How can we create more welcoming and compassionate societies? Increase diversity in boardrooms says Ratna Omidvar
Pluralism Policies That Work: A call for more radical thinking
As part of a cross-section of speakers from the 6 Degrees Forum Ratna Omidvar answers the question: How can we create more welcoming and compassionate societies?
Pluralism in leadership is but one of many ways to embed effective diversity and inclusion into our everyday communities. We’ve heard it before: our communities are diverse, why isn’t our leadership? Pluralistic leadership at the top reflects a truly inclusive and diverse community where society demonstrates openness, receptivity and acceptance to a wide range of thoughts, peoples and ideas.
Initiatives like DiverseCity onBoard and organizations like the Canadian Board Diversity Council (CBDC) build leadership capacity and focus on pluralistic leadership in Canadian institutions. DiverseCity onBoard’s mandate is to increase diversity on the boards of not-for-profit organizations and public agencies across the nation; CBDC measures and promotes the progress of Canada’s largest corporate boards in diversifying their leadership. These initiatives are key to achieving truly inclusive and diverse communities by developing and investing in plural leadership.
Civil society efforts are even more effective when paired with public policy. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made international headlines with his reply when asked about gender parity in his cabinet: “Because it’s 2015.” But we can do better. The next step is to expand these policy levers to underscore the need for diverse leadership not solely in terms of gender or ethnicity, but across all facets of diversity.
Ultimately, the key to making a difference lies in a change in leadership. Making room at the top for diversity is in the hands of those who are now there, and they can begin to make room for diversity by looking for, including and listening to people who are not like themselves. Ordinary Canadians from underrepresented groups can then sign on to make a difference in our communities. And our public and corporate institutions must appoint truly diverse leadership so that our communities can benefit from effective inclusivity that generates innovative ideas and actions, and makes pluralistic leadership the norm at all levels of society.