GITA Policy on Diversity and Inclusion
During the December 16, 2014 meeting of the GITA Board Directors, the following policy on diversity and inclusion was unanimously approved:
The Geospatial Information and Technology Association (GITA) supports and encourages the equitable opportunity for participation of all persons in the Geospatial field, including engineers, planners, surveyors, technologists, software developers, educators, operations and maintenance specialists and all others interested in geospatial technology without regard to race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, age, gender identification, accessibility, educational or financial differences. GITA will promote and implement programs designed to enhance opportunities to participate in the development of geospatial technologies worldwide for everyone.
Subsequent to approval of this policy, GITA released a news release which provided expanded background information on the topic. You can review that news release by clicking here.
The GITA Board also accepted the recommendations of the Diversity and Inclusion Work Group concerning Best Practices. As offered, these ideas will serve as an evolving list of ideas to guide the GITA Board, Committees and overall membership when undertaking their work in the organization:
- Find at least one opportunity to highlight diversity and inclusion. This could be by including a diversity article in GITA News Hub or a local GITA newsletter, or by having a diversity topic or speaker at a conference or regular meeting. For larger conferences, consider including a diversity session or track.
- Post the Diversity and Inclusion Policy online and have a diversity webpage with other supplemental information.
- Consider establishing an award that recognizes the efforts of local members, affiliates or sponsors that have demonstrated a strong commitment to diversity.
- Broaden the GITA base of committee participation. Make the effort to recruit diverse people to committees; you may find that you gain more through their skills, education, and experience.
- Keep the idea of diversity at the forefront of nominations for officers, for committee chairs, and at any opportunity to develop future leaders of the Association. For example, when looking for new committee chairs, board members, and directors at large, look at the depth and breadth of talent and diversity when nominating or selecting members.
- Include diversity and inclusion in any strategic planning. For example, for any committee activities include diversity and inclusion as a goal.
- When planning promotional materials or gifts for conferences, consider providing neutral items. Items such as balls, golf tees can be seen as oriented mostly towards one demographic group and not inclusive of all conference attendees.
- It is important that established members personally welcome all new members at events and on committees. New people often feel reluctant to participate, for various reasons, so it is important to actively make them feel welcome and welcome their participation. In particular, newer graduates should be specifically welcomed by those more established in their professions. Event organizers should make an effort to personally welcome members.
- People sometimes move frequently, either geographically, or in their careers. Make these individuals feel welcome. When they join, make them feel like they are already a part of the group.
- Recognize that each individual has a unique career path. Speak respectfully to all members and do not judge their accomplishments through the lens of your own accomplishments or background.
- In general, events that focus on one diversity group within a larger organization, although well-intended, lead to a separation. (For example, having a field trip or other event only for women, or having a women’s sub group). It is better to have general events, but somehow encourage diversity (be welcoming, personal outreach to members in diversity groups).
- Plan events that have a focus on welcoming new members as well as current members. Introduce new members at the meeting. To encourage greater participation, consider other ideas, such as a specific call to “bring a friend” to a meeting. Other ideas include mentor or buddy events. Also try alternative social events such as picnics, group tickets at a theater or sporting events or a group to be involved with a charity event.