If you, like me, are a person who uses the world's largest professional networking site, you were certainly impacted by the repercussions of an episode involving the platform. In a nutshell, on March 24 the platform deleted a job posting exclusively for black and indigenous people. The arbitrary measure generated a huge public commotion involving even private organizations, such as Natura.Co, and public administration bodies, such as Procon.
The public debate arising from the episode helped us discuss fundamental questions such as the importance of Affirmative Action for Brazilian society and its intentionality as a tool to promote equity in unequal contexts such as ours. Although the public commotion has indeed impacted the platform's movement, the policy's adaptation to the Brazilian legislation responded to a legal imperative.
In this article I present another perspective bringing to light the need for "tropicalization" of DEI and ESG policies, processes and strategies in global organizations.
The Statute of Racial Equality in its article 39 determines that "the public authorities will promote actions to ensure equal opportunities in the labor market for the black population, including by implementing measures to promote equality in public sector hiring and encouraging the adoption of similar measures in private companies and organizations. This article of the Statute supports the formal equality presented in article 5 of the Federal Constitution. Moreover, this same article gives materiality to the Principle of Isonomy, a principle that presents as a premise of justice the unequal treatment of individuals, which we can call positive discrimination.
To treat underrepresented social groups in a specific way is to meet the fundamentals of the principle of isonomy, which aims to equalize norms and procedures among individuals, ensuring that the law will be applied equally among people, taking into account their inequalities when formulating decisions, actions, and procedures (both public and private).
It is precisely this reasoning that should guide the strategic decisions of organizations that have Diversity, Equity and Inclusion as a commitment connected to the ESG agenda. Global companies operating in colonized countries, as is our case, must pay attention to the context of inequality in which they find themselves, understand the local legislation that gives rise to positive discrimination policies, and then tropicalize their strategies so that they are indeed effective and efficient in these contexts.
Linkedin needed this exposure and commotion to review its processes, policies, and procedures; your company does not need to make this mistake to adapt its reality to the new social paradigm that has at its core the people and human capital that make up the culture of your organization.
There will be no effective Social Agenda in ESG if it does not correspond to the concept of Social Justice of each country where the organization is established. Social Justice is done with Organizational Justice. In countries where inequality is structural and systemic, Organizational Justice is done through actions that promote Equity. Equity is made when we recognize these inequalities and use what is available in the legal system to act through positive discriminations, such as Affirmative Actions.
Reservation of openings, or openings targeted to a specific group, are legally backed up and, therefore, are the very intentionality of social justice in action. To act effectively and strategically on the ESG social agenda, organizations need to understand that it will not be by reproducing serial actions that it will succeed, decisions cascaded in a standardized and top down way is the same as maintaining the status quo, no different than was colonization itself. It is necessary to think and act for an ESG agenda that is tropical enough, and that respects the particularities of a country whose inequality is the product of a historical process of violation of original identities. That said, I affirm that Linkedin has not changed its mind, it has only done what needs to be done.