The Midterm Elections: A Victory for Diversity and Inclusion
A few weeks have passed since the November midterm elections, and now that the dust has settled, it’s time to examine how the results might shape greater diversity and inclusion efforts, particularly in the tech community.
Overall, the election results represent big wins for diversity. Come January, over 100 women, from both sides of the aisle, will head to Washington. Many of them are women of color. We saw several norm-shattering “disrupters,” such as Deb Haaland of New Mexico and Sharice Davids of Kansas, who will be the first Native American women to serve in Congress. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota will be the first Muslim women in Congress. Texas also elected its first two Latina congresswomen, Sylvia Garcia and Veronica Escobar. At age 29, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez of New York will be the youngest woman to serve in Congress.
There’s much talk about the “pink wave,” but we also saw what many call the “rainbow wave.” Up and down ballots nationally, more than 400 LGBTQIA+ candidates were in the running, and over 150 won. For instance, Kate Brown, an openly bisexual woman, won her reelection campaign for Oregon governor. Colorado elected Jared Polis, who will become the United States’ first openly gay man to serve as governor. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona is the first openly bisexual person elected to the United States Senate.
Our government, from local to federal levels, is now poised to more closely resemble the people it represents. But how will this translate to helping Diversity and Inclusion beyond city halls and Capitol Hill?
Well, perhaps in a few ways. According to The New Yorker, “in general, the female candidates who won foregrounded fundamental issues of equity and access for all Americans, especially regarding health care and education.” These are issues that particularly affect women and people of color. Thus, with a government that is more focused on addressing concerns of equity and access, more people across our country can thrive. If people have access to education and aren’t plagued by healthcare costs, they will likely have more professional opportunities and perform better in the workplace.
Tanya Tarr, a negotiation expert and Forbes contributor, points out that the election results could help women and boost equal pay laws. An old saying goes, “if you don’t have a seat at the table, you’re probably on the menu.” If women aren’t present when important decisions are made, then their concerns may go unaddressed, or worse, gone against. Policies decided locally, statewide, and federally have huge impacts on equality and corporate responsibility.
From new perspectives, new ideas emerge. Perhaps this is the most exciting outcome opportunity. Study after study shows that diversity and inclusion drive innovation and lead to more successful performance. According to McKinsey, ethnically diverse businesses are 35% more productive and 9% more profitable. Fresh blood and fresh voices will hopefully lead our government to develop new, innovative ways to solve some of our country’s greatest problems.
Only time will reveal the true impact of having a more diverse government, but there’s no question that for the many young people of our nation, seeing faces that resemble their own in positions of power will be game-changing.