Diversity is a Long-term Plan, Not a Short-term Solution

Steps to Increase Inclusion and Diversity

Increasing inclusion and diversity in the standards development process starts with inviting all genders to the conversation. For a myriad of reasons, women and other under-represented may feel discouraged from signing up for a committee, from raising their voice in meetings, and from pursuing a standardization career. Addressing those issues to increase inclusion and diversity will take time and efforts are needed to develop pathways for those interested in standards to find their footing and begin to engage. 

The Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) has developed the ‘Gender Diversity In Innovation Toolkit’ to help organizations achieve gender parity in innovation. [1] While the tool tips are focused on increasing the number of women inventing and seeking patents, they can be equally applied by standards developing organizations (SDOs) to increase engagement with women members. Surveying your membership, asking those in minority categories (e.g. women, international members) why they participate or what prevents them from participating, will assist you in identifying the root causes affecting your industry. 

Next, take action. Start small, see what works and doesn’t work and grow from there. In Massachusetts, Raytheon has taken a bold step in partnering with the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts to teach scouts cryptography, forensics, social engineering, and general skills when working with cybersecurity. [2] Standards developers can take similar actions with college students and those just entering the workforce. Teaching them the building blocks of standards development and creating a growth program to help them achieve successes as a standards professional. 

This is an ongoing topic the Women in Standards will continue to explore and report back to our membership. Keep an eye out for future newsletters for additional tips and surveys to help you and your organization increase it’s balance, inclusiveness, and to attract new members from under represented categories such as consumers and other end users.

[1] Gender Diversity in Innovation Toolkit, published by the Intellectual Property Owners Association, https://www.ipo.org/index.php/diversity-in-innovation-toolkit/
[2] Girls invited to enter cybersecurity competition in Lowell, published by the Boston Globe, September 2019, https://www2.bostonglobe.com/metro/globelocal/2019/09/25/girls-invited-enter-cybersecurity-competition-lowell/27qPk3GdKSknBDJLYJpubM/story.html

Tip: For addition resources and tips, check out the Inclusion in Standards resource page.

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