LWV DEI Policy
The League of Women Voters is an organization fully committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in principle and in practice. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are central to the organization’s current and future success in engaging all individuals, households, communities, and policy makers in creating a more perfect democracy.
There shall be no barriers to full participation in this organization on the basis of gender, gender identity, ethnicity, race, native or indigenous origin, age, generation, sexual orientation, culture, religion, belief system, marital status, parental status, socioeconomic status, language, accent, ability status, mental health, educational level or background, geography, nationality, work style, work experience, job role function, thinking style, personality type, physical appearance, political perspective or affiliation and/or any other characteristic that can be identified as recognizing or illustrating diversity.
Defining the Terms
When we come to a common understanding of the terms Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, we can better connect them to League work.
- Diversity: Includes all the ways in which people differ, and it encompasses all the characteristics that make one individual or group different from one another. It is all-inclusive and recognizes everyone and every group as part of this should be valued. (Source: Racial Equity Tools; UC Berkeley Center for Equity, Inclusion and Diversity, Glossary of Terms)
- Equity: To treat everyone fairly; an emphasis on this seeks to render justice by deeply considering structural factors that benefit some social groups/communities and harms other social groups/communities. Sometimes justice demands an unequal response to achieve this. (Source: Everyday-Democracy; YWCA Social Justice Glossary)
- Inclusion: Authentically brings traditionally excluded individuals and/or groups into processes, activities and decision/policy making. (Source: W.K. Kellogg Foundation; Crossroads Charlotte Individual Initiative Scorecard for Organizations Scorecard Overview, revised 3/12/07)
Why Should You Care About DEI?
The purpose of LWVHC is “to promote nonpartisan responsibility through informed and active participation in government and to act on selected governmental issues.” Our DEI policy is relevant to our purpose in several ways.
- From a moral perspective, nonprofits are created to improve society and as such they should be diverse, inclusive and equitable. DEI is fundamental to the League’s values.
- Each person has value to contribute. The League will be stronger and more effective by leveraging the talent pools of different populations.
- Voters want to see themselves represented in the League. People feel respected and valued in an inclusive environment modeled by Board members, Team Leaders, and our Membership.
- Diversity can lead to an expanded presence in our community, extending the League’s reach and impact. With diverse leadership and truly representative decision-making, the League can better understand the perspectives of our diverse voting population.
- DEI enhances the League’s ability to respond effectively to evolving circumstances and needs, and to achieve better solutions to social problems in more inclusive and innovative ways.
Potential Impacts of DEI
One of the most important League goals, through the efforts of the Voter Services Team, is “to promote citizens’ informed participation in elections. Imagine the impact of a successful DEI policy on the following goals:
- Increasing Voter Registration to make sure all eligible U.S. citizens, especially first-time voters, non-college youth, new citizens, communities of color, and low-income Americans, have the opportunity to vote.
- Expanding Voter Access — when more citizens participate in elections, the outcome better reflects who we are as a country.
- Educating Voters — because elections are our chance to stand up for what matters most to us and to have an impact on the issues that affect us, our communities, our families, and our homes.
- Fighting Voter Suppression by challenging efforts that limit voters’ ability to exercise their right to vote.
- Ending partisan and racial gerrymandering that strips rights away from all eligible voters, and promotes fair redistricting.