National Inclusion Week 2020 - What inclusion means to me: Dr Kotryna Fraser
28th September 2020
As part of National Inclusion Week (28 September to 2 October 2020), and in line with the recently established Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee, BASES will be sharing stories from the EDI Committee Members on what inclusion means to them, to help raise awareness about Inclusion in the workplace.
National Inclusion Week 2020:
What does inclusion mean to me?
I have never felt I fully belonged to anywhere I went. It was always easy to get to know people and be recognised by others but never was I a part of ‘a gang’. Neither at high school nor throughout my university years. And yet I really wanted to belong. There always was something in my way – I trained, I worked part time, I wasn’t a native speaker, I researched a not-very-mainstream topic... There always was something that made it so hard to feel accepted and to feel as if I belonged. And yet I am a white cisgender straight woman. I look as if I belong in the English-speaking world, but I don’t. I sound as if I belong in a Lithuanian- speaking world and yet I stand out from the crowd. People look at me and ask, “What do you study?” or “What do you know?”. I silently sigh, smile back and kind of wish I had my CV on me. So, what does inclusion mean to me?
I think of inclusion as an ongoing two-step process. Step 1 – accept yourself for who you are, how you are and who you are not. Make peace with it and let go of the mainstream expectations. Step 2 – recognise that other people may look as if they belong or you think they are included. Let go of your own experiences and start hearing experiences of others. This is when you will become part of a much-needed change. It doesn’t matter how big or small part you will play as long as it is meaningful. Lithuanians often say that constant dropping wears away a stone. Let’s stop making assumptions and let’s become that patient dropping making this world a better place for all.
Dr Kotryna Fraser
Member, BASES Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee
Associate Lecturer in Sport Psychology, The University of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia