Inclusivity at Events and How Far Can It Go
Swimming through the broad spectrum of inclusivity, where does it end for organizers in planning their events?
Article actual date: Mar 22, 2022
Inclusivity in events has been the talk of the town among event industry experts, which became more apparent during the pandemic. When most events were going virtual, we learned that inclusivity is not impossible, and as the world is slowly returning back to how it used to be pre-pandemic, we become aware that inclusivity is a necessity.
But the question is: how far can inclusivity go?
The Value of Inclusivity
Inclusivity is an important value for humanity. As a concept passed down through generations, inclusivity evolves into a broader spectrum that touches every aspect of human life.
Inclusivity teaches us empathy and encourages communities to function. It is a major goal, a dream to provide an environment, place, and situation where everyone is equal as a human. Inclusivity is precedence.
Inclusivity is applicable in every layer of life; either macro or micro, personal or professional.
Events as the Backbone of Inclusivity
Transforming the dream of inclusivity into reality seems to be far-fetched in many ways, but not for the event industry. Events are a compelling way to communicate with many people from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and locations. And this was all made possible with virtual events.
However, inclusivity is not exclusive only to certain types of events — live and hybrid also count.
Inclusivity goes hand in hand with accessibility. An inclusive event means it ensures that all content, features, and solutions are accessible to each attendee without any exception.
For live events, accessibility includes but is not limited to: closed caption for content, assisted listening device or sign-language translator on stage together with the speakers, as well as the availability of translated menu and brochures. Furthermore, the live event venue also provides prayer rooms for religious activities and private rooms for new mothers.
Whether hybrid or virtual, giving assurance to attendees regarding the possibility of accessing all available resources is a crucial point in manifesting the accessibility and inclusivity in an event.
Inclusivity in Events: How Far Can It Go?
When we talk about inclusivity, we can directly mention where the problem lies and what to fix without knowing where it will end, as it always evolves over time.
Inclusivity today is different from inclusivity a decade ago. Here is how inclusivity in event industries appears in three different forms: cultural and geographical; gender; neurodiversity and disability.
As non-binary and trans people are becoming more visible, it’s important to recognize they deserve a place in our tech conferences and diversity conversations.
Gender identity has become one major cultural shift among many in the past decade. Cultural evolution and various movements have encouraged trans and non-binary people to be more visible in the community.
Event professionals must be attuned to this change, and recognize that they deserve a place in the conferences, exhibitions, and conversations that are happening.
As gender is no longer seen as two different categories, organizers must ensure that every gender is welcomed to the events and that they have equal opportunities.
This should not be limited to event planning only: as a human being, it’s essential to learn about other people, what they need, and how to make them feel welcome in every situation.
Cultural, Geographical, and Linguistic Inclusivity: Breaking Down the Barrier
Internet and technology have overcome what used to be an impenetrable wall in the past. Now that location and cultural differences have been solved, linguistic barriers have not.
Catering to different languages has not become less important today. In fact, as organizers aim for a global audience for their events, language barrier is a crucial challenge to address pre, during, and post events.
While digital content like Video-on-Demands has closed captions, onsite events should provide live translations for attendees who come to the venue physically. Organizers can use third-party solutions and ask their tech providers to make it possible.
For non-native English speakers, even though they excel at the language, receiving content in their mother tongue brings a more authentic event experience in terms of comprehension and engagement. Thus, the availability of multilingual content is an immediate necessity.
Neuro and Disability-inclusive Events
It’s important to note that inclusivity, diversity, and accessibility are not limited to gender, religion, sexual orientation, and race. Neurodivergent and disabled people are also part of the community whose needs have to be accommodated in events.
While both stand on the opposite ends, they strike one similarity: the need for special care and treatment.
Neurodivergent is not a mental health illness — it’s a condition where the brain is not functioning in the way of what is considered “typical”. Neurodivergent people include those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), dyslexia, and many more.
On the other side, many event venues accommodate the disabled. But when it comes to attending an event, they need more than physical convenience and safety: highly accessible and understandable content should not be overlooked.
Organizers can use the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) standards as their accessibility measures in creating disability-friendly web content.
As event planners become more considerate in taking account of their needs, neuro-inclusive and disability-friendly events create a valuable experience for both organizers and attendees. Accommodating the different needs of diverse audiences in an event adds richness to its interaction and engagement.
In turn, it creates boundless opportunities where everyone with different backgrounds, mindsets, and perspectives mingle in one space and find themselves engaged in various activities from workshops, networking, and roundtable discussions.
The Essence of Inclusivity
Inclusivity in events goes beyond gaining as many benefits as possible out of event planning, but more importantly, adding a human touch and showing a humane side where everyone has equal opportunities regardless of their physical appearances, geographical location, and certain conditions that require special treatment.
Going forward, event planners should work on creating a friendlier environment for everyone to be comfortable enough to attend events. On a side note, inclusivity of an event makes the experience more wholesome.
Bringing inclusivity to events is a challenge, and will remain so. This is why it requires coordinated work from every layer of society to reach inclusivity, including event organizers.
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