Updates and useful information from the largest ethnic support organisation in the UK

Contact: Anjum Khan T: 0845 603 6650

Making waves: Shani Dhanda

How tackling diversity can help boost profits

A diversity and inclusion specialist has challenged businesses to tackle diversity in the workplace - and boost profits. Baljit Kaur, of Sutton Coldfield-based Innate

Consultancy, said that there was a clear link between profitability and diversity. She said: “The link between profitability and

diversity has been proven by management consultancy firms such as Catalyst and McKinsey who say a business is likely to perform better financially if its workforce is more diverse. “McKinsey’s research found that diversity has

Inspirational speaker

to join celebration A disability rights advocate will speak at an International Women’s Day celebration organised and hosted by Asian Business Chamber of Commerce. The event, on 8 March, celebrates the

achievements of women locally, nationally and internationally. Among the speakers will be Shani Dhanda, founder of several disability support and advocacy organisations. She is also the founder of the UK’s first

official discount card for disabled people, the Diversability Card and the Asian Disability Network, which provides support and education for the Asian community on disability matters. She is also the founder of the UK’s first

Asian Women Festival, which aims to empower and celebrate Asian women. In addition Shani, who has brittle bone

disease, is a speaker and columnist on disability and inclusion and holds a number of non-executive roles in regional international charities. Shani said: “I’m really passionate about

representation and creating everyday equality for all. After continually feeling underrepresented in society, I was motivated to challenge perceptions and change attitudes by becoming the change that I wanted to see. “Until societal and cultural views of

disability improve, disabled people will continue to face a range of negative attitudes across all aspects of daily life.” Anjum Khan, director of ABCC, said:

“Shani is an incredibly inspiring advocate and social entrepreneur, who is making huge waves in advocacy and disability rights. “Our International Women’s Day event

has grown significantly over the years, and is a key date in the ABCC’s diary. “The event will be a celebration of the inspiring women who are excelling the in Greater Birmingham and beyond.”

52 CHAMBERLINK March 2019

the most obvious impact on financial performance when it is found in executive teams and roles that are directly in charge of generating revenue.

‘Changing attitudes and behaviours are fundamental to creating an inclusive culture’

“It also found that the correlation between

ethnic diversity and financial performance is even more strongly pronounced for UK companies than elsewhere.” Despite this, Ms Kaur said that there were still

obstacles blocking diversity at many businesses and organisations, and remedying that included improving awareness among staff. She said that this would help employees to

become more aware of their ‘unconscious biases’ and understand how easy it was to ‘misrecognise and categorise people’. She added that in some organisations, employees may not know when ‘banter’ crossed the line and became unacceptable. “Changing attitudes and behaviours are fundamental to creating an inclusive culture,”

she said. Another problem blocking progress can be found in an organisation’s recruitment, review and retention processes, which are sometimes based on ‘narrow attraction strategies, nepotistic and biased attitudes’ which tended to limit the talent and skills available to an organisation. She said: “Businesses need to ensure there is a

shift in mindsets and the focus should be on making progress rather than having several ad- hoc initiatives which will remain tick-the-box initiatives unless there is corresponding change.” Ms Kaur recently held a diversity and inclusion

workshop as part of the Asian Business Chamber of Commerce’s Diversity and Leadership Pledge initiative.

Festival to empower Asian women

A one-day festival aimed at empowering Asian women is being held in Birmingham this month. The event – the ‘Asian Woman Festival’ – is

the first of its kind, and will be setting out to ‘smash stereotypes and stigma’. It will take place at New Bingley Hall on 30

March, and will feature a number of speakers, including a keynote address by spoken word artist Jaspreet Kaur, who is also known as ‘Behind the Netra’. Singer-songwriter Amrit Kaur Lohia, whose notable performances include Glastonbury Festival 2017, MTV, Somerset House Summer Series, and the UN General Assembly for Unicef, will also be appearing. Other attractions include a bazaar spotlighting the work of Asian female entrepreneurs and others. Organisations such as NHS organ donation

and West Midlands Police will be part of the day, in order to increase their Asian representation.

According to festival founder Shani Dhanda

(see story, left), the theme for the inaugural event will be ‘identity’. She said: “Our platform creates an open

dialogue for Asian women to explore and express their views around navigating a dual identity coupled with cultural expectations in 21st-Century Britain. There are often times in our lives we feel conflicted and even guilty in our efforts to juggle our dual identities. Until now, there hasn’t been an opportunity to talk about how living in contradiction becomes second nature. “We have carefully curated panel talks,

workshops, performances, an exhibition, festival bazaar and much more.” An art exhibition curated especially for the

festival, ‘Musings of Identity’, will display the work of up to 30 different artists, highlight significant topics surrounding female identity.

Baljit Kaur

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