I am lucky to be writing about a topic that I am sincerely passionate about. Lucky because I have the commitment from our organization to focus on it. Lucky because I am a female leader at Thomson Reuters and can be an example and role model to others. So, I would like to begin a much-needed discussion on the topic of diversity and inclusion.
No doubt you have seen the stats and headlines. The lack of diversity in the media, and especially in journalism, is a matter of concern. It should come as no surprise to anyone that taking diversity seriously these days is essential to being competitive, especially for a global news organization like Reuters.
Diversity in background, skill set, perspective, and how one thinks and processes information is a tremendous value to our company. It’s essential in helping us provide society with the news it needs and our efforts to become the greatest news organization in the world. If we don’t have a diverse news file that reflects the world we live in, we won’t remain relevant to our customers. Today, leveraging knowledge, culture and style is essential to growing any business.
The intent of our diversity efforts is to expand our reach, our mindset and continue to create an open and inclusive environment. This does not mean hiring or promoting individuals just because they are diverse. Merit should always be the determining factor. However, we can’t ignore the invisible headwinds and tailwinds that enable some and prevent others sometimes based merely on how they look or on how society has historically defined them. We must open our eyes to these barriers and remove them where possible. Are we stopping to consider why we are making certain hiring decisions or why some people are rising faster than others within the organization?
The business issue is simple – we’re a people business and we need the best. My experience has taught me that in order to achieve sustainable high performance, employees need to be who they are, and express themselves openly and with confidence.
The moral issue is also clear to me. I can think of no good reason why we shouldn’t be providing opportunities and fostering a supportive, open environment to any and all talented and qualified people regardless of their gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or background.
Discussing the facts and lack thereof
As an industry, we could be doing better when it comes to diversity. For example, data from the 2014 census released the American Society of News Editors and the Center for Advanced Social Research, revealed a higher proportion of men vs. women in journalism roles, especially at more senior, supervisory levels. And the percentage of minority journalists has remained between 12 and 14 percent for years. Globally, the situation is not much different, and you won’t be surprised that Reuters is not an exception. (more…)