Inclusion on Purpose: An Intersectional Approach to Creating a Culture of Belonging at Work
By Ruchika Tulshyan
MIT Press, 296 pp., $29.95
As a first-generation American woman of Afro-Caribbean descent, navigating systemic racism personally, publicly, and professionally has been a lifelong journey filled with trepidation, caution signals, and inauthentic gestures. Yet, from Tulshyan's book, hope springs eternal. Despite my affinity for the increased relatability I found in this book, Inclusion on Purpose is for anyone who wants to change leadership's priorities around what it means to open the door, come in, and have a seat at the C-suite table.
The book is divided into three parts. Part 1 identifies the hazardous systems, thought patterns, and microaggressions that create barriers to empathy and advocacy for women of color and suggests how to change them. Part 2 characterizes the ever-elusive inclusive leader—the one with the equitable mindset and willingness to contribute to creating organizational norms regarding equity. And Part 3 draws upon basic references of futures thinking. Between the sections, Tulshyan interweaves frameworks of her design that she leverages to clarify her arguments.
Tulshyan positions her book as a counterpoint to a well-recognized, female-oriented diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy; creates a call for the critical, personal action of questioning all the systems that coordinate everyday workplace activities; and describes how inclusion, equity, and no-tolerance policies for racist incivility and exclusion activities are only short-term solutions in the quest for true DEI structures that function effectively. After reading this book, I can dare to believe that I, too, can contribute to a real and raw conversation within talent development circles on what is truly needed to create the mindset required to dismantle the institutionalization of racism, incivility, and exclusivity.
This book is for any leader or aspiring leader:
- Who is seeking a tool to help them identify whether their workplace is ready to engage in a series of tough, uncomfortable conversations around privilege and DEI
- Who has already navigated those tough conversations and is now ready to identify the next steps in strategically fostering a culture of acknowledging, embracing, and otherwise including women of color in institutional conversations
- Who wants to take ownership of their own inner narrative so they can be prepared to lend a listening ear and actively contribute to creating equity where they work
Maybe there's a future to be forged that is a bit better than our present.