Kickstart: Diversity hard to define, important to enact

Diversity is a big buzzword. It’s also very hard to define. Sure, you may think you know what it is, but do you? A week or so I go, I saw a headline about adding diversity to a trade group, which consisted of a photo of mostly white middle-aged men. I was ready to mock it. But in this case, the group was using the term “diversity” to reflect that it was adding voices from throughout the supply chain, rather than just one big segment of it.So, that’s obviously one take on diversity.Most commonly, diversity is used to emphasize the importance of bringing more racial, ethnic and gender voices to the table, but that is only part of the story.Women continue to be underrepresented, while millennial and Gen Z voices have important things to say about the direction of the industry, although they’re frequently shut out of discussions.Add to that the complexities involved with bringing forward more people with disabilities. There’s an interesting read in Chemical & Engineering News about the difficulties for deaf and hard-of-hearing chemists who rely on sign language, specifically that for chemical terms.”It’s important to have someone to bounce your ideas off of, and deaf people oftentimes are so siloed,” Mandy Houghton told C&EN’s Leigh Krietsch Boerner.”I hate going to scientific conferences,” chemistry professor Daniel Lundberg of Gallaudet University added, noting that most sign language interpreters aren’t versed in scientific terms.Diversity isn’t just about photo ops or public relations stunts, and to truly create an inclusive workforce, diversity in hiring is just the first step.”This is a huge field of differences that is hard to get your arms around, but if you are successful, it can mean tremendous positive growth for the company and our world,” Cheri Alexander, professor of faculty management and organizations at the , told Automotive News. “It is critical today, more than ever.”On Aug. 2, Plastics News will publish a feature focusing on diversity in the plastics industry. We’d like to hear more about how you’re adding diverse voices to your company, and both the benefits and hard work taken toward that goal. Please drop an email either to Editor Don Loepp at or me at to let us know so we can share your story. Can Plastic help treat people with cognitive issues? Sweden’s Hexpol TPE and Icho Systems GmbH have joined forces on a “therapy ball,” a small plastic ball housing lights and sensors that can help older people with dementia or children with autism disorders who need help learning to focus.The is made with an injection-molded outer skin that houses the lights, speaker, sensors and electronics, our sister paper Rubber & Plastics News writes.Hexpol’s Mediprene thermoplastic elastomer was selected due to its soft-touch haptics and good light permeability, Hexpol said in a news release. Mediprene is easily cleaned and resistant to the most common cleaning fluids used in the health care environment.You can . In another sign of business life returning to normal, this week marks the return of the , the first major auto show since the pandemic shut down most events in early 2020.There’s a media day set for July 14, followed by a shortened show for the public, July 15-19.The show at Chicago’s McCormick Place will be a little smaller than typical years in terms of the square footage, but organizers say up to 150,000 visitors are expected.Automakers also will take over some space on neighboring streets during the “Special Edition” show, allowing for outdoor rides and events. Do you have an opinion about this story? Do you have some thoughts you’d like to share with our readers? Plastics News would love to hear from you. Email your letter to Editor at Staying current is easy with Plastics News delivered straight to your inbox, free of charge. Subscribe to Plastics News Plastics News covers the business of the global plastics industry. We report news, gather data and deliver timely information that provides our readers with a competitive advantage.Customer Service:

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