The second of our Take 30 staff events took place today. These 30-minute panel discussions began as a way for our employees to take a coffee break and get involved in something a little different.
Led by a changing panel of experts, these sessions aim to challenge our ways of thinking and offer a platform to openly discuss some important social issues. They delve into the things we should consider to create a more diverse and inclusive culture.
Our latest session was all about the words, labels and language we use and what they might mean to others. We were encouraged to consider how words or labels we might inadvertently use could make others feel excluded, and how comfortable we are with asking questions when we’re unsure rather than assuming.
With over 12 years of equality, diversity and inclusion experience, Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett became the first openly HIV+ parliamentary candidate to stand at a UK General Election in 2015 and has championed same-sex marriage, fully inclusive LGBT+ sex and relationship education in schools.
Passionate about disabled people’s rights, Ruth Owen OBE is CEO of disability charity Leonard Cheshire and former CEO of children and young people’s mobility charity Whizz Kidz. She was a Trustee of children’s charity Barnardo’s, a non-Executive Director of Motability Operations Group Plc, and in 2019 was selected as a member of The Mayor of London’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group.
Assistant Professor at Coventry University and Chair of Ashiana, Daljit Kaur completed our line-up. She supports ethnic minority women and children often fleeing domestic and sexual abuse. Daljit specialises inequality and diversity with a focus on neuro-diversity, inclusion and gender diversity.
An insightful conversation
The session gave our employees some insight into the personal accounts of our panellists, and the opportunity to think about the use of language, the danger of labels and how we can be better allies both in the workplace and wider society. “It’s important to use the language that people want you to use. If you don’t know, then ask so you can’t go wrong,” said Adrian.
Leonard Cheshire’s Words Hurt campaign research revealed that almost 3 in 4 (73%) disabled people say that more needs to be done for non-disabled people to understand that their words cause offence. 2 in 5 (40%) non-disabled people stated that they would be more likely to interact with disabled people if they knew the correct language to use.
When discussing allyship, the panellists shared the importance of having those uncomfortable conversations and using them as an opportunity to learn. They highlighted the importance of educating people in a kind way, and the positive impact of focus groups as a safe space to connect. “We need to be inclusive, and that involves everybody. We’re all people with feelings. How lovely would it be if we all accepted difference?” said Ruth.
Find out more about our commitment to diversity and inclusion.