When most people think of the word ‘inclusivity,’ they likely think of diversity in the workplace. And while that’s an important aspect of inclusivity, it’s not the only one. Inclusive businesses are those that recognize and celebrate diversity in all forms, including age, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical ability, and religious beliefs.
It’s up to us, as women, as entrepreneurs, as ladybosses to create the inclusive environments we want to be a part of and leave behind us as a part of our legacy.
So how can women in business create an inclusive environment?
Here are 5 practical ways you can be more inclusive:
Create Opportunities for Different Voices:
When it comes to the services you provide, the places you have conversations, the platforms you go live on, etc… are you making space and providing opportunities for women from all walks of life to access and join the conversation?
I know it can be hard to get outside of our comfort zones sometimes, but women in business can create a more inclusive environment by being vulnerable and uncomfortable. Leading the way in inclusivity will require us, at times, to do things that stretch us and cause is to grow. So challenge yourself to look at the voices that are being shared in your business and push yourself to create more opportunities where needed.
Be Open to Collaborations:
As women in business, especially in the online space, collaboration is a huge key to growth and success. But are you collaborating with the same people over and over again? Are you making sure that you’re being inclusive in the opportunities you offer and in the opportunities you seek for yourself?
If women in business are feeling like they’re stuck or that there’s no way to collaborate outside of their own circle, it might be time to do a little digging. When women say ‘no’ to women, women lose out on opportunities for growth and success. So we need to encourage each other to look beyond the people they’re already connected with and open themselves to new possibilities, new avenues for growth, and new ways to include more women.
Make Your Content Accessible:
As we’ve been growing and developing LBI and the Backstage Pass, we’ve been learning about ways to be inclusive by making our content accessible and functional for everyone.
From clubhouse to images on our blog and social media, and everything in between we’re committed to making it easy to connect and join the conversations we’re engaged in.
Practically speaking this means:
Using clubhouse best practices for persons with vision or hearing impairments. We introduce ourselves when we “unmic”, and finish our thoughts with “I pass the mic” or “I am done speaking”, so it’s clear who is speaking and when someone new begins.
Including alt text on our images so that persons with visual impairment can understand the imagery we use and the context of it.
These are just a few examples of best practices that all everyone to be included in what we’re creating and sharing from a practical stand point.
Ask for Feedback:
A key piece of what we believe inclusivity to be, includes an openness and willingness to encourage and implement feedback in our community. By asking the women in our community for feedback on ways that we can do better when it comes to being actually inclusive, we are able to improve, grow and continue creating an open, welcoming, and inclusive environment!
When was the last time you asked for feedback on your business? Did you look for opportunities to foster more inclusive practices?
Use Every Platform Available to You:
Diversity in the platforms that you use to promote, share, and engage with your community will give you a much greater opportunity to include new voices, stories, and perspectives in the business and legacy that you’re building. Often you’ll find that while there is some cross over in platform audience, usually you’re speaking to unique audiences. Those unique audiences automatically create new opportunities for fostering inclusivity.
To be inclusive women in business need to actively seek out platform diversity. This may mean anything from using YouTube or Tiktok for video content, to attending women’s conferences or women in business events.
It also often means making the commitment to purposefully engage with women who are not like yourself, who have different experiences, and who you might not normally cross paths with.
Inclusivity is something we should all be actively practicing on a regular basis. Some people might say that inclusivity means treating everyone the same, but it goes beyond this and includes creating an environment of openness and equality where every voice has space to contribute without judgment or fear. As entrepreneurs and women in business, we have so much more to offer than just our products or services — we bring different perspectives and insights into life experiences which can enrich any business venture.
Now it’s your turn to weigh on on this conversation. What ways do you foster inclusivity within your own business?