Our society is data driven. From the stock market, corporate America, and sports, data is at the center of statistics.  In order to succeed in business, you have to understand data for productive analysis.

So what form of data is needed to support diversity and inclusion (D + I)? Joe Rominiecki from the Association Now provides a few answers.

The role of D+I is slowly evolving.  In the beginning, the main focus of D+I was to battle  racism / discrimination in corporate America.  Now it has evolved into “building a business case based on positive organizational development and bottom-line impact.”  D+I is in need of data to help identify and analyze target groups such as age, gender, race and socioeconomic status.

Vicki Deal-Williams, chief staff officer for multicultural affairs at the American Speech-Language-Hearing-Association (ASHA), states that data is necessary to make the case for underserved groups and for tracking the progress of D+I goals. Even though D+I data is needed, it is not easy to obtain. When seeking to acquiring personal information of individuals such as their race, it gets tricky. For some, personal data is sensitive and results in incomplete surveys.  

Rominiecki points out that the, “ASHA built a protocol for protecting members’ demographic information when it developed security policies and procedures for all forms of sensitive data, such as Social Security and credit card numbers.” In order to understand your members you have to develop proper protocols for members to feel comfortable in providing important information.  

The Ecological Society of America (ESA) “deployed a full membership survey related to diversity last summer, but it also asks members to provide or update their information when they join or renew, when they register for an event, or anytime they visit their online member profiles.” The Association of Women In Science (AWIS) obtains their data by email.  AWIS sends out templates to chapter leaders, who then email members to complete demographic questionnaires. Deal-Williams points that whatever information is obtain, it is also conveyed to members.