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Our take on race and gender diversity at conferences and events

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Business Transformation, Diversity
Colleagues on stage at a recent event
Ruth, Jon and Tia present their plans for Diversity and Inclusion at a Transformation Hack event

We read Stephen Foreshew-Cain’s blog about GDS and gender diversity at conferences and events and we cheered, loudly. The Engage team in the DWP Business Transformation Group designs and runs all of our external and internal engagement activities. Conferences and events are part of that, as well as our blog, twitter account, photography, videos and internal channels.

One of the aims of the Business Transformation Group is to create an inclusive, modern and efficient DWP. We apply this to our engagement too - so we 100% support GDS’ approach. At our own conferences and events we consciously design for race and gender diversity in the hosts for the event, the speakers on stage, the facilitators of breakout sessions, the event support.

Joanne Bradshaw on stage at a recent event
Joanne Bradshaw shares her plans for Capability at our Digital Academy event

Like Stephen says, it’s not tokensim. It’s about being confident that we’re giving everyone a fair opportunity to speak, lead, be visible and involved. And we’re deliberate - we have turned down offers of speakers and facilitators and asked for a replacement who represents a more diverse community instead. We will reject photos for our flickr albums when the picture doesn’t represent the diverse workforce we’re trying to create.

We will seek out, nurture and bring forward people who represent race and gender diversity and give them a voice, whether it’s interviewing them for our videos, encouraging bloggers, or profiling people on twitter.

Colleague using an iPad at a recent event
Anietie facilitates a breakout session at a recent conference

I’m the Race Equality champion for DWP and having honest and ongoing conversations about diversity and inclusion is a really important part of working in the right way. But we also need to commit to actions to improve race and gender diversity.

And so we’re going to back GDS 100% - we will also not attend an event or conference where we don’t agree that the race and gender diversity represents the inclusive DWP we are creating. GDS - we have your back.

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  1. Comment by Craig Cockburn posted on

    This is very important but perhaps the remit should include equality across the board (ie all protected groups covered by the Equalities Act), including disabled people?

    • Replies to Craig Cockburn>

      Comment by Kevin Cunnington posted on

      Thanks for commenting, Craig. We want to create a modern, inclusive DWP and we’re committed to equality in everything we do.

      We recently held our first Inclusive Leadership event with 250 colleagues from across the department focusing on how we can make DWP more diverse. We’re planning a follow-up event later this year with a focus on disability.