela Davis, Barbara Conrad, Wangari Maathai, Vernice Armour, Michelle Obama … the list is so vast and so remarkable. It would fill volumes.
We need to invite more of these women to shape our industry and define our future. At She Runs It we strive to recognize a broad mosaic of remarkable women in our industry who can serve as role models to the next generation of leaders. Among those women are Deidre Smalls-Landau, EVP + Chief Global Cross-Cultural Officer, UM and Michele Thornton Ghee – SVP, BET Networks, Viacom, two of the fabulous female executives we will honor at our upcoming Working Mothers of the Year awards, which will take place on the afternoon of February 26th in NYC.
As we fight for gender equality, we need to be sure that we are defining gender in the most expansive and inclusive way. Black women, Latinas, Asians, Native Americans, LGBTQ women, women with disabilities, women veterans … and so on. And on. The entire mosaic needs to be part of our circle.
We need to be tireless in our advocacy and inclusion of these women in our workforces, C-suites and board rooms.
- We need to recognize and proactively amplify the work of black women and all women of color when we raise our voices for equality.
- We need to “scootch our chairs over” to offer these sisters their hard-earned, profoundly deserved seat at every table we occupy.
- We need to be active and intentional allies to other women … all women … in the office and on the street.
Achieving inclusion and true diversity has been a hard-fought battle that companies in our industry have been tackling for my entire career. Yet in spite of the very best intentions, precious little progress is being made. It is for this reason that we have partnered with Diversity Best Practices to create the Inclusion and Diversity Accountability Consortium (IDAC). Through this partnership we have learned that if we want to make real progress in creating a more inclusive workforce in marketing and media, progress is going to pivot on three things: measurement, dialogue and action
As we celebrate Black History Month, I encourage all leaders in the marketing and media industry to join the Inclusion and Diversity Accountability Consortium, a group of companies who are insisting on progress. It is a giant step on a critical journey.