An inclusive path through overwhelming times

Honest and heartfelt reflections from our Director, Inclusion and Diversity, Claire Williams


I am feeling overwhelmed by the atmosphere around inclusion and diversity. It's my passion, my job, my important value set inherited from a feminist mother, but I can barely watch the news at the moment.

It’s a constant news feed of heart break around discrimination, stop and search, trans phobia and homophobia. Some of the polarised views are incomprehensible to me, and when I engage with what it all actually means about society, I feel perplexed, worn down, impotent. Its all too big and too much.

Some how we need to find a path through all this confusion, fear, anger, tension. It’s a path that acknowledges the past but moves us to the future. It’s a path that recognises our differences but draws us together.  It’s a safe path for people to talk openly and learn. It’s a path where people hold hands and guide each other.

I had the pleasure this week of co-delivering one of our “lock down” webinars with colleague Dr Patricia MacCormack from Anglia Ruskin University, who are long term members. She guided us along an enlightening path –  an introduction to intersectionality. This session, based in research, looked at the practical steps that inclusive employers can take to embed the concept of intersectionality into policy and practice.

In simple terms maybe it is about counting in ones, not just discussing groups. It’s impossible to reflect the full truth of a group. There are 66 billion versions of normal on this planet. If we can give managers the tools and skills to ask questions about, and respond fully to the one multi-dimensional individual in front of them, we can make some progress, moving one by one, along that difficult path towards inclusion. It becomes achievable.