President Joe Biden took office yesterday, and he’s bringing a remarkably diverse team with him.
Starting with Vice President Kamala Harris – our country’s first woman and person of color to serve in that office – the Biden administration will bring together people of many backgrounds to solve our nation’s biggest challenges. Biden’s cabinet will include more women than any other in U.S. history, and the majority of its members will be non-white.
Here’s why this diversity in our nation’s leadership matters, as it does in any workplace:
1. Diversity reduces gaps in access that drive inequity: In RALIANCE’s experience, a lack of diversity is one of the main challenges to devising policies that support historically marginalized groups. In last week’s blog, RALIANCE featured one of our grantees, the YWCA of Southern Arizona, which has worked to close gaps for Latina survivors of sexual and domestic violence, who are often unable to find services that account for the needs of Spanish speakers. This is an example of a common roadblock that cannot be addressed without recognizing the diversity within a community and dedicating time and resources to find solutions. A diverse Biden administration will be able to identify and respond to challenges facing specific races or identities.
2. Diversity boosts problem-solving and innovation: A study from Boston Consulting Group found that organizations with more diversity on their management teams reported innovation revenue that was a full 19 percentage points higher than companies with less diversity among their leadership. This translates to President Biden’s cabinet effectively managing government resources, devising innovative solutions to complex challenges, and identifying opportunities for new public services that will enhance outcomes for all members of our society.
3. Inclusion increases our collective potential: Groups that have historically been disempowered – including women, people of color, and the LGBT community – have always had enormous potential to lead and contribute to society, but overcoming barriers and societal restrictions have diverted their energy. When we actively embrace diversity, we unlock immeasurable potential by empowering more individuals to expand our collective vision. When individuals shatter a glass ceiling – as Kamala Harris and other members of the Biden administration have now done – others are bound to follow.
This month, RALIANCE’s blogs have focused on the importance of cultural competence, which is the ability to effectively communicate across cultures and engage communities different from your own. For too long, our government has missed opportunities to reach, serve, and inspire significant segments of the public, in large part because of its failure to adequately represent diverse American experiences.
The Biden administration’s diversity is a step in the right direction – one that we can all celebrate.
RALIANCE provides consulting, assessment, and employee development services to help build more equitable workplace cultures and create environments free from sexual harassment, misconduct and abuse. We stand ready to support your organization’s goals – contact us today at [email protected] to get started.