Improving inclusivity

We’ve had some wins, but the hard truth is too many people are turned off by how we advocate. It’s not easy to hear that, although well-intentioned, the impact of our advocacy too often comes across as unwelcoming, especially to women and marginalised people.

We need to do better – to be inclusive, to be effective, and because it’s the right thing to do.

This affects how we moderate the Cycle Wellington Facebook group, when and how we meet, and how we advocate.

As an initial step, Cycle Wellington ran a workshop to hear concerns and work towards solutions.

Recommendations for the team to consider:
1. It’s crucial this discussion is anchored to the wider strategic plan of the organisation. We are happy to host another workshop around the mission and vision of the org in addition to who you are representing in terms of transport justice.

2. An audit of admins, committee members and org members is a great next step to see who is at the top and who’s missing from the discussion. Additionally, we recommend a review of some analytics from the Facebook group to see who are the active members and admins.

3. Bring back the joy. We would strongly recommend elevating the joy online and offline including Women Wednesday posts, Joyful Monday etc. And more things like picnics in parks and bike raves

Solutions

Use emails of current members, rely less on Facebook

Coordination of calendars to schedule events at family-friendly times

Advice about Wellington roads, route planning, bike selection and maintenance, some infrastructure conversations.


Method 1: The responses were typed verbatim into a word document and a word cloud was undertaken to based on frequency to get an idea of the main terms that came up in response to the question.

Method 2: Long table analysis of the same responses (typed verbatim into a word document) and assembled into broad themes. The themes are then analysed and interpreted and presented in the form of a written statement.

Manaakitanga *Power imbalanceLanguage
ParticipationAddressing power imbalancesLanguage – are we using the right words/concepts
Being fairAcknowledging privilegeEquity – refers to fairness and justice
RespectfulNot judgingEquity and justice help us think about “why” (bikes) not “what” equals more bikes
Accepted on their terms in non-threatening environmentBeing aware of biasWhy helps us join together to negotiate justice not fight each other.
Being welcomedActively including minority groups – people and perspectivesInclusivity is an outdated concept, it makes invisible the “inside” and so assumes it (the inside) is normal, worthwhile and I want to join.
SafeDiverse group representation
Generosity of spirit and spaceIncluding everyone from the ground up
Seeing myself in the groupNot making decisions on behalf of others but listening to what they have to say
Showing empathyTo be asked about things and for our answers to be listened to and taken on board
AccessibilityListening before speaking
Being an ally

The comments can be loosely grouped, and with some overlap, into three main themes. Manaakitanga, Power and language.

Manaakitanga: translates to hospitality, kindness, generosity, and support – a process of showing respect and generosity and care for others. (Māori Dictionary). Among this theme you can see those concepts demonstrated broadly with the use of terms like: being safe, welcomed, respected, generosity and fairness.

Power: In this theme there is an undertone of power imbalance and unfairness where the comments make assertions about how the group operates now. This is evident in statements like: being asked about things (first) and then being listened to, for the group not to make decisions on behalf of others but for them to be listened to, actively including minority groups and having a diverse group representation, implying that some in the group are not being asked, or listened to or even being represented/included.

Language: Perhaps we should begin with this one as this is where the key concepts of fairness, equity and justice are presented. I think this is a valid point as we discussed previously, as it is not immediately clear to us how this exercise fits in to the organisation/group (vision or goals) and what are the group trying to achieve? And we may well be starting in the wrong spot.

Resources for admins and as people interested in the woman-online-experience:

1. Tauiwi Tautoko by Action Station, a group of volunteers trained and researched to stop hate speech online. Here is the why: https://actionstation.medium.com/tauiwi-tautoko-88510ebdb0c6

And here is the research that’s come out of it and others about online hate-speech: https://actionstation.medium.com/next-steps-on-your-anti-racism-journey-e5e436c97efd

2. Women in Urbanism has run a campaign about Street Harassment. More here: https://www.womeninurban.org.nz/street-harassment