Accountability Report - October 2021 Update
(read the previous report)
Please note: The following report deals with whiteness, anti-Blackness, and racism.
The title of this report, Pathways to Racial Equity, was in large part inspired by East Fork's page on equity. Their work with The Adaway Group led us to discover Desiree Adaway's teachings and workshops, which the team has attended and learned from. We want to acknowledge and thank these two organizations for their models for accountability.
Since our first report in May 2021, our team has met at least once per month to discuss, debrief, and strategize actionable steps on topics of racial equity as it relates to our content, business, and team. Our humble work is put into a sharp context when thinking about all that has transpired (and not transpired) in our society since we put out the first report: COVID-19 is still disproportionately straining the well-being of communities of color in many areas; the overall cultural conversation in the US and globally on historic racial injustices continues; and the lack of diverse representation in many industries still continues. The resources and recognition for entrepreneurs and small businesses run by people of color similarly remains dismal when compared to those run by their white counterparts. (As I am writing this, the Emmy’s have just concluded, and a measly number of awards were granted to Black actors, creators, and producers, even though people of color comprised forty-four percent of the nominees.)
As a small business, we recognize our responsibility to do our part to challenge these structural inequities that we continue to see, starting with our own work in content and media. As part of this work, the team and I have continued to make progress towards the 6-month action items we laid out in our initial report; you’ll see the full details of our action plan in full below. As you’ll see, for the sake of transparency with our readers, not all of our action items were able to be completed; we’ve clearly noted the status of said action items to provide clarity.
Overall, this has been a productive exercise in seeing what our team can realistically achieve (or not achieve) in this period of time. This practice also clarified for us the areas that need more intentional strategizing and work (for example, our giving-back strategy) rather than a quick launch, which might result in us being less thoughtful in our approach than is our goal. Undergoing this work has only solidified my and our understanding that this work isn’t easy or fast. It requires ongoing dedication, active conversations, and learning from our mistakes (and from feedback from our readers), and acceptance that sometimes, especially when it comes to something as important as racial equity, there just might not be glaringly “right” or easy answers for each and every task and each and every question — but we’ll continue to try our very best.
I’m looking forward to continuing the necessary work to improve how diverse, inclusive, and truly representative of our readership both our team and content are, and I know this is just the beginning and that we have a long way to go. While 2020 was an eye-opening year for us, there’s clearly still a lot to be done. I’m hopeful that with patience and persistence, we’ll continue to make positive changes and improvements to create stronger and more inclusive content and products for our audience.
If you have any questions, thoughts, or feedback, know that we appreciate your time and energy, and we want to hear from you. Our community is stronger, and more able to battle internal, unconscious bias, when we all contribute. Please feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Founder, Girls’ Night In
This section covers what our team looks like and what practices we are developing in pursuit of racial equity.
Our company currently employs 6 full-time staff, including our Founder. The below data is based on voluntary self-reporting from an August 2021 survey, with 83% participation from the team. This information is not inclusive of extended staff, such as consultants, contractors, or interns. Data is surveyed based on EEOC adherent categories.
Current team makeup: (see our previous breakdown in our first report)
6 full-time staff
Southeast Asian: 20%
East Asian: 20%
American Indian/Alaskan Native: 0.00%
Middle Eastern: 0.00%
Pacific Islander: 0.00%
South Asian: 0.00%
As you review our data it is noteworthy to keep in mind that we are a team of six full-time employees. Our team has also decreased in size since the last report. In addition, we have no plans to hire more full-time staff in the near future. While we realistically are unable to change the makeup of our full-time team in the short-term, we’ve identified ways in which we can work against systemic racism and take a critical lens to ways we represent white dominant culture as a team.
These actionable steps are what you’ll see in our 6-month plan, below.
Next 6 Months’ Goals
Past 6 Months' Progress
Using our platform and business as a mode to elevate and support causes we believe in has long been a practice of Girls’ Night In. Following our first report, we set out to be more intentional and less reactionary about how and when we give back, and what organizations we support. Our goal is to create strong and ongoing relationships with nonprofits and/or organizations aligned with our mission and values in order to have a greater and more focused impact.
In order to do so, during the past six months, our team dedicated time and space in both meetings and emails to refining and defining our core company values, with the intention of using these as guiding principles to inform the action items we had originally committed to. Narrowing in on the core principles that matter most to us as a team helped crystalize the direction of our giving back strategy and fundraising efforts.
As such, we are now in the process of actively addressing the action items we initially slated to complete in the past six months and look forward to sharing more in the coming months.
Next 6 Months' Action Items
This section is about prioritizing equitable access to opportunities — for people, brands, and our own employees — whether that means getting in front of our audience, getting equitable opportunities for advancement, or opportunities for pay. Previously, some of these goals were categorized differently, but we feel that “equitable pay and access” suits these goals better.
Next 6 months’ goals:
This section is about who we represent in our content, and whose voices and work we include in the development of that content. This can mean: Who is writing our content (is the majority white individuals)? What brands are we featuring? How diverse and representative are we in our marketing imagery and efforts? And how are we including our audience in the development of our content? Previously, some of these goals were scattered across various departments; we feel that greater representation and inclusivity is a company-wide goal and thus we’ve marked it as a major category for our work.
Next 6 months’ goals:
This section is about who can access our content, website, newsletter, and the products that we feature.
Next 6 months’ goals:
Thanks for reading. We know this is just the beginning and that we can do better as we work to add more action steps in this plan towards racial equity. If you have suggestions on people or businesses we should be supporting, please email resources to email@example.com. We thank you in advance for your energy and your labor, and for trusting us as we learn and grow together.
Anti-racism: The practice of actively fighting against racism and white supremacy, and promoting racial tolerance.
Diversity: The range of human identity including but not limited to race, culture, background, class, sexuality, and more. Diversity helps us understand ways that we are similar to and different from one another, but it does not necessitate us to do anything with that information. It is a basic level of understanding that does not require connection, collaboration, or compassion. (Source)
Inclusion: The practice of including all people, especially those who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized on the basis of their race, culture, background, class, sexuality, disability and more. While diversity can be counted, inclusion is felt. (Source: Whiteness at Work, Adaway Group)
POC: Person/People of Color
Racial equity: An active process where power and resources are distributed so everyone has what they need to thrive. It is an acknowledgement of power and systemic structures. (Source: Whiteness at Work, Adaway Group)
Representation: Seeing and appreciating one’s race, background, culture, or other form of identity being included and portrayed accurately and fairly.
Structural racism: The overarching system of racial bias across institutions and society. These systems give privileges to white people resulting in disadvantages to people of color. (Source)
White dominant culture: A system in which white people have social, political, historical, or institutional dominance over people of other backgrounds.
White privilege: Social and economic advantages that white people have by virtue of their race, in a culture characterized by racial inequality. (Source)
WOC: Woman/Women of Color