SAFE SPACE

“What is the point of winning it all at the cost of not treating everyone fairly or not including everyone?”

Greetings to you all. When I opened this safe space for me to express my views I thought I would be a regular but it turns out getting inspiration doesn’t come so often, yet I always want to write from the heart.

Today I want to address the issue of Diversity and inclusion. Choosing to write about it doesn’t make me an expert on the issue and doesn’t mean I am a professor of Diversity and inclusion. However, I have had my fair bit of experiences where I felt excluded. Many times we shy away from this topic but it is very important for all of us to educate ourselves and get a better understanding of what diversity and inclusion really means. According to google, diversity means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences. These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies and Inclusion means the practice or policy of providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized, such as members of other minority groups. Like I said, am not a diversity and inclusion professor.

If you don’t educate yourself or challenge non inclusive behaviour then your part of the problem! I am not always the bold one, and many things have happened to me where I stayed silent! No one should ever stay silent when such incidents happen. This kind of behaviour can happen to anyone from anywhere, be it a work place, gatherings or a football pitch. I have personally faced this kind of behaviour on the pitch before and like I said I choose not to say anything because, at times we feel it’s better to keep the peace of everyone by staying silent and am guilty for that. When we stay silent we don’t help others who would face this behaviour after us. I encourage speaking to a close friend in case you feel you can’t address the issue by yourself but confronting formally is always the best way.

Many times we are all guilty for subconsciously categorising people and having assumptions about who people are yet it’s not exactly the reality, that’s what we call non conscious bias. Always endeavour to find out the reason why people do certain things, that way your not guilty of having assumptions and treating people unfairly or putting them under situations where they will feel left out because when people feel left out, they don’t feel safe, and they may not be able to engage or participate to their full potential at work or on the pitch. Everyone has the right to be treated fairly and with respect regardless of their gender, religion, age and ethnicity. Always, let’s be thoughtful about the language we use when speaking to others. How we talk to each other both verbally and non-verbally matters. Organisations should endeavour to have diversity and inclusion courses in work places so as to educate all staff. Diversity and inclusion officers should also be nominated as part of teams.

We are all individuals with unique traits , respecting someone’s privacy is as important as letting them use their voice , everyone must have the opportunity to use their voice but also people must listen. Including others strengthens reputations, broadens the work pool, people get to share diverse ideas and brings the best out of people. Ensuring diversity and inclusion is everyone’s responsibility. These are unwritten rules – were using our common sense comes into play. Basing on what I went through, it makes you feel like giving up on everything!

knowing that you can be yourself and speak freely can create a happier environment to thrive. It also allows room to do mistakes and learn from them. A diverse and inclusive work environment increases innovation, creativity, diversity of thought and satisfaction.

Winning in life is very good, winning Olympic medals is great and winning football matches and trophies is amazing, but what is the point of winning it all at the cost of not treating everyone fairly or not including everyone?

Author: Jean Sseninde

Forbes 30 under 30 Finalist 2019 | Footballer Uganda Women's National Team | CEO Sseninde Foundation | Founder Sseninde Women's Development Cup | CAF Women’s Football Committee

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