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Diversity and Inclusion Reflections

By Nena Foster, Be Inclusive Hospitality D&I Lead

Launching the 21/22 Inside Hospitality Survey has provided space to reflect on some of the poignant messages from last year’s survey, as well as the work that BIH has undertaken with businesses over the last year. These messages will seem obvious to some, particularly to those who have been in the position of experiencing discrimination or exclusion, but it may seem less obvious to others. So here’s a rehash of three of those lessons, lessons that we all must all commit to learning and working towards in order to achieve true inclusivity in the industry.

  1. Racism is not an industry problem, it’s a societal problem. The point is not to debate the existence of racism, or feel relieved if the industry is less racist than others. We already know that the next survey will tell us that racism exists within the hospitality industry. There is undoubtedly discriminatoin in the industry based on race, and likely many other characteristics, but the goal is to understand the multiplicity of experiences in order to make real, meaningful change. 
  2. Just because you haven’t witnessed or experienced racism or because you experience the world/your workplace differently, it does not mean that the experiences of others are invalid. We have to treat all experiences of racism and discrimination as valid and address them with intention. The way in which a business addresses (or chooses not to address) such issues is telling of their commitment to creating a fair and inclusive workplace.
  3. It’s everyone’s responsibility to do the work to make a fair and inclusive workplace and society, from the language used to the opportunities offered. Paying lip service to the work of inclusion isn’t going to achieve change. Inclusion is ultimately about  individuals, irrespective of skin colour, sexuality, gender or ability having a place at the table and experiencing a sense of belonging. This is not a short-term project, nor is it easy work. Neither is it something that can be handed over to a committee, or solved by a single workshop, but work for everyone to undertake continuously. And those in positions of power and with the authority to help facilitate change and are particularly vital.

I am looking forward to 2022, and BIH’s work in the space of diversity and inclusion, we will continue to share these messages through our work within the industry. And we are very much looking forward to helping bring about greater equity via real solutions and change.

If you wish to discuss the above further, get in touch [email protected]