By: Ketki Bangdiwala*
Inclusive teams that value diverse perspectives and inclusive design principles will have the deepest impact in building products designed for everyone.
Key Aspects of Diversity and Inclusion Focus
- Ensuring that everyone’s differences are respected.
- Recognizing that everyone has different characteristics and circumstances.
- Recognizing that everyone brings different perspectives to the workplace.
- Fair policies and practices in place taking into account the diversity of the workforce.
- Team members feel valued and supported.
- Knowing that “diversity” and “inclusion” are not the same things.
According to Laura Sherbin and Ripa Rashid (2017), “In the context of the workplace, diversity equals representation. Without inclusion, however, the crucial connections that attract diverse talent, encourage their participation, foster innovation, and lead to business growth won’t happen.”
Disability, Diversity, and Inclusion
Accessibility and disability are important to discuss in the context of diversity and inclusion. In Going Beyond Compliance to Accessibility Inclusion, A Webinar on 22 December 2022 by NASSCOM Foundation, there were entrepreneurs and industry leaders who have created an impact transforming lives of be disabilities by creating a level playing field. It was a view into some latest assistive technology for better buddies and becoming socially responsible inclusion champions.
Here are some of the key things that I learnt from Prateek Madhav, CEO of AssisTech Foundation**, Prateek Khandelwal***, Founder and Managing Director of Ramp my City:
- People with disabilities also represent a trillion dollars of disposable income. We end up losing 5% to 7% of GDP by leaving out people or disabilities as potential employers and consumers.
- There’s a BIG MYTH. People think that to be inclusive, you need to have some big changes and it is rocket science to make your organization disabled-friendly.
- We need to get everyone involved. It’s not going to happen with a one-person leading the baton. It’s about coming together and spreading awareness.
- To be a leader in the market, it is very important to have a diverse diversified workforce and to have people with disabilities on board as employees and not just as a checkbox, but because of the skill set, they possess.
- If you build a product that does not cater to the needs of persons with disabilities, you are losing out on a lot of markets because there’s a huge number of people who are out there who can add to your market share.
- The brand value of an organization matters because the investor community will be looking into organizations that are disabled-friendly.
**AssisTech Foundation (ATF) is India’s first assistive technology-focused ecosystem that supports and promotes disability-focused start-ups.
***Prateek Khandelwal, Founder and Managing Director of Ramp my City. Ramp my City was founded in 2018 and is involved in providing simple infrastructural accessibility solutions and adequate human training in public and private sectors for the inclusion of persons with disability.
Diversity is not a hindering factor in anyone’s path in the corporate world. Let’s learn to respect and accept diversity. Ginny’s Planet, a social enterprise, triggers, simplifies, and deepens the understanding of the children and grownups on empathy, diversity, disability, and the spirit of inquiry. Check their products and workshops. Join the internships and trainings. Contact to explore more for yourself and your teams: firstname.lastname@example.org
About Ginny’s Planet:
Ginny’s Planet is a social enterprise Co-founded by Dr. Shweta Verma in 2019. The brand runs on the core value of helping our teachers and parents to teach their children to become independent, smart, and better leaders by equipping them with a deep understanding of empathy, diversity, disability, and inclusion. Dr. Shweta and the team design events, workshops, and products to help guardians & schools to develop kids’ mindsets and evolve as adaptive and flexible human beings. They work with schools to organize workshops for children and teachers.
Ketki Bangdiwala* is a Mom Intern, Ginny’s Planet. Her specialization is HR. She is proactively consolidating her skills and perspectives to work with Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Focus.