Read the statements below and check the box beside all statements that apply to your board.
|The board is unaware that bias is an issue.||BLUE|
|There is some awkwardness or discomfort in interacting with people who are seen as ‘different’.||BLUE|
|Homogenous social groups are the norm.||BLUE|
|There is resistance to accommodating for people with disabilities because of the cost and because it disturbs the ‘norm’.||BLUE|
|There are no ‘out’ LGBTQ board members currently serving on the board.||BLUE|
|There is a welcoming atmosphere by some board members and a sense of curiosity by other board members about differences between people.||Yellow|
|Most board members expect new board members to assimilate quickly into the board. For example, if the new member is an English language learner, they expect them to keep the same pace as everyone else.||Yellow|
|There is a growing awareness that bias exists and that people are negatively impacted by it. There is intellectual struggle around what is ‘fair’ and how to ‘fix’ the problem.||Yellow|
|There are occasional conversations on the board about the value of diversity.||Yellow|
|You hear occasional statements in board conversations like “I’m colour-blind, I don’t see race.”; “Residential schools were horrible and I’m glad we’ve closed that chapter in Canada’s history. Now Aboriginal people need to move on.”; “Of course gays and lesbians should have equal rights. Just don’t throw your sexual practices in my face.”||Yellow|
|Board members struggle on how to be inclusive and value differences on an interpersonal level.||PINK|
|There is confusion and discontent. Some board members resist change and keep the status quo; some feel guilty; some continue to question and be upset with leadership when they see practices that exclude some members.||PINK|
|Board members are beginning to see how structural inequality operates to negatively impact marginalized populations while maintaining benefits for the mainstream, maintaining systems of power and privilege.||PINK|
|Board members express a desire for more strategic conversation or education about difference, culture, inclusion or equity||PINK|
|There is a genuine desire to build inclusion but when conflict arises or board members are challenged on their behaviour, they may resist or retreat.||PINK|
|Board members understand that inclusion is about treating people fairly (equity) rather than the same (equality)
and strive to accommodate differences.
|Training is available to increase board members’ skills and awareness.||Orange|
|The majority of board members are aware of the value of all of the different board members and of the need for different histories and perspectives.||Orange|
|There may be a few board members who question the need for so many different perspectives on the board (and the time it takes to incorporate all of these different ideas!).||Orange|
|Board members who don’t come from identities that have historically held positions of power and privilege, don’t trust that they will be fully welcomed and included (and don’t expect it)||Orange|
|All board members are seen as valuable members, they enrich and contribute to the governance of the organization.||Green|
|Diversity is the norm.||Green|
|Board members are willing to talk about difference and diversity to each other even when it is painful, uncomfortable, or brings challenging issues to light.||Green|
|All kinds of differences are respected and valued as opportunities for learning and problem solving, and board members have the skills and support to engage in hard conversations.||Green|
|Cultural change is embraced, with all board members accepting and articulating how and why diversity and
inclusion is integral to the organization’s success and wellbeing, and seeing them as everyone’s responsibility.
|Tally the number that you checked in each category and write it in the box beside the corresponding part|
|Which box did you check the most boxes beside?
Look at the definition that corresponds to that section. Although you may have checked a few boxes in other categories, it is likely that this category is the place where your board is currently functioning. If you checked a similar number of boxes beside more than one section, this indicates that your board is in transition from one category to the next.
The purpose of this assessment tool is not to define your board, but rather gives you a place to begin a conversation with your board about how to continue to cultivate healthy practices and make changes where necessary to build a stronger culture of inclusion.
Diversity and difference are barely on the radar, and there is no recognition of the value that inclusion brings to the board or the organization. Overt or subtle discrimination is present. When a discriminatory incident happens, it may be minimized and there is no attempt at redress. Individuals who face discrimination must deal with any of its negative impacts without support. There is also the feeling of not being valued or respected. Individuals can feel that they don’t belong, and that their perspectives are not welcomed. There is a very entrenched/simplistic sense of who is seen as “normal” and who is seen as “different”.
There is some effort made to welcome under-represented people onto your board, based on a belief that all people are equal and so should be given equal opportunities for participation. Discrimination is seen as somewhat important to address, but actions taken to address it lack adequate resources, do not happen consistently and are ad hoc.
The board has made an official statement about the importance of inclusion and diversity, and a structural understanding of inclusion and inequity is being advanced in the formation of policies and procedures. Interventions are planned with the goal to incorporate more equitable practices and attitudes into the entire organization. People have made verbal commitments to inclusion work.
Long-term, broad-reaching strategic measures are taken to decrease barriers to participation for people who have long been marginalized, with the understanding that focusing energy on those with the most barriers is important for everyone. Strategies to transform processes that maintain systemic discrimination and provisions for measurement and accountability are in operation. Efforts are made to understand and address the root causes and systemic issues that lead to exclusion and marginalization. When discrimination happens there are policies and procedures in place to address them.
|Green||Culture of inclusion
All layers of identity and difference are considered and supported, and systemic processes for maintaining inclusion are fully woven into the organization. The value of all people is a widely held value, and everyone is comfortable with and sees the benefits of diversity, so exclusionary incidents rarely happen. Continuous improvement of inclusion is embedded within the organization. Inclusion is a way of life and all members are supported to reach their full potential.
- Please note: Building a culture in which exclusionary or discriminatory incidents rarely happen is very different than having a governance board culture where the people on the board with power and privilege are not aware that others are being excluded through language, structures or practices. A culture where exclusionary or discriminatory incidents rarely happen is not often a culture that forms organically. Instead, it requires deliberate discussion and action often over an extended period of time. ↵