Yunus & Youth believes diversity is an expression of our individual uniqueness and a powerful condition for collective change.
It includes, but is not limited to, our race, ethnicity, nationality and migrant status, language, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, socioeconomic status, age, physical and mental ability, and marital status. It is a product of our story, our background, our upbringing. It is what makes us unique and human. And it takes all kinds to make up our world.
We acknowledge that the human race has only survived because of diversity. However, we live in a world where underrepresented groups still fear raising their voices and being themselves. Almost 80% of organizations lack diversity in leadership positions. Almost 50% of workers have faced discrimination and/or harassment in the last year. At the same time, the benefits of building diversity are clear. Organizations with high levels of diversity perform up to 58% better than organizations with low levels of diversity; companies with higher diversity are more innovative, more likely to enter new markets and more open to change.
Currently, our network is composed of young social entrepreneurs from over 50 nationalities and multiple gender identities, ethnic identities, and sexual orientations. However, we acknowledge that we need to foster a higher representation of young social entrepreneurs from the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, rural areas and African diaspora communities.
Through this Manifesto, we make a commitment to take concrete actions that will further increase the diversity of our community.
We acknowledge that diversity goes beyond representation and visibility. To ensure diversity, we need to value people’s different cultural backgrounds, stories and life perspectives. This includes indigenous groups, women, youth, migrants, LGBTQIA+ people, people with disabilities, and other underrepresented groups. We are committed to empathizing with our applicants and Fellows, in order to grasp the true meaning of diversity in our community, one that tolerates various experiences, journeys and values. We deeply believe resiliency and strength are present in every human being, and that each individual’s story should be listened to and valued.
Along with diverse backgrounds, we also believe each person has a diverse set of skills, and that, as a program that supports social entrepreneurs, we must be committed to providing a platform that strengthens those skills.
We are committed to creating an open space to listen actively with an open heart. To do that, we will adapt our selection process and evaluation criteria until our network represents the world as it truly is, with various concepts of success, community and beauty.
We value equity over equality and do our very best to ensure that every person interested in joining our network has an equal opportunity to do so. This includes adding accessibility measures at all steps of the process.
As part of the selection process to join our community, we also look for young social entrepreneurs who share the values outlined in this manifesto: empathy, commitment, sense of community, so that we continue to foster true inclusion in our network.
We believe that ensuring diversity is the only way to create and sustain positive change. Diverse life perspectives, stories and ideas can build up a more inclusive and just world. Diversity allows for true innovation of ideas and solutions. It drives social change and fair economic prosperity. It leads us to concrete and lasting development, which does not leave anyone behind and respects our planetary boundaries at the same time.
Therefore, we seek to make our network more diverse each year. We ensure a safe and nurturing environment, which allows our diverse group of young entrepreneurs to explore their uniqueness and turn it into effective social change in their communities.
This manifesto was created collaboratively with Y&Y Fellows from all continents and various racial, sexual, physical and mental abilities and socioeconomic status.