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Putting the ‘A’ in IDEA

Posted by: Matisse Hamel-Nelis
on 16, Jun 2022
from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

There is no denying that there has been a shift for the positive in the business world as organizations, big and small, work to embrace the concepts of inclusion, diversity and equity (IDE). However, we see companies on social media praise themselves for their latest IDE initiatives, only to find the content they share is inaccessible. And, just like that, their initiative is no longer inclusive.

So, how do we change this? I believe this starts with changing our vocabulary. Why are we only focusing on inclusion, diversity and equity when accessibility plays a vital role in ensuring those three concepts are fully achieved?

It's time to incorporate accessibility into our IDE initiatives. In other words, let's put the 'A' in IDEA.

It's not as easily forgettable when we add accessibility into the mix and our vocabulary. Every project would now have a caveat that it needs to meet the IDEA principles, not just the IDE ones.

Still a bit confused about how accessibility fits? Well, let's think about a dance party. We'll call it the IDEA Dance and explain how each concept plays a role in making it the best dance possible.

  • Inclusion: Being invited to dance on the dancefloor.
  • Diversity: Inviting people from different demographics to the party, like different ages, genders, races, ethnicities, religions, etc.
  • Equity: There is no dress code to attend the party. We all lead different lives and don't necessarily have the same resources at our disposal.
  • Accessibility: Everyone is able to access the dance floor without barriers. For example, having ramps, braille on signage, no flashing lights (strobe lights), and doorways large enough for a wheelchair to fit through with ease, just to name a few.

When we start incorporating accessibility into our day-to-day practices, we begin to remove barriers and truly become a more inclusive, diverse, and equitable world.

It's time to get the IDEA!

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