Inequality is not new. It’s been an issue for a very long time and it’s very much a business issue. But it would seem that public sentiment is shifting more quickly on these issues than the business landscape is, with significant repercussions. Not least of which is the risk that the equality agenda is set back by years or even decades.

Research from US academics at different universities published in July looked at historical data and found evidence that biases tend to re-emerge strongly during economic crises. The upshot is that business hunkers down with its flawed beliefs, despite evidence that diversity and inclusion have positive impacts.

It’s a learning often advocated by changemakers, that in order to act most appropriately, companies need to listen to those most affected for solutions and not propose solutions based on their own, likely very different, experiences. By focusing on actively broadcasting their intentions through the press and social media, businesses run the risk of talking over the voices they need to be listening to most. That businesses are taking action is undeniable, but it only matters if the action is effective.

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