Diversity must be intentional

Diversity image

In the last few days, the Wall Street Journal has published three articles on diversity that have caught my attention. These types of stories are becoming more and more common as we all become more comfortable talking about diversity out loud and in normal conversation. This is encouraging! We need to keep it going.

The first article, Some Firms Push for Gender Parity at Board Level, published in Tuesday’s business section (8.16.16), talks about the steps some firms have taken to recruit and place more women and other minorities on their boards. The author of the article takes a positive position on this and highlights several companies who have implemented specific strategies to increase diversity on their boards. Some of these tactics might be a bit controversial, but the reason for the effort is not – they want their boards to mirror their customer base.

The most important sentence to highlight is this, a quote from Karen Horn, chairman of the National Association of Corporate Directors, “The system produces white male candidates unless board directors deliberately do something different,“(emphasis added). Diversity must be intentional.

The second article, published yesterday  (8.17.16), is entitled Facebook’s Point System Fails to Close Diversity Gap. This article discusses the attempt by Facebook to hire minorities in an effort to better reflect their user base. Despite the fact that their current strategy does not seem to be working well, what they do recognize is this: doing things the way they always have will not yield results, and diversity requires intentional actions.

The last article I want to mention may seem out of place, but I love the way it shows the universal need for diversity. This article was also published on August 17th and is titled “Genetic Studies’ Lack of Diversity May Lead to Misdiagnoses, Researchers Say.” This article points out that genetic studies must use subjects that accurately represent the public or risk causing harm to certain populations. In this case, diversity must be intentional.

One final note on all this. As with any online article there are comments. For some reason, with articles on diversity these comments take on a tone that can be highly unpleasant. The main argument, when you can find it, is that we should always always pick the best candidate for the job. Sounds great, right? I don’t think you could find anyone who would argue with that! If only it were that easy.

For one reason or another, and a topic for another day, the best minority candidates are not being considered for top jobs along with the traditional white male candidates. I take severe issue with the idea that insisting on including women (or other minorities) in the interview/hiring process somehow means that the best candidate will not be chosen. We just need to be intentional about giving her the chance!

Happy Thursday, and keep it positive and smile!

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