Tokenism: How Diversity Efforts Go Wrong And What You Can Do To Avoid It

  • Transparency: a behind-the-scenes look at my day-to-day.
  • Inclusivity: bringing others along in the journey.

Tokenism: Diversity Gone Wrong



What Is Tokenism?

Examples Of Tokenism

  • Your Black colleague is invited to attend a meeting, but no one asks for her opinion, her research, or her thoughts on the issue at hand
  • Your marketing team posts photos of the only two diverse employees to show how woke your company is
  • Your boss frequently mentions having a lesbian and an Asian woman on his team — but doesn’t call out the identities of his other employees
  • Your colleague is promoted to a managerial role — but her budget, influence, number of direct reports, or pay doesn’t increase

A Package Deal: Diversity + Equity + Inclusion

  • Sentiment on company diversity was 52% positive and 31% negative
  • Sentiment on inclusion was 29% positive and 61% negative

Steps You Can Take Right Now To Move Toward Inclusion

  1. I don’t have to hide who I am at work.
  2. Administrative tasks are distributed fairly.
  3. I am given enough resources to do my job.
  4. My opinions are valued and taken seriously.
  5. I have a buddy at work that I can go to when things get difficult.
  6. I believe my company is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  7. I am comfortable having conversations at work about bias, inequity, and injustice.
  8. I can go to the leadership team when I have questions or feedback, and they care about what I have to say.



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Katica Roy

Katica Roy


CEO of Pipeline Equity | Gender Economist | Award-Winning Leader | On a mission to achieve gender equity, once and for all.