Now more than ever, ensuring diversity and inclusion in the workforce is a business imperative. New research by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media at Mount Saint Mary’s University is providing organizations with a roadmap to create cultural equity and inclusion across their labor force.
Licensing International, an association of entertainment and retail licensing professionals, commissioned the Institute to assess the current state of diversity in its member organizations. The results of the benchmark study, “The State of Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) in the Licensing Community,” were presented on August 3 to a virtual audience of licensing industry colleagues.
“We are a data-driven institution, and what makes us unique is that we use an intersectional lens,” said Madeline Di Nonno, CEO of the Institute. “When we do our studies, we look at six dimensions: gender, race, LGBTQ+, disability, age and body size.”
The Institute used a two-part methodology to conduct its research: a membership survey with 169 respondents from 37 countries and an analysis of 896 CEOs.
“What we found overall is that 30% of companies in the licensing sector currently have a D&I program in place,” said Di Nonno. However, “only 10% have budgeted financial support to those programs.”
Di Nonno offered several key recommendations for Licensing International members to use in creating a path forward for D&I initiatives. “Number one is tracking. You can’t measure what you can’t see,” she said. “The second is to set concrete goals. And the third is to commit to regular D&I assessments. You have to be in it for the long haul, not just for hiring, but also for promotion, which is incredibly important for retention.”
The Institute also developed a tool kit to help organizations within the licensing sector develop and implement effective diversity and inclusion programs tailored to each workplace.
Di Nonno concluded with a challenge for everyone to widen their perspectives. “Think broadly when it comes to D&I,” she said. “Use an intersectional lens. What about other communities? Take a look at not only your gender and your race, but your LGBTQ+, your disabilities, and actually your ageism.”
Participants found the research insightful and renewed their commitment to increase diversity within their organizations.
“At the end of the day, multiple points of view drive innovation, which drives dollars,” said Bryony Bouyer, Hasbro’s senior vice president, diversity & inclusion and multicultural strategies.
The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media at Mount Saint Mary’s University works collaboratively with the entertainment and media industries to reduce negative stereotyping and to achieve cultural equity and inclusion in family media and entertainment. For more information on the Institute, visit www.seejane.org.