Often, people want to support inclusion in the workplace but don’t know how. Whenever I attend a panel, write an article or have a discussion on the topic, people are always asking me, “What can I do?”

This is how you make me feel like I belong. 

Learn intersectionality. It helps if you understand that I face challenges as a woman, but those challenges are compounded since I’m a woman of color and a mother

Know I earned this. I am not a diversity hire. I have the education and skills. This role was not between me and the “best person for the job.”

Recognize me. Credit my work, not just to me but to others. Behind every successful idea is a bunch of back-end work.

Support my growth. Mentor me and sponsor me. We may not be alike, but you have something I don’t: access. See my unique potential and invest in me.

Understand my barriers. You can’t see microaggressions, hidden biases and systemic racism. Just because you haven’t experienced them, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. 

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Give me influence. I value stretch projects. Nothing makes me feel more included than when I’m in a decision-making role.

Ask my pronouns. Use inclusive language and realize everyone’s realities are different. I go by she/her but others go by they/them. 

Give me a platform. Representation matters. We need others who look like me speaking on panels, writing articles and sharing their expertise. Consider sharing your opportunities. 

If you’re a woman, help other women. One person’s gain doesn’t mean another person’s loss. There is space for all of us, so lift while you climb.

Why “lean in?” Telling me to try harder implies I’m not trying hard enough already. Change systems, not individuals. 

All of this needs to be supported by leadership and policies that prioritize inclusion in the workplace. If you’re still unsure, ask questions, listen to answers and create safe spaces. This isn’t on one person, but no one person is exempt from creating an inclusive culture.

What makes you feel included?

Diya Khanna, columnist for Seattle Times Explore
Diya Khanna, columnist for Seattle Times Explore