Internal Report: Major Diversity, Organizational Problems At Human Rights Campaign
by Chris Geidner, BuzzFeed, June 3, 2015 (excerpts)
Staff at the Human Rights Campaign last fall described the working environment at the nation’s largest LGBT rights group as “judgmental,” “exclusionary,” “sexist,” and “homogenous,” according to a sharply critical report that was commissioned by HRC and obtained by BuzzFeed News.
Based on a series of focus groups and surveys with the staff, conducted by outside consultants, the report detailed systemic problems within HRC — ranging from treatment of employees, including those who are transgender, to concerns about human resources and organizational commitment to diversity and inclusion....
“Leadership culture is experienced as homogenous — gay, white, male,” the report stated. “Exclusion was broad-based and hit all identity groups within HRC. A judgmental working environment, particularly concerning women and feminine-identified individuals, was highlighted in survey responses.”....
Among those issues highlighted repeatedly in the more than 30 pages of Pipeline Project report documents obtained by BuzzFeed News was what one subsection of the reported called a “White Men’s Club” environment at HRC.
“One of the most frequent concerns that rose was the sense of an organizational culture rooted in a white, masculine orientation which is judgmental of all those who don’t fit that mold,” the report states in summarizing its survey findings. “Disparate treatment toward women and those with ‘soft skills’ was frequently cited by staff — both men and women — and there is a sense that if you operate outside of that orientation, you will not be successful at HRC.”
That perception is also borne out in the experience of minority employees, according to the report, summarizing survey responses at one point as follows: “More than half of multiracial and Latino people and 83% of genderqueer people feel they are not treated equally based on their identity.”
From the focus groups, the report details criticism from younger staff and female staff about their contributions not being valued. In a listing of comments made, one staffer said, “Younger staff in particular are exploited and not rewarded financially.” Another said, “Straight women and lesbians get sexist treatment from gay men at HRC.”
The report notes, “Seven out of 31 men who have been promoted have been on staff less than two years (some promoted two times). No women under two years have been promoted.”....
Beyond the specific issues, the report also highlighted a concern within the organization that raising concerns — such as those highlighted throughout the report — will result in retaliation. In summarizing the survey findings, the report states, “There is a general sense of feeling excluded from decision-making and a distrust or fear that if one brings up concerns, their sphere of influence becomes limited.”
read ... The Entire Report
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