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Don’t hide behind your diversity data

February 25, 2022, 9:37 PM UTC

LGBTQ rights are under assault across the country, we recall a painful anniversary of a shameful time in American history, and Jonathan Vanian reports how to make sure the diversity data you share is actually meaningful—and not performative.

But first, here’s your Russia invasion of Ukraine week in review in Haiku.

The war on your phone,
in your feeds, in the lives of
others, sometimes yours.

The war on your phone
has a deadly urgency
firefights, sanctions,

speeches, promises
broken, distant memories
of a march to the

sea. Children fleeing
families taking up arms.
Headlines and flak suits.

The war on your phone,
in your feeds, in the lives of
others, sometimes yours.

Wishing you peaceful weekend.

Ellen McGirt
@ellmcgirt
Ellen.McGirt@fortune.com

In brief

More companies appear to be disclosing racial and ethnic workforce data, a sign that stakeholder pressure is causing executives to be more transparent when it comes to diversity and inclusion.

As the Just Capital firm previously detailed, 55% of Russell 1000 companies have disclosed racial and ethnic workforce data as of September 2021. That’s a big jump from January of that year, when only 32% of the companies disclosed the data.

Ashley Marchand Orme, the director of corporate equity for Just Capital, explains that executives are feeling pressure from multiple constituents to release the data, including investors, the American public, and regulators like the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The fact that companies are disclosing more of this kind of data is a sign of progress, she notes. (Check out Fortune's efforts to add this data to the annual Fortune 500 list.)

But, of course, not all data is created equal.

As Orme explains, roughly 20% of companies released “some kind of data around people of color,” in which they essentially “glued together this broader category of people of color.” As the Just Capital report explained, this is “highly generalized data” that lumps “together racial and ethnic groups that have different economic, social, and cultural experiences in the U.S.” This means that these companies released data that contrasts their “white” workforce with everyone else who is considered “non-white” or “minority.”

About 24% of companies have disclosed data that contains more detailed information about the specific racial and ethnic groups of their workforce, identifying groups like Black, Asian, and Native American.

And 11% of companies “provide that more detailed intersectional data that investors want to see more of,” which includes details like which job titles are more associated with certain racial and ethnic groups. This diversity data, often revealed via the EEO-1 reports that companies with over 100 workers must disclose to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, can be the most useful disclosure data.

Orme says that if companies disclose their diversity data, they should consider “the actionable insights” that they’re looking to obtain. Revealing data that shows whether Asian Americans are being represented in executive roles, for instance, could help reveal to businesses and their stakeholders potential diversity problems at their company, which could spur management to make changes.

In other words, executives could use detailed data to craft thoughtful policies and make changes to the company culture that actually improves workforce diversity. And investors and the public (like a company’s customers) get a window into how the company considers diversity issues, and whether or not management is following through with its potentially publicized intent to support people of color in the workforce.

The more transparent the data, the better.

Jonathan Vanian 
@JonathanVanian
jonathan.vanian@fortune.com

On point: Ukraine

Fortune’s news team has been covering the invasion of Ukraine around the clock, including here and here. We encourage you to follow along.

In today’s issue of CEO DailyFortune CEO Alan Murray reported what some global business leaders are saying about the crisis in Ukraine. Laura Newinski, Chief Operating Officer of KPMG, said “it’s very unclear how politically we are going to be able to come together and make a difference here.”

And in today’s issue of the Broadsheet, Emma Hinchliffe rounded up female world leaders’ statements on the invasion. For instance, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who is integral in deciding which sanctions to place against Russia, said we are facing an “unprecedented act of aggression by the Russian leadership against a sovereign, independent country.” (Summary provided by Jane Thier.)

 

This edition of raceAhead was edited by Wandy Felicita Ortiz.

On Point, LGBTQ youth

It’s time to stand up for trans youth Two governmental actions were in the news this week, sending shockwaves through LGBTQ youth, their families, and allies. The first was the “Don’t Say Gay” bill which passed the Florida House this week, and which would prevent any "classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity" in Florida schools. The second came in the form of a letter Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sent the Department of Family and Protective Services, directing “licensed professionals” and “members of the general public” to report the parents of any youth who may appear to be receiving gender-affirming treatment. On Monday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton declared that transition care for youth, like hormones or surgery, was a form of child abuse.

Make no mistake, these actions are part of a widespread movement to discriminate against LGBTQ youth and families; dozens of states are considering anti-transgender legislation that would impact student-athletes, limit access to health care, and other discriminatory measures. You can (and should) track them here.

By criminalizing health care and attacking LGBTQ identity, the risk to LGBTQ youth is profound. The most recent annual survey from the Trevor Project, an organization dedicated to preventing suicide among LGBTQ youth, recently found that 42% of LGBTQ kids seriously considered suicide in 2021. Those who said they had at least one LGBTQ-affirming corner of their lives had lower rates of attempting suicide.

Many major medical associations have issued statements in support of gender-affirming treatment and access to caring medical professionals, and have denounced legislation that would criminalize medically-necessary gender transition-related care for trans youth.

The American Medical Association was clear: “Proponents of these disturbing bills often falsely assert that transgender care for minors is extreme or experimental. In fact, clinical guidelines established by professional medical organizations for the care of minors promote supportive interventions based on the current evidence and that enable young people to explore and live as the gender that they choose.” A round-up of other statements is below.
AMA Blog

On background: the internment of Japanese Americans

February 19 marked the 80th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, which forced the removal of some 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry from their homes and communities into incarceration camps. It is a terrible chapter in American history that is worth remembering. You might want to start with this heartbreaking story of Toshio Mori, who was born in Oakland California in 1910. The self-described “serious writer” had found a publisher for his short stories when he was forced to move with his family to the Topaz War Relocation Center in Utah. This NBC documentary will take you behind the scenes of the Tule Lake Segregation Center, the largest internment camp in the system. Authorities tricked Isamu Noguchi, a well-known and highly sought-after sculptor and designer, into visiting the Poston War Relocation Center by asking him to help set up an art center at the Poston War Relocation Center. Then, they wouldn’t let him leave. All of these stories are richly reported and speak to the profound resilience of Japanese Americans in the face of profoundly racist mistreatment. As a reminder, California has apologized for its role in the detention scheme.

Mood board

Japanese evacuees board a train at the Tanforan Assembly Center for a relocation camp, California, 1942. Now, we're watching it happen from our smartphones on TikTok...
Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG/Getty Images

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