GBL’s organizational values strive to create and sustain a culture of care, communication, and collaboration. A focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is critical to this culture and hence, it is a foundational value for GBL. We celebrate and actively encourage people from diverse backgrounds at all levels of our organization and in all of our endeavors. We acknowledge that we are still learning and failures are part of the journey too. The key, however, we believe, is intention and action.
Our shared passion for taking worker wellbeing beyond compliance and into the heart of business strategies also drives our commitment to the work we do within GBL. Thereupon, we launched our #DEIforDevelopment initiative to host multistakeholder discussions to stimulate dialogue that promotes DEI in India's development sector.
What is #DEIforDevelopment Initiative?
As it stands, the underrepresentation of marginalized and underprivileged communities is a common thread across India’s development sector. Many professionals in this sector come from homogeneous, and privileged backgrounds, meaning that there is a lack of voices from the very populations they seek to assist.
We launched our #DEIforDevelopment initiative to host multistakeholder discussions to stimulate dialogue that promotes DEI in India's development sector. Through the sessions conducted under this initiave, we hope to work towards creating awareness, amassing ideas, sharing best practices, and building our collective capacity to advance DEI in the sector.
The First #DEIforDevelopment Session
The first edition of this initiative was held on 20th March, 2023. It saw the participation of over 15 prominent organizations including J-PAL South Asia, Centre for Responsible Business (CRB), Indian School Of Development Management, Arthan, Dasra, CivicDataLab, Action For Autism, Noora Health, ETI Services, and Includovate among others*.
The session format included an ice-breaker activity on the way we perceive the world around us and break-out room discussions on varied topics in relation to DEI including:
Below are some screenshots of the Ice Breaker Activity, where participants were asked to draw sunset pictures. Interestingly, participants across the board shared familiar images of a sunset on a horizon, in between mountains with birds flying overhead. This reinforces a simple question - why would all sunsets look the same to everyone? How different is the sunset on your drawing versus the one outside your window?
There isn’t a simple answer to this though but an observation that people are attuned and conditioned to see things a certain way because of what our experiences and society around us have taught us. Kindergarten children are taught to draw sunsets the same and so the adult participants in the #DEIforDevelopment forum also ended up drawing those familiar sunsets. The reality is that we are socially conditioned to see people and the world around us the same as well. This activity gives a tiny glimpse into how unconscious bias may crop up and the need for DEI to be an intentional and consistent effort for all of us.
*Participating organizations that are named have given consent to be included in this write-up.