Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
At BirthWorks International a diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplace is one where all employees, trainers, contractors, members, students and volunteers feels valued and respected. We are committed to a non-discriminatory approach and provide equal opportunity for employment and advancement in all of our programs and worksites. We respect and value diverse life experiences and heritages and ensure that all voices are valued and heard. We’re committed to modeling diversity and inclusion for the entire birth industry of the nonprofit sector, and to maintaining an inclusive environment with equitable treatment for all. In this vision, we do not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion (creed), national origin (ancestry), gender, gender expression, sexual orientation or identity, age, size, disability, education, marital status, or military status, in any activities or operations – we welcome all.
To provide informed, authentic leadership for cultural equity, BirthWorks International strives to:
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- See diversity, inclusion, and equity as both connected to our mission and critical to ensure the well-being of our staff and the professional and parent communities we serve.
- Acknowledge and dismantle any inequities within our policies, systems, programs, and services, and update and report organizational progress.
- Explore potential underlying, unquestioned assumptions that interfere with inclusiveness.
- Advocate for and support board-level thinking about how systemic inequities impact our organization’s work, and how best to address that in a way that is consistent with our mission.
- Help to challenge assumptions about what it takes to be a strong leader at our organization, and who is well-positioned to provide leadership.
- Practice and encourage transparent communication in all interactions.
- Commit time and resources to expand more diverse leadership within our Board of Directors and related committees, our Board of Advisors, our staff and contractors. We also commit time and resources for diversity (and outreach to diversity the population) of students (aspiring professionals) and other health and medical professionals who attend (or are interested in attending) our training workshops and certification programs, as well as for parents who attend (or are interested in attending) our parents classes and workshops.
- Lead with respect and tolerance. We expect all representatives or our organization and employees to embrace what we strive for and to express it in workplace interactions and through everyday practices.
BirthWorks International abides by the following action items to promote diversity and inclusion:
- Pursue cultural competency throughout our organization by regularly sharing about opportunities for and/or creating substantive learning opportunities as well as by creating formal, transparent policies.
- Consider and act on opportunities that arise to generate and aggregating quantitative and qualitative research related to equity to make incremental, measurable progress toward the visibility of our diversity, inclusion, and equity efforts. Once the content is curated it will be added to our website so others can access it.
- Improve our cultural leadership pipeline by creating and supporting programs and policies that foster leadership that reflects the diversity of the United States and more global society, and empowers all mothers, parents and people interested in becoming better parents and birth workers.
- Pool resources and expand offerings for underrepresented constituents by growing connections with other birth, parent and related organizations committed to diversity and inclusion efforts. Please reach out to us if you are interested in working with us in any way.
- Consider developing and presenting sessions (or bringing in experts) on diversity, inclusion, and equity to provide information and resources internally, and to members, the community, and the birth and parent education industry.
- Developing a system for being more intentional and conscious of bias during our hiring, promoting, or evaluating processes. Train our staff, Board, team and other representatives on equitable practices.
- Include a salary range with all public job descriptions.
- As we can, we will advocate for public and private-sector policy that promotes diversity, inclusion, and equity.
- Given opportunities and as needs arise, we will take a stand to challenge systems and policies that create inequity, oppression and disparity.
New Website Development ~ Words & Images
Through our new website development, we considered the impact of our language choices, and did our best to consciously chose both inclusive, affirming language and images that might make a difference for people we serve. We hope the choices reflect fully the representation of diverse parents and varied types of families. We aim to open opportunities to all parents and any aspiring professionals, as well as hopefully help unwind some barriers to inequity, oppression and disparity.
Some considerations for affirming language that is most respectful and effective included:
- use of gender-neutral language at times, including:
- considerations of when she/her or he/his could be replaced by they/their
- replacing gender couple-focused terms (like mother/father or wife/husband) with inclusive terms like mothers and their partners/partners/both parents or spouse/partner/life partner for the parent supporting the other through pregnancy/birth
- minimizing gendered words like woman/mother/mom in certain contexts, still keeping communication genuine
- terms like expectant/laboring/birthing/gestational parent to describe the pregnant person who gives birth
- language that does not assume the “mother” has a partner/the baby has a second parent:
- use of words to describe the mother’s person/people like support person/birth partner/supporting partner/caregiver/friend/family member/adult/doula, etc.
- Breast-feeding or nursing-neutral language – such as lactation/baby feeding/chest-feeding for those preferring different identification words for how baby is fed
Useful DEI inspiration from other birth organizations:
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