To see oneself as a learning organisation also means to question oneself again and again, to question each other and to leave one or the other question (un)solved. In the past year, one question has kept us very busy: What does it mean to do educational work in a diverse society?
Promoting diversity, both thematically and in terms of personnel, is more than just a buzzword: especially in political education, it is important to ensure that different aspects are perceived, addressed and changed.
It has been clear to us as a team for a long time that social plurality and diverse backgrounds are not sufficiently represented in our staff. Discrimination sensitivity is part of many simulation workshops, but in our everyday work with clients, freelancers and target groups, we have not yet consciously and specifically integrated our demands for discrimination-sensitive work. The question of how we can ensure that our educational materials can reach and appeal to many people also became more and more relevant to us.
In the exchange with each other, we therefore realised that we can still change a lot to make more discrimination-sensitive political education for everyone and to do justice as an organisation to a diverse society.
In line with our motto and attitude "We never stop learning", we began in early 2022 to focus more on diversity as an aspiration and lived practice in our work. For this purpose, interested colleagues set up a working group that met several times a month and soon raised even more questions for the whole organisation: Why is diversity-sensitive work important for us? What do we get out of it? What do our participants get out of it? How do we create spaces where everyone can feel comfortable and safe? What do we need to break down our own barriers? How can we overcome structural barriers?
Step by step
We quickly realised that organisational change can be slow, sometimes exhausting, but also exciting. Highly motivated, we worked on a more diversity-sensitive mission statement, took another look at one or two workshop concepts, discussed new ways of designing an application process or added our pronouns to the email signature. Small steps that sound minimal at first - for sure. But we see diversity as a lived practice less as a definite goal and more as a long-term path and direction.
Some milestones have already been reached:
- In a participatory process, we have integrated our common understanding of diversity into our internal mission statement, with which we express our will to engage in self-critical debate as an organisation.
- We have scrutinised our application process to get to the bottom of why hardly any people from underrepresented social groups apply to work for us. To do this, we met with experts from BQN, who offer counselling sessions on the topic of "Ensuring Diversity of Young People". We are now in the process of incorporating the suggestions into our upcoming recruitment procedures. Our aim is to improve our advertisements and subsequent processes so that structural barriers are removed and we offer jobs and environments that are welcoming to more people. From this we hope to increase the proportion of people with us whose life realities are currently still insufficiently represented.
- Not only because of our diversity efforts, but also as part of the general restructuring of planpolitik, we have elected two internal confidants who will receive special training in the area of diversity.
- We have chosen a diversity coordinator who will take on a structuring function in the process of diversity sensitisation. This person is the contact person and motor for organising internal training and exchange formats. After one year, the Diversity Task Force is now firmly anchored in terms of personnel.
And what's next?
We want to continue on this path in 2023. For us, this means defining new milestones, implementing the internal training request, and involving our freelancers - who are significantly involved in the successful implementation of most workshops - more in the process.
We also want to cover a broader range of topics and thus integrate the topic of diversity more where we are best at it: in simulation games and modular workshop content.
To be continued!