Generative Work.Space co-hosted the Quaker and Business conference on Embodying Equality in work on 9 November at Friends House in London. This heartfelt project offered a space for participants to hear about extraordinary work in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and to move from insight into action.
Inclusion is at the heart of systemic work. It is based on an understanding that all living systems have a collective memory and that we all have an equal right to belong, whether on a temporary or permanent basis. Evolution created this mechanism to ensure the survival of the whole, not the few. It is an intelligence of living systems that creates feelings of belonging, wellbeing and safety.
In experiential terms, we have an emotional connection and a felt sense of the whole. There is a recognition of ‘all of us’ though this is usually unconscious. What this means therefore is that we also register exclusion, even if that fact is largely being ignored because we may be choosing to look away or feel too overwhelmed to deal with it. If any person, people or group are being marginalised, ignored, abused or even killed, we deal with the effects of this on everyone. We see this everyday in the interconnectedness of world affairs.
This systemic understanding means that we all matter and we all have a place, a value and a role to play in the life of the system at different levels: familial, social, organisational, and so on. Part of the beauty of next week’s conference is that we are undertaking a journey of different dimensions, with:
- self-awareness – what parts of myself do I exclude?
- work system-awareness – to which intitiatives can I contribute in my work/organisation and where do I fit in the many different identity groups?
- societal system-awareness – what impact is our vision, our initiatives & our being having on wider society and the ecosystem?