Delza Missias, CEO of IDI, explores inequalities within the corporate world and encourages companies to be promoters of inclusion, highlighting the importance of a diverse workforce.

It is really encouraging to see Brazilian companies and institutions make an effort to promote equity and diversity, as it is essential that there is awareness and action toward achieving equality in the workplace

Still, a major challenge remains – the "salary gap" between men and women in leadership positions. Companies are increasingly aware of the importance of adopting affirmative policies and strategies to ensure representation with growth opportunities for all employees, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, age or other phenotypes and characteristics.

A recent survey highlighted that companies with diverse employees experience a 5% increase in productivity. (ref. 1) This reinforces the importance of promoting inclusion and equity as a competitive differentiator, and as a reflection of the social and human commitment of advertising agencies and the corporate world.

The search for equality and social responsibility requires continuous efforts and collaboration from everyone involved. The benefits of a diverse workforce go beyond the business environment, contributing to a more equal and fair society.

Eye on reality

Representation in the Brazilian population and in the corporate world shows inequalities between gender and race in occupying leadership positions. Less than 20% of women hold CEO positions, while less than 3% of CEOs are Black and less than 1% are Black women. And only 6% of CEOs are LGBTQIAPN + (ref. 5). These numbers are alarming, so review the strategies adopted to ensure that the growth of these numbers is real and effective.

Being committed

To ensure that companies are committed to these issues, it is essential that there is transparency regarding the policies and practices adopted. Furthermore, it is important to identify and evaluate the company's structure for current biases, including C-suite and managers, to understand how inequality persists.

To promote inclusion, it is necessary to invest in affirmative action, such as hiring specialized consultancies. These actions require time and investment, but are essential to ensure that the company is committed to the cause.

It is necessary to frequently review possible offenses and violations suffered by employees. Furthermore, it is essential to have a clear and effective anti-harassment policy, accompanied by a safe and secure work environment.

How to equalize, expand, maintain, innovate

A diverse company is one that values social inclusion in all of its departments. To achieve this, the CEO or president must be directly involved in this journey. One of the main ways to combat social exclusion is through carrying out a structural assessment, which identifies issues that lead to exclusion and maintains a balance between rights and duties, establishes hierarchical standards, and imparts a sense of belonging.

Companies should include their finance teams, as biases can appear in salaries (ref. 3) in the form of wage gaps between men and women, and other groups. It is necessary to prioritize salary equality. Ensure that human resource departments are maintaining synergy between a humanized vision and organizational growth, so that employees are recognized and acquire greater self-esteem, and feel valued and welcomed.

The commercial and marketing areas go hand in hand in Brazilian companies. Actions, such as sponsorship of forums and festivals, result in sustainable visibility for companies such as Natura and Eletrobrás, which both have partnerships built with solidity and consistency.

Finally, the creative department is one of the greatest allies in deconstructing violent and stereotypical communications. Content producers and advertising agencies such as “Produção Iconoclast ,” “Blinks Essence,” and “África” reflect their internal positioning in their creative works.

The digital world and advertising campaigns

Positioning a brand as inclusive is extremely important nowadays. When a brand declares itself inclusive, it becomes associated with representation, showing that it cares about all its consumers, regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation, or any other individual characteristic.

However, it is important to emphasize that inclusion must go beyond a simple brand statement, and must be effectively practiced through affirmative policies and standards that guarantee equal opportunities and fair treatment for all. Companies need to be aware of the risk of being criticized, or even canceled, if they do not comply with these practices.

Furthermore, in an increasingly digital world, it is essential that brands are able to communicate effectively and humanely with their customers, without losing the essence of their identity. The challenge is finding the balance between technology and empathy, offering a positive and inclusive experience for all consumers.

The challenge is to be digital without being dehumanizing

Making a company diverse and inclusive is a complex process that requires commitment and investment. It is important to consciously choose diversity as a fundamental value of the organization and invest in concrete actions, such as creating new policies and standards to guarantee equity and respect.

It is necessary to recognize that discrimination is an obstacle to equity and work in order to change the processes and perspectives that perpetuate exclusion. Pay equality between men and women is fundamental to ensuring fairness within the company. With time and effort, a diverse and inclusive company can bring many benefits, including a healthier, more productive work environment and increased employee and customer satisfaction.

All groups and departments are part of this journey, however, the biggest challenge belongs to historically excluded groups remaining firm and hopeful that they will receive their rightful place.

Research sources

Ref 1: G1 Globo - Diversity within companies leads to an increase in productivity, study shows

Ref 2: Fundo Brasil - LGBTphobia in Brazil: The numbers, violence and criminalization

Ref 3: G1 Globo - Women earn an average of 20.5% less than men in Brazil

Ref 4: Exame - Only 8% of leaders in companies are LGBTI+, study highlights

Ref 5: Jornal da Unesp - Pioneering quantitative survey in Latin America maps the ALGBT community in Brazil 

Ref 6: Meio & Mensagem - 17% of president positions and 21% of administrative boards are occupied by women

Ref 7: Correio Braziliense - There are less than 30% of Black leaders in Brazilian companies, research says


The pact of whiteness – Cida Bento

Structural racism – Silvio Almeida