One of the ways IP Inclusive aims to make the IP sector in the UK more diverse and inclusive is by creating support groups for ‘minority’ groups working in IP. So far, IP Inclusive has set-up IP Out, a networking group for LGBT people and “straight allies” working in the IP profession. The IP Inclusive Women in IP group is also in the making and should hold its first event later in the year. Some of the Women in IP events will be open to women and to men who want to help the profession become more welcoming and supportive of women.
IP Inclusive decided to create these groups in response to feedback from people within the IP sector who felt that such groups would provide them a ‘safe’ network in which they could share advice and support. Having these networks and connections can help some people feel more included and less isolated in the profession or workplace.
However, some people may question how such support groups help to create a more diverse and inclusive workforce, as the groups may appear to be exclusive rather than inclusive. Some view support groups as indicative of an underlying bias towards those in the support group. The riposte is simple: (1) if the support groups interest you, you are most welcome to ask to join the group and its events; and (2) if hiring and promotion decisions are truly merit-based, underlying biases towards any characteristic should not affect these decisions.
We hope to announce the details of IP Inclusive’s first Women in IP event soon. In the meantime, here is the second of two articles about the recent AIPLA Women in IP event.