Cultivating an inclusive environment as we expand and retain our membership

By now, I hope you have all seen the theme for this year’s GFWC Convention – Celebrating Culture, Cultivating Connections. As the article in the GFWC News & Notes noted “cultural awareness promotes effective communication and profoundly increases the ability to appreciate and enjoy a variety of new people and experiences.”

As part of each of our membership role within our local organizations, we should be cultivating an inclusive mindset. As we think about recruitment and retention efforts for our organizations, we should be aware of our own unconscious biases.

What is unconscious bias? It is our brain’s tendency to categorize things in a way that reflects years of absorbing information from our surroundings. This can be a useful function due to the number of stimuli in our daily lives, but this unconscious bias can also lead to discrimination in times of hurry or stress.

What can we do to be aware of our unconscious bias?

  • Take time to understand others differences and situations.
  • Slow down. Don’t jump to assumptions.
  • Consider positive attributes of others.
  • Practice self-awareness to our own biases and stereotypes.
  • Demonstrate empathy.

Cultivating this inclusive mindset will improve the missions of our clubs by being fully representative of our communities. As the News & Notes mentioned, “connecting with each other as individuals, or in groups, gives us the opportunity to work together to bridge the cultural divides that hinder our efforts to have a positive impact in our communities and around the world.”



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