It’s hard to think that year after year we need to go back to the particular debate the validity associated with affirmative actions that purpose at the inclusion of socially underrepresented groups in workspaces.
The hot topic right now involves the professional social network, LinkedIn. The company, which has over 740 million users and is present in practically all nations, once again excluded job posts exclusively just for black and indigenous people in Brazil .
LinkedIn is a global business interpersonal platform that positions by itself as allies of diversity. So why, even so, did the business take this position in the face of opportunities that supposedly went in favor of what it defends?
I invite you to reflect on inclusion within selective processes – not only in Brazil, but in the world as a whole.
And if you like to get articles like this directly within your inbox, consider subscribing to our own interactive newsletter below!
Summarizing the case
It all started when the Brazilian research organization Laut advertised on LinkedIn a job position where Black and Indigenous candidates were preferred.
For Brazil, the ad was harmless (in fact, it was even reputable by many as a step to reverse inequality, especially in higher positions).
Then LinkedIn removed these job offers, explaining that the decision was based on the company’ s current global policy, which understands that “ people with the same talents must have access to the same opportunities ” indicating that affirmative actions are understood as discriminatory actions and create a situation of inequality between talents.
This had large (and bad) repercussions in the country. Dozens of large companies protested, federal prosecutors opened inquiries and activists sued.
The multinational company Natura& Co (also owner of Avon and The Body Shop) signed a manifesto of repudiation of LinkedIn’ s decision. Other giants like Oracle, Unilever, Bayer, STOMACH Inbev, and Santander also expressed support for the rejection initiatives.
And it has gone even further: Federal Public Ministry notified Linkedin to provide explanations about the case.
After all the pressure, LinkedIn had turned its approach and informed that it would change its policy for Latin America .
But, despite that, this episode puts us on alert about the need to reaffirm our position in relation to inclusion policies.
The word inequality
The word inequality has the power to cause different feelings in people, but never indifference. In the dictionary this word is explained as: character, state of affairs or people who are not equal to each other; dissimilarity, difference.
I would like to highlight here the passage that says “people who are not equal to each other” — and I couldn’ t agree more and reinforce that all people are different. Human diversity allows us to see the world with a wealth of divergent thoughts and plural means of being.
However , due to our differences or characteristics which make us up (race, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, origin or generation), we are put into a position of greater or lesser access to resources and opportunities.
As taught by Djamila Ribeiro, a Brazilian feminist thinker and writer, Social Locus allows us to observe how social dynamics reproduce and feed inequalities. In other words, affirmative actions do not produce inequalities as the employment platform tried to point out, but on the contrary, such actions seek to combat the myth of meritocracy and reduce disparities already experienced in the work market.
Brazilian is a South-American country using a historical miscigenation due to the unique indigenous population, European colonization, and slaves coming from The african continent as little as two centuries ago. Althought the country was the last one on the continent to end slavery, society’s formation is comparable to most of the American countries.
Affirmative action isn’t brand new in Brazil. Although the Racial/Social Quotas were only approved in 2012 , actions aimed at reserving areas in universities for low-income, black and indigenous students have been taking place since the 2000s.
It is also important to remember that, since 1991, Brazilian has a law that provides a number of reserved job vacancies in companies for people with disabilities, in order to ensure the inclusion of this population in the job market.
Along these same ranges, there is already a supply for quotas by sex in political parties and even reservation of seats for women in Legislative Houses whatsoever federal levels. In both situations, 30%.
In the global context it is possible to find policies that are very similar to these. In India, for example , since the 1930s there have been ethnic quotas in all public services. In Malaysia , Australia and Brand new Zealand there are also policies that seek to reduce inequality in between social groups.
In the US, although there is no law that obliges Universities to reserve ethnic quotas, since the 1960s we now have noticed movements within these spaces in the search for a variety of candidates to open positions. The US Supreme Court allows Universities to utilize social aspects such as race and sex, for example , as one of the factors for accepting students.
Thereby, we verify that affirmative actions are used by different nations and in different contexts as being a powerful tool in the reduction of social inequalities.
We’ ve come a long way, but it’ s still not enough
Time for Brazil, we can see some outcomes of affirmative actions. Between 2010-2019 we noticed an increase of 400% in the number of black college students in Brazilian Universities . For the first time, the population that reports itself as black or even mixed-race started to represent more than half of higher education students within the public universities, reaching a existence of 50. 3%. However , this does not translate into more black people in companies’ workforce.
According to IDados Company, based on data from the IBGE’ s (Brazilian Institute associated with Geography and Statistics) National Survey for Household Sampling, in the first quarter of 2020, 35% of black people with higher education worked in positions that do not require a degree .
When we look at management positions, only 4. 9% of black people occupy seats on the Boards of Directors of the top 500 companies in Brazil, predicated on revenues.
And what does this show us?
1 . There is presently an institutional structure that will privileges some people, mostly: white, cisgender and heterosexual.
2 . Even though there are affirmative activities in different spheres of strength (public or private), we all still realize that there are obstacles for black people, in most cases, not to be able to access the labor market or develop in their careers.
several. We need much more intentionality, and particularly coordinated actions between government authorities, companies and society.
The light cannot be at the end of the canal, it needs to be present in most of us.
Since January this year, Rock Content has also been structuring actions and policies that create exceptional and priority job jobs not only for people with disabilities, also for transgender people. And the very first results can already be viewed with hirings that fulfill both the diversity aspects, and also the business need.
Diverse plus qualified candidates are available in the market. What companies need to do — with the support of systems like LinkedIn, if possible — is to offer opportunities plus eliminate biases. Affirmative work postings are a powerful tool for social transformation.
In addition to hiring, companies and governments need to work to change the structure that produces and reproduces inequalities. It is vital to revisit processes, modify mindsets and convert our own fine words into activities that will truly include all people.