Plug & Play DEI Programming

AAUW’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Plug and Play Programming is a way to help branches create programming and events around the topics included in the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Toolkit. Each Plug and Play topic includes an explanation of the topic, guidelines for the facilitator(s), and discussion prompts to make the event and conversation as robust as possible.

We strongly encourage all branches to have created their diversity plan using the Diversity Planning and Structure exercise before engaging in the plug and play programs. Having a plan in place first will help ensure that your programming is aimed at helping your branch achieve its equity and inclusion goals. We also recommend watching this video on how to engage the audience in a remote meeting before hosting a virtual plug and play program.

Plug & Play Programs

Understanding the Difference Between Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI)

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) are concepts that are often used interchangeably but mean quite different things. In this program, we work to ensure that attendees understand the difference and the unique importance of each. Armed with their new knowledge, we hope AAUW members will be empowered to create a space where members can come together and celebrate their differences.

We recommend that branches break up this program into two sessions on separate days. The first session should be used to reinforce the understanding of the terms and the second session for an activity in practice.

  • Part 1: Understanding the difference between DEI (30 minutes — 1 hour, depending on discussion)
  • Part 2: DEI Activity (1 — 1.5 hours, depending on discussion)

Prior to the event:

To run a successful event we recommend that the facilitator do some pre-work to prepare. The bulk of the pre-work includes preparing to lead the discussion and so we recommend the following steps:

  1. Read the AAUW sections on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (as a baseline)
  2. Read through the Additional Resources for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Choose at least one to use in Part 2 of your event. Reading through each activity will help expand your personal understanding of each key term and better enable you to answer questions from your participants.
  3. Prepare notes for use during the session.
  4. Read the having Difficult Conversations section of the AAUW Toolkit. Learning to manage difficult conversations is a skill every facilitator should have and this resource provides some helpful tips on how to ensure that your event is productive.
  5. Contact the AAUW Inclusion and Equity Committee with any questions (diversity@aauw.org).

Day of the event:

The day of the event you’ll want to ensure that you have everything on hand that you will need to facilitate the conversation. We recommend thinking about each of these things in advance to maximize attendance and participation.

Materials: Paper, pencils/pens, markers, whiteboard or large pads of paper to take notes on during the discussion. The facilitator should have the pads of paper/whiteboards, markers, and individual writing equipment set up prior to the beginning of the session.

Safety Considerations: Safety considerations are determined by the activities chosen and/or accommodations needed for maximum participation.

Accommodations: Facilitators should be aware of potentially biased language and work to eliminate these biases within their own discussion prompts. Also, facilitators should look for/ask about any physical or cognitive limitations that may limit or prohibit participation in included activities. For instance, a participant in a wheelchair may need widened aisles if an activity requires movement around the room.

Facilitator will:

  1. Engage all participants in session activities.
  2. Define all key terminology.
  3. Lead participants through discussions.
  4. Answer any questions from the participants, especially those that could deal with misconceptions and/or procedure.
  5. Supply writing utensils, paper, and other pertinent materials to allow participants to take part in activities.

Participants will:

  1. Take part in individual and group activities.
  2. Respect the facilitator, all participants and their viewpoints.
  3. Ask any questions he/she may have on the lesson.
  4. Keep his/her notes for later use.

Getting started: (15 minutes; facilitator guided)

The facilitator will ask attendees to write down their personal definitions of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Once attendees have written down their individual definitions, the facilitator will form small groups to compare definitions and create one common definition. The facilitator will ask each group to present their definition to the rest of the attendees. Participants will write their individual definitions of diversity, equity, and inclusion then take part in the facilitator-guided small-group exercise. Participants will keep the individual and group definitions to use as reference throughout the session.

Facilitating the Discussion: (15 minutes; facilitator guided)

Together the group will review the AAUW-accepted definitions. This review will take place after each group has presented its definitions. The facilitator will ask questions to allow participants to compare and contrast their drafted definitions to the accepted ones. Sample discussion questions include:

  • What differences do you see between/among the definitions drafted by each team?
  • What similarities do you see between/among the definitions drafted by each team?
  • What do you think is missing from the definitions drafted by each team?
  • What differences do you see between the definition your team drafted and the AAUW-accepted definition?
  • What similarities do you see between the definition your team drafted and the AAUW-accepted definition?
  • Now having seen all the definitions, do you have any strong feelings or emotions toward one? If so, which one and why?
    Do any of the presented definitions bring to mind a specific connotation? If so, which one and why?

Guided Exploration: (15 minutes; facilitator guided)

At this time, the facilitator will bring all participants together for a group discussion. The goal of the guided exploration is to help participants grow as individuals and as a team through shared experiences. The facilitator will then help participants explore other aspects of DEI to include:

Sample discussion questions include:

  • What is your definition of belonging?
  • What is your definition of equality?
  • Why do you think the two words (diversity vs. inclusion; inclusion vs. belonging; equity vs. equality) are grouped together?
  • In your opinion, what distinctions between the two grouped words are they?
  • Why is it important to acknowledge the differences between the grouped words?
  • How can we foster a sense of community through acknowledging the differences in grouped words?

Remember, participants may not agree on the foundational definitions presented. This includes not understanding/acknowledging differences in equity/equality and inclusion/belonging. Other misconceptions may include participants not acknowledging any hidden biases they may have concerning DEI or having limited scope on dimensions which should be included in these conversations. It’s important to talk through these misconceptions so everyone leaves the event with a clear understanding of the terms.

Closing: (5 minutes; facilitator guided)

The facilitator will ask the participants if they have any questions concerning the material presented. Before leaving, the facilitator will thank all the participants for their open and honest feedback and their willingness to participate. 

Application and Extension:

Participants will use their knowledge of DEI definitions to help frame future DEI discussions and activities.

Understanding Unconscious Bias

We all have seen and/or experienced overt biases, but how often do we recognize unconscious bias? Do we recognize unconscious biases in others? In ourselves? Having unconscious biases does not make us racist, homophobic or discriminatory in other ways. However, we need to be able to recognize them in ourselves so we can work to overcome them. Doing so creates a more inclusive environment. Let’s learn more about unconscious bias.

We recommend that branches conduct this discussion in one session. If branches desire a second session, we recommend choosing a book from the additional resources list to use as a starting point for discussion/exploration.

  • Understanding Unconscious Bias: 1-1.5 hour depending on discussion

Prior to the event:

To run a successful event, we recommend that the facilitator do some pre-work to prepare. We recommend the following steps:

  1. Read the AAUW section on unconscious bias as a baseline and review the slide deck from the related webinar.
  2. Read through the additional resources for unconscious bias. Reading through each activity will help expand your personal understanding of each key term and better enable you to answer questions from your participants.
  3. Prepare notes for use during the session.
  4. Read the Getting Started with Difficult Conversations section of the AAUW Toolkit. Learning to manage difficult conversations is a skill every facilitator should have and this resource provides some helpful tips on how to ensure that your event is productive.
  5. Prior to the event, have participants take at least one test from the Implicit Bias website. Ask participants to bring their results with them to the facilitated session to use as reflection and/or discussion points.
  6. Contact the AAUW Inclusion and Equity Committee with any questions (diversity@aauw.org).

Day of the event:

On the day of the event, ensure that you have everything on hand that you will need to facilitate the conversation. There will be different considerations depending on if the session is in-person, virtual (Zoom, Teams, etc.) or a hybrid.

Materials:
In-person:
Paper, pencils/pens, markers, whiteboard or large pads of paper to take notes during the discussion. The facilitator should have the materials set up prior to the beginning of the session. The facilitator should also have paper copies of some of the Implicit Bias tests or a method to show a few of the tests using electronic means (laptop and projector, etc.).
Virtual: File/screen sharing capability, audio sharing, video sharing. Facilitator may need to tell participants to have writing utensils and paper ready for any activities. The facilitator should also have a method to show a few of the tests using electronic means (share screen via Zoom).

Safety Considerations: Safety considerations are determined by the activities chosen and/or accommodations needed for maximum participation.

Accommodations: Facilitators should be aware of potentially biased language and work to eliminate these biases within their own discussion prompts. Also, facilitators should look for and ask about any physical or cognitive limitations that may limit or prohibit participation in included activities. For instance, a participant in a wheelchair may need widened aisles if an activity requires movement around the room.

Facilitator will:

  1. Engage all participants in session activities.
  2. Define all key terminology.
  3. Lead participants through discussions.
  4. Answer any questions from the participants, especially those that could deal with misconceptions and/or procedure.
  5. Supply writing utensils, paper and other pertinent materials to allow participants to take part in activities.

Participants will:

  1. Take part in individual and group activities.
  2. Respect the facilitator, all participants and their viewpoints.
  3. Ask any questions they may have on the lesson.
  4. Keep notes for later use.

Getting started: (15 minutes; facilitator guided)

The facilitator will ask attendees if they have brought their results of the implicit bias test(s) taken prior to the facilitated discussion. Participants will keep their individual results to use as reference throughout the session. The facilitator will ask the group to provide definitions for the words “unconscious” and “bias.” The input will be recorded in a place the group can see to use as a discussion topic later in the session. The facilitator will show one of the introduction to unconscious bias videos. The recommended videos are:

Facilitating the Discussion: (15 minutes; facilitator guided)

Together the group will review the AAUW-accepted definitions for the words “unconscious” and “bias.” Participants will be asked to compare their definitions to the definition inferred from the chosen video and the AAUW-accepted definition. This review will take place after the chosen video has played and the AAUW definitions are presented. The facilitator will then ask the participants to reflect on the results of their implicit bias test(s). At this time, the facilitator should consider passing out paper versions of one or more of the tests or share their screen/project one of the tests for participants to take if they have not already. The facilitator will ask students to share thoughts about their results. Sample discussion questions include:

  • What differences do you see between/among the definitions presented today?
  • What similarities do you see between/among the definitions presented today?
  • What do you think is missing from the definitions presented today?

Guided Exploration: (30 minutes; facilitator guided)

At this time, the facilitator will bring all participants together for a group discussion. The goal of the guided exploration is to help participants grow as individuals and as a team through shared experiences. The facilitator will then help participants explore unconscious bias, to include:

  • recognizing unconscious bias in themselves.
  • recognizing unconscious bias in others.
  • addressing unconscious bias.

Sample discussion questions include:

  • Were you surprised by the results of your implicit bias test(s)? How so?
  • Reflecting on your results, can you think of a time where an implicit bias may have influenced your interactions and/or actions?
  • Can you think of a time where an implicit bias may have affected how someone interacted with you?
  • How do you think unconscious bias impacts organizations?
  • How can we work to change our own unconscious bias?
  • How can we work to address unconscious bias in organizations?

The facilitator may want to include the group’s previously-agreed upon definitions of diversity, equity and inclusion to use in this discussion. Specifically, the facilitator can tie unconscious bias to inclusion definitions and inclusion/equity efforts. It is suggested the facilitator use another video to provide ideas for addressing unconscious bias. Suggested videos include:

The facilitator will then gather ideas from the group on how addressing unconscious bias can help their branch meet diversity and equity goals as identified in their community agreement.

Closing: (5 minutes; facilitator guided)

The facilitator will ask the participants if they have any questions concerning the material presented. Before leaving, the facilitator will thank all the participants for their open and honest feedback and their willingness to participate.

Application and Extension:

Participants will use their knowledge of unconscious bias to help frame future DEI discussions and activities.

Creating Inclusive Spaces

Diversity is only the beginning, and it isn’t enough. To create truly diverse spaces, those spaces also need to be inclusive, where all parties feel welcomed, appreciated, respected and heard — and have full access to all resources and can contribute to AAUW’s success.

As diversity advocate Verna Myers once said, “Diversity is being invited to the party, and inclusion is being asked to dance.” If you don’t have both, neither works.

Program Objectives:

  1. Introduce the concepts of inclusion and the relationship to diversity and belonging.
  2. Reflect on the branch current inclusion activities.
  3. Create/update a plan to increase inclusion and sense by members of belonging within the branch.

Program Plan:

We recommend that branches conduct this program in one meeting which will last between 1 and 1.5 hours depending on the discussion and prior work your branch has completed. If your branch desires a second meeting, we recommend choosing a book from the Additional Resources list to use as a starting point for discussion/exploration.

Prior to the event:

To run a successful event, we recommend that the facilitator do some pre-work to prepare. The bulk of the pre-work includes preparing to facilitate the discussion. We recommend the following steps:

  1. Read the AAUW DEI Toolkit sections on Inclusion and review the slides from the Creating Inclusive Spaces webinar.
  2. Read through the Additional Resources for Inclusion. Reading through each activity will help expand your personal understanding of each key term and better enable you to answer questions from your participants.
  3. Read the AAUW DEI Toolkit section on Understanding Organization Inclusiveness.
  4. Prepare notes for use during the session.
  5. Read the Getting Started With Difficult Conversations section of the AAUW DEI Toolkit. Learning to manage difficult conversations is a skill every facilitator should have and this resource provides some helpful tips on how to ensure that your event is productive.
  6. Read To Build An Inclusive Culture, Start With Inclusive Meetings to prepare for your meeting.
  7. Check to make sure you have all the supplies you will need for a successful meeting, including any you will need for activities and discussion.
  8. If your meeting is being held via video conference, make sure you are familiar with all of the functions you will be using. Read How To Engage An Audience in a Remote Meeting for tips on how to run your meeting.
  9. Contact the AAUW Inclusion and Equity Committee with any questions (diversity@aauw.org).

 

Day of the event:

The day of the event you’ll want to ensure that you have everything on hand that you will need to facilitate the conversation. We recommend thinking about each of these things in advance to maximize attendance participation.

Materials: Paper, pencils/pens, markers, whiteboard or large pads of paper to take notes on during the discussion. The facilitator should have the pads of paper/whiteboards, markers, and individual writing equipment set up prior to the beginning of the session.  Should your meeting be held via video conference, be sure you have tested how you are going to include interactive sessions and administration including potential breakout rooms and sharing your screen.

Safety Considerations: Safety considerations are determined by the activities chosen and/or accommodations needed for maximum participation.

Accommodations: Facilitators should be aware of potentially biased language and work to eliminate these biases within their own discussion prompts. Also, facilitators should look for/ask about any physical or cognitive needs that may limit or prohibit participation in included activities. For instance, a participant in a wheelchair may need widened aisles if an activity requires movement around the room.

Facilitator will:

  1. Engage all participants in session activities.
  2. Define all key terminology.
  3. Lead participants through discussions.
  4. Answer any questions from the participants, especially those that could deal with misconceptions and/or procedure.
  5. Supply writing utensils, paper, and other pertinent materials to allow participants to take part in activities. Should you have a video conference meeting, be sure you are prepared for participant participation, breakout groups and screen sharing.

Participants will:

  1. Take part in individual and group activities.
  2. Respect the facilitator, all participants and their viewpoints.
  3. Ask any questions he/she/they may have on the lesson.
  4. Keep notes for later use.

Objective 1 – Understanding inclusion and the relationship to diversity and belonging

The goal of this portion of the program is to create a common understanding of the terms: diversity, inclusion and belonging, and to understand the relationship between these terms.

Getting started: (15 – 20 minutes; facilitator guided)

The facilitator will either remind the attendees about the definition of diversity from prior other branch experiences or will post the definition from the AAUW DEI Toolkit.

The facilitator will either display the AAUW DEI Toolkit definition for inclusion or post the branch’s previously agreed upon definition of inclusion.

The facilitator will request a volunteer to read the discussion of Diversity vs. Inclusion and Inclusion vs. Belonging found in the AAUW DEI Toolkit. If appropriate the facilitator may want to ask participants to revisit their prior discussion of these concepts.

The facilitator will post Arthur Chan’s concept and ask for any discussion of this concept:

  • Diversity Is a Fact
  • Inclusion is an Action
  • Belonging is an Outcome

The facilitator may show one or more of the following videos:

Breakout discussion: (10 minutes participant lead)

The facilitator will break attendees into groups of 3-5 individuals and ask breakout groups to discuss the definition of inclusion and the concepts introduced regarding diversity, inclusion and belonging.

Facilitating the Discussion To Develop A Group Understanding and Agreed Upon Definitions: (10 – 25 minutes depending on divergence of definitions; facilitator guided)

The facilitator will bring the group together again and ask each group to report out what they discussed and learned. This information will be documented by the facilitator so that all can see it. After the report out, the facilitator will ask the group to create an agreed upon definitions for the words:

  • “inclusion”
  • “belonging”

NOTE:  The participants may have already had this conversation in a prior meeting; however, additional insights may have emerged.

Sample questions to further the discussion include:

  • What differences do you see between/among the definitions presented today?
  • What similarities do you see between/among the definitions presented today?
  • What do you think is missing from the definitions presented today?

The facilitator will post the agreed-upon definitions of “inclusion” and “belonging” in a way that all can see it.

The facilitator may want to insert a 5-minute break.

Objective 2 – Reflection on Branch Current Inclusion Activities

Guided Exploration: (30 minutes; facilitator guided)

The goal of the guided exploration is to help participants understand their branch culture and how it can become more inclusive. The output may include:

  • A list of the great things their organization is doing around inclusion.
  • New ideas to become a more inclusive organization.

The facilitator may introduce or if previously introduced, then remind participants of the Organizational Inclusiveness States Chart. If previously discussed, the facilitator will remind participants of the decisions made by the group, and ask if any modifications to the categorization need to take place.

Otherwise, if new to the participants the Organizational Inclusiveness States Chart will be handed out or displayed so all can refer to it. Additional questions to start the conversation may include:

  • What inclusive behaviors are you proud of your branch?
  • Are there other things that you can do within your branch to be more inclusive?
  • Can you think of a time where a potential member did not join as a result of lack of feeling comfortable or included in your branch?
  • How can we individually work to change to personally become more inclusive?
  • How can the branch work to address inclusion in our organization?

The facilitator will ask the participants where they believe their group falls within the organizational inclusiveness states. There may be differences of opinion, and this is okay. The discussion is the important activity.

Objective 3 – Creating a Plan to Increase Inclusion and Sense of Belonging by the Branch Members (20 minutes, facilitator guided)

The goal of this portion of the program is to create or validate the previously agreed upon plan to increase inclusiveness and a sense of belonging in the branch.

If a plan is being created, the facilitator will document ideas that arise from the group on how addressing inclusion can help their branch become more inclusive and encourage a feeling of belonging.

  • The facilitator may then ask participants place a check mark beside the 3-5 changes that they would like to see the group make to become more inclusive.
  • At the end of this activity, a readout of the highest vote getting ideas could be discussed for implementation.
  • The facilitator may wish to verify that the ideas have been agreed upon as an action plan and next steps are determined.

If the plan has previously been agreed upon, the facilitator will ask the participants to assess progress made on the plan.

Closing: (5 minutes; facilitator guided)

The facilitator will ask the participants if they have any questions concerning the material presented. Before leaving, the facilitator will thank all the participants for their open and honest feedback and their willingness to participate.

Application and Extension:

If an agreed action plan is developed during this meeting these will be communicated to the entire branch.

Creating Allyship

Author Brandon Sanderson once said, “If you spend your life knocking people down, you eventually find they won’t stand up for you.” Our previous discussions have covered topics such as unconscious bias and creating inclusive spaces that help us identify ways to not knock each other down. Our discussion on allyship is the beginning of us putting our prior knowledge into action. Creating allies is one way we can grow stronger, more inclusive communities. Let’s learn more about allyship.

Program Plan:

We recommend that branches conduct this discussion in one session. If branches desire a second session, we recommend choosing a book from the Additional Resources list to use as a starting point for discussion/exploration.

Part 1: Creating Allyship – 1-1.5 hour depending on discussion

Prior to the event:

To run a successful event we recommend that the facilitator do some pre-work to prepare. The bulk of the pre-work includes preparing to lead the discussion and so we recommend the following steps:

  1. Read the AAUW sections on Allyship (as a baseline).
  2. Read through the Additional Resources for Allyship. Choose at least one video from each section below to use in the event. Reading through some of the provided readings and/or watching the included videos will help expand the facilitator’s personal understanding of each key term and better enable the facilitator to answer questions from participants.
  3. If desired, send out invitation with a link to one video as pre-work. The invitation should also include a prompt for participants to come to the session with their own definition of allyship to use for the group discussion.
  4. Prepare notes for use during the session.
  5. Read the Getting Started with Difficult Conversations section of the AAUW Toolkit. Learning to manage difficult conversations is a skill every facilitator should have and this resource provides some helpful tips on how to ensure that your event is productive.
  6. Review and bring the most current version of the branch’s community agreement to discuss at the end of the event. The facilitator should include ties to allyship in the community agreement discussion.
  7. Contact the AAUW Inclusion and Equity Committee with any questions (diversity@aauw.org).

 

Day of the event:

The day of the event the facilitator will want to ensure everything is on hand that is needed to facilitate the conversation. We recommend thinking about each of these things in advance to maximize attendance and participation. There will be different considerations depending on if the session is in person, via electronic means (Zoom, Teams, etc.), or a hybrid.

Materials:
In person:
Paper, pencils/pens, markers, whiteboard or large pads of paper to take notes on during the discussion. The facilitator should have the pads of paper/whiteboards, markers, and individual writing equipment set up prior to the beginning of the session. The facilitator should also have a method to play the chosen videos during the session (projector/laptop, etc.).
Virtual: Electronic whiteboard, file/screen sharing capability, audio sharing, video sharing. Facilitator may need to tell participants to have writing utensils and paper ready for any activities. This can be included in the event invitation or at the beginning of the session. The facilitator should also have a method to show the chosen videos using electronic means (share screen via Zoom/Teams/etc.). We suggest having a co-facilitator to help monitor/answer questions and keep track of time.

Safety Considerations: Safety considerations are determined by the accommodations needed for maximum participation.

Accommodations: Facilitators should be aware of potentially biased language and work to eliminate these biases within their own discussion prompts. Also, facilitators should look for/ask about any physical or cognitive limitations that may limit or prohibit participation in chosen activities. For instance, a participant in a wheelchair may need widened aisles if an activity requires movement around the room.

Facilitator will:

  1. Engage all participants in session activities.
  2. Define all key terminology (specifically allyship).
  3. Lead participants through discussions.
  4. Answer any questions from the participants, especially those that could deal with misconceptions and/or procedure.
  5. Supply writing utensils, paper, and other pertinent materials to allow participants to take part in activities.
  6. Bring the most current version of the branch’s community agreement to review.

Participants will:

  1. Take part in individual and group activities.
  2. Respect the facilitator, all participants and their viewpoints.
  3. Ask any questions he/she may have on the lesson.
  4. Keep notes for later use.

Getting started: (15 minutes; facilitator guided)

The facilitator will ask attendees a few self-reflection questions to help establish a baseline for the allyship discussion. The purpose of these questions is to have participants reflect on their own relationships and begin to relate them to their personal definition of allyship. Questions include:

  • Think of your strongest relationship. What words would you use to describe this relationship?
  • How does this relationship make you feel?
  • Now let’s think of your weakest relationship. What words would you use to describe this relationship?
  • How does this relationship make you feel?
  • Based on your thoughts to the previous questions, what is your definition of allyship?

The facilitator should write the words that are said for each category as they are said in a place all participants can view/reference the responses. There are no wrong answers, so the facilitator should write every response as they are said. Once all responses are recorded, the facilitator should ask the participants to individually pick which three words best describes each type of relationship and write them down on a notepad/sheet of paper/self-sticking note/etc. The participants will use these words in a later activity.

The facilitator will then show one of the introduction to allyship videos on the Additional Resources list. These videos can also be used as pre-work and sent out with the event invite to help create a baseline for discussion. If these videos are chosen, the facilitator should choose a different video for the in-session activity. The recommended videos are:

 

Facilitating the Discussion: (15 minutes; facilitator guided)

Together the group will review the AAUW-accepted definitions for “allyship.” Participants will be asked to compare and/or contrast their chosen words to the AAUW-accepted definition and definition stated in the chosen video. This review will take place after the chosen video has played and the AAUW definitions are presented. The facilitator will then ask the participants for their personal thoughts on the various allyship definitions. Sample discussion questions include:

  • What differences do you see between/among the definitions presented today?
  • What similarities do you see between/among the definitions presented today?
  • What do you think is missing from the definitions presented today?

 

Guided Exploration: (30 minutes; facilitator guided)

The facilitator will continue to work with all participants in a group setting. Breakout sessions are suggested (especially if using Zoom/Teams/etc.) if the facilitator believes the discussion will benefit from small group discussion. The facilitator will then help participants explore allyship to include:

  • Outside barriers to allyship
  • Internal barriers to allyship
  • Effective methods to create allies
  • Impact of allies within organizations

Sample discussion questions include:

  • How do your personal feelings on relationships affect your thoughts on allyship?
  • Reflecting in your past, can you share a time you were an ally? What were the results?
  • Can you share a time you needed an ally? What were the results?
  • What causes you to act as an ally?
  • What inhibits you from being an ally?
  • How do you think we can become better allies to each other? To strangers?
  • How do you think allyship impacts organizations?
  • How can we work to grow allies?
  • How can we work to build allyship in organizations?

The facilitator may want to include the group’s previously-agreed upon definitions of diversity, equity, and inclusion to use in this discussion. Specifically, the facilitator can help the participants tie allyship to inclusion and belonging definitions and inclusion/equity efforts. It is suggested the facilitator use another video from the Additional Resources list that also provides ideas for establishing allyship. Suggested videos include:

The facilitator will then gather ideas from the group on how building allies can help their branch meet diversity and equity goals as identified in their community agreement.

 

Closing: (5 minutes; facilitator guided)

The facilitator will ask the participants if they have any questions concerning the material presented. Before leaving, the facilitator will thank all the participants for their open and honest feedback and their willingness to participate.

 

Application and Extension:

Participants will use their knowledge of allyship to help frame future DEI discussions and activities.

Creating Allyship
Thursday, January 27 | 4pm ET
What is allyship? How can one truly be an ally? What is the connection between allyship and privilege? Please join us for a discussion of allyship and learn how to hold branch programming on this topic. With diverse allies within their membership, states and branches can better build inclusive spaces and attract new audiences, including potential new members.
WATCH THE RECORDING

Intersectionality Identified

From the toolkit section on intersectionality and research from AAUW on the gender pay gap:

Let’s illustrate the concept of intersectionality with an example familiar to AAUW members: Pay equity. We are all aware that men and women are paid unequally for equal work: on average, women make 83 cents for every dollar that a white man makes. But did you know that moms make 70 cents on that same dollar? Or that Latinas make just 55 cents? These are just a few examples of intersectionality and how parental status or ethnicity intersect with gender to impact pay equity.

Understanding intersectionality is critical to the mission of AAUW—let’s learn more about it with the following plug-and-play program.

Program Plan:

We recommend that branches conduct this discussion in one session. If branches desire a second session, we recommend choosing a book from the Additional Resources list to use as a starting point for discussion/exploration.

Intersectionality Identified: 1-1.5 hour depending on discussion and if you choose to send out videos ahead of the session or watch during the session.

Facilitator Preparation (prior to the event):

To run a successful event we recommend that the facilitator do some pre-work to prepare. The bulk of the pre-work includes watching and reading the included videos and article and preparing to lead the discussion. We recommend the following steps:

  1. Read the AAUW sections on Intersectionality and review the dimensions of diversity.
  2. Read through the Additional Resources for Intersectionality. Encourage participants to read the following article linked in the toolkit prior to the session. Facilitators may also choose to play one of the listed videos during the session or ask that participants watch beforehand. It is recommended that the facilitator is familiar with the article and all three videos.
  3. Prepare notes for use during the session.
  4. Read the Getting Started with Difficult Conversations section of the AAUW Toolkit. Learning to manage difficult conversations is a skill every facilitator should have and this resource provides some helpful tips on how to ensure that your event is productive.
  5. Contact the AAUW Inclusion and Equity Committee with any questions (diversity@aauw.org).

 

Facilitator Preparation (day of the event): 

The day of the event the facilitator will want to ensure everything is on hand that is needed to facilitate the conversation. We recommend thinking about each of these things in advance to maximize attendance and participation. There will be different considerations depending on if the session is in person, via electronic means (Zoom, Teams, etc.), or a hybrid.

Materials:
In person:
Paper, pencils/pens, markers, whiteboard or large pads of paper to take notes on during the discussion. The facilitator should have the pads of paper/whiteboards, markers, and individual writing equipment set up prior to the beginning of the session. The facilitator should also have a method to play the chosen video(s) during the session (projector/laptop, etc.) if they are not sent out ahead of time.
Virtual: Electronic whiteboard, file/screen sharing capability, audio sharing, video sharing. Facilitator may need to tell participants to have writing utensils and paper ready for any activities. The facilitator should also have a method to show the chosen video(s) using electronic means (share screen via Zoom/Teams/etc.) if the videos are not shared ahead of time.

Safety Considerations: Safety considerations are determined by the accommodations needed for maximum participation.

Accommodations: Facilitators should be aware of potentially biased language and work to eliminate these biases within their own discussion prompts. Also, facilitators should look for/ask about any physical or cognitive limitations that may limit or prohibit participation in included activities. For instance, a participant in a wheelchair may need widened aisles if an activity requires movement around the room.

Facilitator will:

  1. Engage all participants in session activities.
  2. Define all key terminology.
  3. Lead participants through discussions.
  4. Answer any questions from the participants, especially those that could deal with misconceptions and/or procedure.
  5. Supply writing utensils, paper, and other pertinent materials to allow participants to take part in activities. Any online activities need to be publicized to ensure participants have the right software, etc.
  6. Have previously-agreed upon definitions for key terminology available for reference.

Participants will:

  1. Take part in individual and group activities.
  2. Respect the facilitator, all participants and their viewpoints.
  3. Ask any questions he/she may have on the lesson.
  4. Keep notes for later use.

Getting started: (Optional 3 – 30 mins)

Facilitator plays one or all of the videos for the group if the videos were not previously sent out.

Opening activity: (10 minutes)

Facilitator will display dimensions of diversity so all can see.

Facilitator will ask attendees to consider the dimensions of diversity as they relate to themselves.

The facilitator will ask attendees a few self-reflection questions from the Safe Zones Project (linked in the toolkit intersectionality resources section). Questions include:

  • The part of my identity that I am most aware of on a daily basis is_________.
  • The part of my identity that I am the least aware of on a daily basis is_________.
  • The part of my identity that was most emphasized or important in my family growing up was _________.
  • The part of my identity that I wish I knew more about is _________.
  • The part of my identity that makes me feel discriminated against is _________.
  • The part of my identity that provides me the most privilege is _________.
  • The part of my identity that I believe is the most misunderstood by others is _________.
  • The part of my identity that I feel is difficult to discuss with others who identify differently is _________.

Small Groups Discussion: (15 minutes)

Facilitators can gather participants into small groups (Facilitator may want to randomly assign folks to groups to facilitate new connections and to consider diversity of the small groups). Small groups can discuss:

  • What was this activity like? What did these questions bring up for them?
  • Did folks have answers that didn’t fall neatly into one particular dimension?/Where are your intersections?

Large Group Guided Exploration: (30 minutes; facilitator guided)

The facilitator may want to include the group’s previously-agreed upon definitions of diversity, equity, and inclusion to use in this discussion. Specifically, the facilitator can tie intersectionality to inclusion and belonging definitions and inclusion/equity efforts.

The facilitator can ask for small group participants to volunteer feedback from their own perceptions of the group work.

The facilitator will continue to work with all participants in a group setting. The facilitator will then help participants explore intersectionality as it relates to:

  • What are the consequences of not taking an intersectional lens when working on DEI initiatives?
  • How can groups be more intentional about taking an intersectional lens when developing programming, policies, etc.?

The facilitator will gather the ideas from the group on how to be more intentional about taking an intersectional lens in order to meet the branch diversity and equity goals as identified in their community agreement.

Closing: (5 minutes; facilitator guided)

The facilitator will ask the participants if they have any questions concerning the material presented. Before leaving, the facilitator will thank all the participants for their open and honest feedback and their willingness to participate.

Application and Extension:

Participants will use their knowledge of intersectionality to help frame future DEI discussions and activities.

Intersectionality Identified
Thursday, March 24 | 7pm ET
Please join the Inclusion & Equity Committee for a discussion of intersectionality. By understanding the dimensions of diversity and how they intersect, we can begin to understand the complex and cumulative impact of discrimination and oppression. In this webinar, participants will learn about intersectionality as well as how to create branch or state programming for members on this concept.
WATCH THE RECORDING

Understanding Social Justice

We hear a great deal about justice and injustice, but finding references to “social justice” are scarce. Instead, it tends to be framed by interests, i.e. gender justice, racial justice, climate justice, healthcare justice, economic justice, criminal justice or restorative justice.

A possible definition of Social Justice: Where everyone is free to dream about and achieve everything they are capable of without the interference or inhibition of external factor/influences.

Program Plan:

We recommend that branches conduct this program in one meeting.

Facilitator Preparation (prior to the event):

To run a successful event, we recommend that the facilitator do some pre-work to prepare. The bulk of the pre-work includes preparing to lead the discussion and so we recommend the following steps:

  1. Read the AAUW sections on Social Justice.
  2. Prepare notes for use during the session.
  3. Read the Getting Started With Difficult Conversations section of the AAUW Toolkit. Learning to manage difficult conversations is a skill every facilitator should have, and this resource provides some helpful tips on how to ensure that your event is productive.
  4. Check to make sure you have all the supplies you will need for a successful meeting, including any you will need for activities and discussion.
  5. Contact the AAUW Inclusion and Equity Committee with any questions (diversity@aauw.org).

Facilitator Preparation (day of the event): 

The day of the event you’ll want to ensure that you have everything on hand that you will need to facilitate the conversation. We recommend thinking about each of these things in advance to maximize attendance and participation.

Materials: Paper, pencils/pens, markers, whiteboard, or large pads of paper to take notes on during the discussion. The facilitator should have the pads of paper/whiteboards, markers, and individual writing equipment set up prior to the beginning of the session.

Safety Considerations: Safety considerations are determined by the activities chosen and/or accommodations needed for maximum participation.

Accommodations: Facilitators should be aware of potentially biased language and work to eliminate these biases within their own discussion prompts. Also, facilitators should look for/ask about any physical or cognitive limitations that may limit or prohibit participation in included activities. For instance, a participant in a wheelchair may need widened aisles if an activity requires movement around the room.

Facilitator will:

  1. Engage all participants in session activities.
  2. Define all key terminology.
  3. Lead participants through discussions.
  4. Answer any questions from the participants, especially those that could deal with misconceptions and/or procedure.
  5. Supply writing utensils, paper, and other pertinent materials to allow participants to take part in activities.

Participants will:

  1. Take part in individual and group activities.
  2. Respect the facilitator, all participants, and their viewpoints.
  3. Ask any questions he/she/they may have on the lesson.
  4. Keep notes for later use.

Getting started: (15 minutes; facilitator guided)

The facilitator will ask attendees to talk about the definition of Social Justice. The input will be recorded in a place the group can see to use as a discussion topic later in the session. The facilitator may show the following videos

 

Facilitating the Discussion: (15 minutes; facilitator guided)

Together the group will review the AAUW-accepted definitions for the word “social justice.” Participants will be asked to compare their definitions to the definition inferred from the chosen video and the AAUW-accepted definition. This review will take place after the chosen video(s) have played and the AAUW definitions are presented. The facilitator will ask participants to share thoughts about their results. Sample discussion questions include:

  • What differences do you see between/among the definitions presented today?
  • What similarities do you see between/among the definitions presented today?
  • What do you think is missing from the definitions presented today?
  • How do these definitions fit with what you thought about social justice prior to today’s discussion?

 

Guided Exploration: (30 minutes; facilitator guided)

At this time, the facilitator will bring all participants together for a group discussion. The goal of the guided exploration is to help participants understand their branch/state culture.

  • The great things their organization is doing around social justice
  • New ideas to implement regarding social justice
  • Action plan of 3 – 5 items that the members will enact to become more aware of social justice

Sample facilitation may include:

  • What behaviors about social justice are you proud of your branch/state?
  • Are there other things that you can do within your branch/state to encourage social justice?
  • Can you think of a time where a potential member did not join because of lack of feeling comfortable in your branch/state?
  • How can we work to change to personally become more aware of social justice?
  • How can we work to address social justice in our organization?

The facilitator may want to include the group’s previously agreed upon definitions of social justice to use in this discussion. Specifically, the facilitator can tie diversity, unconscious bias, to social justice definitions.

The facilitator will then gather ideas from the group on how addressing social justice can help their branch meet diversity and equity goals as identified in their community agreement. The facilitator can then suggest participants place a check mark beside the 3 – 5 changes that they would like to see the group make to become more aware of social justice. At the end of this activity, a readout of the highest vote getting ideas could be discussed for implementation.

 

Closing: (5 minutes; facilitator guided)

The facilitator will ask the participants if they have any questions concerning the material presented. Before leaving, the facilitator will thank all the participants for their open and honest feedback and their willingness to participate.

 

Application and Extension:

Participants will use their knowledge of social justice to help frame their personal and group perspective. If an agreed action plan is developed these will be communicated to the entire branch/state.

Social Justice: Creating Change
Thursday, May 26 | 7pm ET
Social justice is at the core of what AAUW does every day. Whether at the national, state, or local level, AAUW staff, volunteers and members work incredibly hard to help share a more equitable world. What does it mean to support social justice and how is that different (or the same) as racial justice, economic justice and the other core issues that AAUW works on? Please save the date to join us for a discussion of social justice and what it truly means to be a part of AAUW’s impact.
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Belonging

Unfortunately, today we find ourselves presented with difficult questions and concerns about how to engage in conversations that relate to diversity, equity and inclusion. Our tendency is often to avoid or sidestep engaging in these difficult conversations, which in many circumstances and contexts can be a good choice. On the other hand, how do we engage in these difficult conversations? In this program we hope to provide some guidelines in how to convert difficult conversations to courageous, compassionate conversations that foster rather than erode our communities.

We recommend that branches break this program up into two sessions on separate days. They include:

Part 1: Defining what a “brave space, safe space” for difficult conversations means and arriving at a “brave space, safe space” set of ground rules for group discussions, and then enacting them. (1 – 1.5 hours)

Part 2: Discussing the importance of adding the word “belonging” to the concepts of “diversity, equity and inclusion.” What does the addition of this concept mean at branch, state and national levels, including website statements, programming, meetings, and so on? (1 hour).

The above paragraph suggests breaking this program into two sessions, but depending on the size of your group and the depth and scope of the topic, you may wish to devote three sessions to learning about how to engage with difficult, perhaps even controversial, topics. In fact, once you have completed an initial round of “brave space, safe space” conversations, you may wish to use your experience as a foundation for further exploration or to launch a series of further conversations.

Facilitator Preparation (prior to the event):

To run a successful event we recommend that the facilitator do some pre-work to prepare. Because this plug and play presentation is divided into two sessions, the facilitator may wish to divide preparation time accordingly. The bulk of the pre-work includes preparing to lead the discussion and so we recommend the following steps:

  1. Read the following terms and concepts contained in the Key Terms & Concepts sections in the toolkit: diversity, inclusion (including diversity vs. inclusion and inclusion vs. belonging), equity, unconscious bias, and microaggression.
  2. Read Getting Started with Difficult Conversations in the AAUW Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Toolkit.
  3. Request participants to identify and write down in advance some subjects or situations that suggest the need to engage in difficult conversations.
  4. About difficult conversations: Watch “Are you biased? I am,” Kristen Pressner
  5. [Part 2] About unconscious bias: Review the “Implementing the Program” portion of the AAUW Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Toolkit’s “Understanding Unconscious Bias” plug and play program (above). The digital resources cited in this program are particularly helpful.
  6. [Part 2] About microaggressions: Review “Microaggressions are a big deal: How to talk them out and when to walk away,” Andrew Limbong.
  7. [Part 2] About belonging: Review the “Creating Inclusive Spaces” plug and play in the AAUW Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Toolkit (above), and the video “Fostering a Sense of Belonging.
  8. Consider reading “Expert Tips for Conflict Management for Every Personality Type.” Reviewing this material may augment your understanding about how personality styles and approaches may impact how we deal with engaging in difficult conversations.
  9. You may also wish to provide the resources cited here to participants in advance of or after meetings.
  10. Prepare notes based on these resources for use during the sessions.
  11. Contact the AAUW Inclusion and Equity Committee with any questions (diversity@aauw.org).
  12. Don’t let this long list deter you! The citations to resources are meant to inform and encourage you and your discussions. After all, embracing “belonging” and using “brave space – safe space” principles can guide all of us in converting difficult conversations to courageous, compassionate conversations that foster rather than erode our communities.

Day of the event:

On the day of the event, ensure that you have everything on hand that you will need to facilitate the conversation. There will be different considerations depending on if the session is in-person, virtual (Zoom, Teams, etc.) or a hybrid.

Materials: Paper, pencils/pens, markers, and notepads that participants may wish to use in writing down comments or questions. A whiteboard or large pads of paper that can accommodate taking notes which are observable by all participants. The facilitator should have the materials set up prior to the beginning of the sessions. If the event(s) will be conducted virtually, required materials should be an online collaboration space such as the whiteboard function in Teams.

Safety Considerations: Safety considerations are determined by the activities chosen and/or accommodations needed for maximum participation.

Accommodations: Facilitators should be aware of potentially biased language and work to eliminate these biases within their own discussion prompts. Also, facilitators should look for/ask about any physical or cognitive limitations that may limit or prohibit participation in included activities. For instance, a participant in a wheelchair may need widened aisles if an activity requires movement around the room.

Facilitator will:

  1.  Engage all participants in session activities.
  2. Define all key terminology.
  3. Lead participants through discussions.
  4. Answer any questions from the participants, especially those that could deal with misconceptions and/or procedure.
  5. Supply writing utensils, paper, and other pertinent materials to allow participants to take part in activities.

Participants will:

  1.  Take part in individual and group activities.
  2. Bring to the session personal examples of situations in which difficult conversations may be necessary
  3. Respect the facilitator, all participants and their viewpoints.
  4. Ask any questions he/she may have on the lesson.
  5. Keep notes for later use.

FIRST SESSION: “BRAVE SPACES, SAFE SPACES”

Getting started: (10 minutes; facilitator guided)

The facilitator will ask attendees if they have brought examples of subjects or situations that might suggest the need to engage in a difficult conversation. Before discussing these examples, the facilitator will guide participants in creating a “brave space, safe space” environment which will foster courageous and compassionate discussions.

The first step is for the facilitator to lead a discussion about how long each participant will have to present an opinion or idea before another participant is given an opportunity to do so. A suggested time limit for each participant statement is 2 minutes.

Someone or a small group of participants should be identified and approved to take notes of the discussion on the whiteboard or large pads of paper so that everyone can observe them. Participants should be given the opportunity to correct or amend any note if it does not accurately represent the participant’s words, but not whether it is right or wrong on a substantive basis. The latter can take place once the “brave space, safe space” ground rules are established. The ground rules established in the First Session should be written down so that they will be available for use in the Second Session.

The facilitator will ask the group if it is appropriate to choose someone to monitor the previously agreed upon time limits and whether the discussion keeps within the “brave space, white space” ground rules. If so, a monitor should be identified and approved by the participants.

Facilitating the Discussion: (30-35 minutes; facilitator guided)

The facilitator will lead a discussion about ‘brave space, safe space” ground rules, with a view towards ensuring that everyone is heard. These will be the rules that will be followed during discussions about difficult conversations. Before engaging in this process, the facilitator will clarify and obtain agreement from the participants that participants’ statements should remain confidential.

Sample questions and concepts for arriving at these agreed-upon ground rules might include:

  • What are your feelings about the importance of defining a “brave, safe space?”
  • How do you personally usually manage conflict – avoid, confront, collaborate, accommodate, and how might this affect your engaging in difficult conversations?
  • How can open and honest dialogue be encouraged?
  • What does active listening or listening with a view towards understanding mean?
  • How can we foster open and honest dialogue?
  • What does it mean to disagree, but to do so with respect and empathy?
  • What is the importance of beginning statements with an “I” perspective, rather than asserting, for example, what the “facts” or “data” indicate a certain proposition?
  • Would using a Native talking stick facilitate or complication discussions?

Guided Exploration: (15 minutes; facilitator guided)

The facilitator or other participant should collect participants’ previously prepared statements or thoughts about subjects or situations that suggest the need to engage in difficult conversations. Using the “brave space, safe space” parameters, the group should discuss them. One method to initiate this process is to display all statements and have each member vote directly or by serial ranking (1, 2, 3) about which topics to discuss and in what order. The point of this activity is not to agree or obtain consensus on whether or how these difficult conversations should take place, but to explore how they might be handled given a “brave space, safe space” perspective.

Closing: (5 minutes; facilitator guided)

The facilitator will ask the participants if they have any questions concerning the material presented. Before leaving, the facilitator will thank all the participants for their open and honest feedback and their willingness to participate. The facilitator will remind the participants the ground rules created will be used in the next activity and future discussions.

Application and Extension:

Participants will use the ground rules for future DEI discussions and activities.

 

SECOND SESSION: “BELONGING”

Getting started: (5 minutes; facilitator guided)

The facilitator should remind participants of the “brave space, safe space” ground rules established in the First Session. If possible, these should be printed and provided to participants at the beginning of meeting. The facilitator may wish to introduce the topics which will be discussed during the Session, including unconscious bias, microaggressions and what it may mean for AAUW to adopt the concept of belonging as a value.

Facilitating the Discussion: (15-20 minutes; facilitator guided)

The facilitator will lead a discussion on “unconscious bias” and “microaggressions” using AAUW accepted definitions and the video resources referred to above in the “Prior to the Event – Facilitator Preparation” section. Sample discussion topics include:

  • How do these definitions fit in, or not, with your view of the terms?
  •  Do you recognize examples of unconscious bias or microaggressions that you have observed? Or that you realize you have personally committed?
  • How can we work to further understand and eliminate these processes?
  • How and when should we call out instances of unconscious bias or microaggressions?
  • How do we titrate our experiences of guilt when we realize the existence of our own unconscious bias or having committed microaggression?

Guided Exploration: (20-30 minutes; facilitator guided)

Using the parameters established by the “brave space, safe space” ground rules, the facilitator will ask the participants to consider the meaning of “belonging” and what adding the concept of “belonging” brings to the concepts of “diversity, equity and inclusion.” It may be helpful to show the You Tube video on “Psychological Safety: Fostering A Sense of Belonging” referred to above in the “Facilitator Preparation: Prior to the Event” section. Sample questions to consider include:

  • What is your definition of “belonging?”
  • How have you experienced “belonging” or “not belonging?”
  • How is “belonging” different than “inclusion?”
  •  Why has it taken so long for this concept to be acknowledged?

The facilitator will then initiate a discussion about adding a “belonging” perspective to their branch. This might include reviewing and modifying references on its website, and how might programming, meetings and activities look like and operate. Depending on the size of the group, the facilitator may suggest forming small groups to discuss these topics, and then reporting back to the entire group for further discussion. Some questions to consider include:

  • Does your branch currently practice the concept of “belonging” and, if so, how?
  • How is “belonging” different from “diversity” and “inclusion?”
  • What do you think about these descriptions: diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance, and belonging is knowing all the songs.
  • Your website might speak of seeking diversity, equity and inclusion and/or not presenting barriers to membership, but what would adding “belonging” to that statement look like?
  •  What concrete steps should be taken to confirm a sense of “belonging” in your branch and at state and National AAUW levels?

The participants may then create a list of actions that can and should be taken to foster a sense of belonging at all levels of AAUW membership.

Closing: (5 minutes; facilitator guided)

The facilitator will ask the participants if they have any questions concerning the material presented. Before leaving, the facilitator will thank all the participants for their open and honest feedback and their willingness to participate. It may also be helpful for the facilitator and a number of session participants to draft and disseminate to all participants a request for them to comment on the sessions, and how their conclusions might be implemented.

Application and Extension:

Participants will use their knowledge of microaggressions and belonging to help frame future DEI discussions and activities.