HQ #110 / Where do we stand on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion?

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Today, associations increasingly wish to recognise the strategic importance of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) as a management discipline, working to incorporate a wide range of demographic groups into their staff and Boards. The major challenge currently facing global associations is not about practicalities - it is about values, and it is impacting them on several levels.

Firstly, having a clear values framework is a "minimum level of service" if an association wants to attract members belonging to any generation younger than the millennial generation. Secondly, having a value framework in place is one thing, defining the DEI impact for the association and its members is another.

Diversity is about the kinds of differences we can experience with each other. The visible ones (ethnicity, binary gender, age) and the invisible ones (non-binary gender, religion, culture, beliefs, etc.); it also concerns the mix of differences between people: demographic (age, religion, gender, sexual diversity), physical abilities, as well as differences in character, level of education, areas of expertise, organisational culture, etc. In short, diversity concerns all the differences between people.

Take, for example, our ‘Association Profile’ Inclusion Europe − an association that fights for equal rights and the full inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities and their families in the European ecosystem. The main issues they grapple with continue to be education, accessibility, voting rights, employment and health care, as well as the right to decide and non-discrimination.

Or the World Parkinson Congress held in Barcelona which was a shining example of how an event can educate society and train frontline staff to accommodate delegates with Parkinson’s disease. Or even Osaka, which will become the first city in Asia to host the IGLTA Global Convention 2024, demonstrating a leadership position in the inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community and a commitment to discrimination-free travel spaces and experiences.

In this issue we find three Australian convention centres explaining how they have adapted their services and event proposals to the needs of their First Nations and Aboriginal culture, while our association friend David de Alves describes what he saw at Sydney's Worldpride Human Rights Conference, which connected people from many walks of life and provided spaces where differences dissipate and opportunities arise.

Diversity is an important consideration in the workplace as it helps improve creativity, innovation, and cultivate problem-solving abilities, and can help to create a more inclusive work environment. At Headquarters, we will continue to lead the conversation, ensuring that inclusion remains at the heart of the associations' focus, highlighting the great value we see in opening up spaces for all, which ultimately has an impact on society as a whole.

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Supported by the Union of International Associations (UIA), the International Association of Professional Congress Organisers (IAPCO) and the Interel Group, the global public affairs and association management consultancy, Headquarters Magazines serve the needs of international associations organising worldwide congresses.