BIMA sets new benchmark for digital inclusion and diversity

The council highlighted the sector’s issues in diversity and inclusion in its The Voices of our Industry report last year

BIMA – the UK’s largest digital and tech community – has named Nancy Rowe, head of inclusion and diversity at Publicis Sapient, as the new chair of its inclusion and diversity council, racing ahead in its ambitious plans for 2020.

In 2019, the council’s The Voices of Our Industry Report shone a spotlight on matters of inclusion and diversity (I&D) within the digital and tech sector. Among other things, the study found that career progression was negatively influenced by mental health (43%), gender (35%), neurodivergence (24%) and ethnicity (14%).

The Voices of Our Industry Report was a landmark moment for BIMA…,” said council co-president, Natalie Gross. “Now, I’m very much looking forward to seeing how Nancy and the team will use the findings of that report to improve the practical actions the council will take this year.”

A recent survey from the Institute of Coding also found that young people are discouraged from pursuing digital careers because of a lack of diversity, with one in 10 claiming they were put off digital education by diversity concerns, contributing to the nation’s growing gender gap in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics).

In related news: Institute of Coding short film highlights diversity issues in esports

In response to these findings, the council has outlined three primary goals for this year:

– To address under-representation or lack of representation based on gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity or mental health through the creation of toolkits and practice guides to help more organisations understand how to make meaningful change.
– To boost understanding of mental health and wellbeing in the digital workplace. The events will explore tailored, flexible work practices, remote working and other ways to ensure all voices are heard.
– To educate digital business leaders on the business imperative that underpins I&D through a series of roundtables.

On top of this, BIMA has a new survey planned for 2021, in which it will continue to explore the digital HR community, building on its understanding of the reality of inclusion and diversity across the sector. Joining Nancy are several new council members who bring a wealth of experience in D&I issues, and/or experience as industry practitioners supporting the marginalised or driving change. They include Kate Rand, group employee experience and inclusion director at Beyond; Simon Devereux, head of advertising learning and development at The Mill; and Reeha Alder, employee experience director at Kin + Carta Connect.

“I am delighted to be joining BIMA’s Inclusion and Diversity Council,” said Nancy Rowe. “Since its launch, the council has made huge steps in ensuring gender, age, ethnicity, diversity and neurodiversity are no longer fringe topics. They have helped place inclusivity at the hear of the industry and I’m looking forward to ensuring our work leads to real and lasting change in the workplace.”

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