Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Initiative
Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is still critical to society. While many organizations have embraced DEI initiatives to deepen relationships and encourage connections, there is still work to be done. Recent judicial changes to Affirmative Action raise concerns of a broader impact to workplace diversity. The stress caused by discrimination and oppression can have serious effects on our overall health and wellbeing, especially for people of different religions, abilities, genders and sexual orientations.
Trend 1: With the Supreme Court reversing Affirmative Action, there is a risk of decreasing diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in the workplace.
Thirteen states are targeting corporate DEI initiatives saying a focus on diverse hiring is illegal based on federal and state laws. Conversations are already starting on whether DEI initiatives and diversity statements will cause backlash. While the Affirmative Action ruling is specific to college admissions, history has taught us that this decision in the system adversely impacts diversity in the workplace. When four states banned Affirmative Action in the 1990s and early 2000s, there was a sharp decrease in employment for Asian and Black women, and Hispanic men. Not only is there a short-term impact, but also a long-term risk of lack of diverse talent among graduates and future employees. Companies with more diverse executive teams outperform in profitability the less diverse ones by 36-48%.
Trend 2: People with disabilities face health inequities in and out of the healthcare system.
Stigma and discrimination set the stage for unfair treatment and a rise in anxiety and depression, as well as lost opportunities for education and employment, which can then lead to poverty. It’s important to note that an estimated 16% of the global population have severe disabilities—a growing number due to invisible illnesses and people living longer. As we look at accessibility, we should consider all aspects: physical, digital, communication and social.
Trend 3: Diversity, equity, inclusion and justice trend away from divisiveness and towards connection.
Organizations are looking to deepen relationships and create a sense of belonging to set the foundation for difficult conversations. This provides an opportunity to see oppression as a solvable problem using healing. This approach emphasizes each individual’s healing in a group setting to then build human solidarity.
Trend 4: Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance shows the impact trauma and stress have on our health today.
Epigenetics can be altered by psychosocial stress such as oppression and the experience of being “othered”. These feelings increase the level of cortisol and build neural pathways towards the survivor brain, making it more difficult to manage stressful situations. The result could lead to languishing mental wellness. In addition, psychosocial stress can be a contributing factor to breast cancer, hypertension and preterm birth. Healing trauma can create change for current and future generations. Accessibility to healing modalities is an opportunity for the wellness industry.
Trend 5: LGBTQI+ community faces health disparities impacted by discrimination.
A 2022 survey by the Center for American Progress showed that more than 1 in 3 LGBTQI+ adults reported experiencing some kind of discrimination in the past year. Additionally, debates on law restrictions impacting this community have a negative repercussion on mental health and create unsafe environments. Transgender or gender non-conforming (TGNC) youth are more likely to have attention deficit disorders and depression than non-TGNC peers. Whether being misgendered, receiving limited coverage for inclusive treatments, having to hide one’s personal life at work or school, or being refused service, these experiences can affect one’s wellbeing. Safe spaces offer PRIDE without exception.