These statistics only amplify the business case for helping organisations develop a strategy and plan for execution to eliminate systemic racism and address racial inequalities. To address systemic long-term racism, leaders and organisations must deploy collective resources that will benefit the events industry and the community. Progress and change will not happen overnight, cannot be outsourced, or delegated – but MUST commence now, consciously and authentically. Racism amid COVID-19 has led many to reflect on the everyday, quiet, yet insidious forms of racism that many minority groups endure (6). Such reflection coupled with repetitive injustices against minority groups has urged many organisations, especially C-suite leaders to pledge their commitment to advance DEI in the workplace (7). This certainly helps in improving awareness of the nuances and relevance (8) of DEI and could well explain the relatively higher scores for the dimensions of Accountability, Ownership and Sustaining Change. In contrast, that the dimension of Delivering Change received the lowest scores indicates that many of the DEI practices, structures and policies are only in principle but not in practice. This leads to further deliberation on whether the existing approaches in the events industry are optimal for achieving transformational change. There is no doubt that the industry needs better representation from minority groups, professionals with different sexual orientations, various educational backgrounds etc. However, this becomes a mere statistical activity if there is only improvement in these metrics, without improvements in the experiences of these professionals within the events industry. It is no longer just about what is done, but more about how it is done that is becoming crucial. More diverse professionals can be recruited, but how are they being involved to effect change will make all the difference. The industry must adopt unconventional practices and a contemporary approach to make everyone truly belong.
With continued focus on diversity in the industry, there appears to be an urgent need to focus on inclusion and with it - equity. It is time to emphasise the I and sharpen the focus on E in DEI.
2022 EIC Equity Benchmarking Study
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