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Diversity and Inclusion are the Buzzwords We Need

I had always enjoyed reading the news as a part of my morning routine but lately all the headlines echo a familiar tune… “X politician threatens to remove the gender equality secretary”, “ X president condemns the LGBTQ+ community”, “X country seeks to disable legalisation of abortion”, have become a repetitive refrain. As a believer in human rights, gender equality and inclusion the global landscape appears increasingly demotivating. However, as my grandmother wisely says,

"if you are going to complain, do something to change it."


In our rapidly evolving globalised world, the buzzwords "diversity" and "inclusion" have become a day to day vocabulary. With the high tendency of far-right governments around the globe it is time to commit to these two words. 


According to the Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy (2024, p.5) “through strategic “othering” and scapegoating, anti-gender actors uphold gendered boundaries between who or what is (perceived and portrayed as) “natural” and “unnatural”. In Europe, far-right parties and movements have gained traction by emphasising nationalist sentiments. From the victory of far-right Geert Wilders in the Dutch election to Hungary's adoption of hostile immigration laws and the Dublin riot reflecting 'far-right' agitation over Ireland's immigration, collectively illustrate a worrisome surge in anti-inclusion tendencies. Some of these groups have been critical of multiculturalism and have opposed policies promoting diversity and inclusion, forgetting the basic principle of the EU “Unity in Diversity”. 


In Latin America, far-right political figures have also emerged, with leaders expressing conservative and nationalist ideologies on issues related to LGBTQ+ rights, indigenous rights, and gender equality. These instances, ranging from the rise in anti-LGBT violence in Brazil following controversial statements by Jair Bolsonaro to Milei's threat to equality in Argentina by advocating the elimination of the Ministry of Women as part of what he calls the misguided "cultural war," underscore an increase in conservative and far-right sentiments through all Latin America.


Recognising and embracing diversity in all its forms—be it in race, gender, ethnicity, or thought—profoundly enriches our collective human experience and I dare say that in our globalised world nobody is exempt from the clash of cultures. 

Beyond being mere catchphrases, diversity and inclusion come to teach us that we can’t live in our bubble. These buzzwords lead us to the real world, one that it’s full of unique human beings.

As Dr. Alaa Murabit states "we can't be what we can't see." To me, that is what Diversity and Inclusion is all about, creating spaces where everyone can be seen, recognized and embraced.

By cultivating societies that value differences and ensure the active participation of all individuals, we unlock a big trunk of perspectives, ideas, and talents that drive creativity, progress and prosperity for communities and businesses alike. It may seem like I’m describing a dream world but in reality we are already living in a highly interconnected era where the world is one big melting pot. 


We have centered enough in trying to prove they are not just buzzwords that we have lost track of what’s really important, the multicultural and diverse human beings out there. Let’s continue fighting against the stigma, from the organizational level but also from our individual perspective.


Here are 3 easy steps that you, as a citizen of the world, can take everyday to become more Inclusive:

1) Educate Yourself: Stay informed about what’s happening in the world. It doesn’t need to be by reading the news (because I know it triggers anxiety), you can always chill with some popcorn and watch a documentary (while also learning!). Netflix has some good ones like Period, Ladies First, The Trader or (my favorite way to learn from different cultures) the multiple food documentaries. Read books, articles, and engage in conversations that broaden your understanding of another culture, always from a space of respect and empathy which leads me to…


2) Listen Actively: Even before starting to educate ourselves we have to actively listen to others without judgment. It is easier said than done but you can always remind yourself to think before you speak and to ask questions to understand their unique experiences. This fosters empathy and helps build connections based on mutual respect.


3) Challenge Your Biases: This may be the most difficult one because it requires a level of consciousness about oneself. Start fostering it by being aware of your own prejudices (that little voice we hear inside our heads judging everyone). After you have recognized the biases, work on actively challenging yourself against them by engaging in cross-cultural experiences, whether through travel, participating in cultural events, or engaging with people from different backgrounds. This first hand exposure can challenge stereotypes and broaden your perspective.

In essence, embracing Diversity and Inclusion is not just a societal imperative, it is a necessity for navigating the challenges and harnessing the opportunities of our interconnected and diverse world. Next time someone refers to Diversity and Inclusion as buzzwords you can answer “Yes, they are the buzzwords we need.”



Liliana Ramírez is an internationalist and feminist at heart. Holds a Master's degree in Latin American and European studies, with a career spanning international companies focusing on inclusion and gender. She coordinates the Mexican magazine "Entre Míticas," uniting her love for writing with her commitment to a fairer and more just world. Passionate writer on politics, gender, social movements, diversity, inclusion, and feminism in childhood. A steadfast believer in a future where equality and diversity shine in harmony.


References:

Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy (2024) Strongmen and Violence: Interlinkages of anti-feminism and anti-democratic developments. Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy, Berlin.

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