Don't Be a Dodo

Diversity, Equity, Accessibility & Inclusion: Staying Relevant in a Changing World

The statistics are startling:

  • The World Economic Forum predicts that it will take 202 years to reach economic gender equity in the workplace—a significant increase from 2016’s 170 years.

  • In our own AZA organizations, we count 71% male, 29% female CEOs, just a one-point gain from 2014.
    In AZA organizations with budgets greater than $30M, only 3% of CEOs are female.

  • It’s worse when we look at racial and ethnic diversity in AZA, CEOs are 99% white and trending the wrong way: 2016 saw 95% white in our leadership.

Meanwhile the communities we serve are changing:

  • New data suggest that a signature feature of U.S. demographic change in the 21st century is the aging and decline of the white population, along with population growth among young minorities to counterbalance the trend.

    • According to 2017 Census Bureau data, there is an absolute decline in the nation’s white non-Hispanic population—accelerating a phenomenon that was not projected to occur until the next decade.

    • The new numbers show that for the first time there are more children who are minorities than who are white, at every age from zero to nine.

The evidence is clear. If we in the zoo and aquarium profession don’t change and become more diverse, we risk extinction…just like the dodo. “The current demographics of our profession, particularly at the most senior levels, pose a threat to our profession”, said Dennis Kelly, author of the AZA’s most recent leadership demographic study.  

With these sobering facts as a backdrop, Zoo Advisors facilitated a panel - Embracing Culture Change - at the 2019 AZA Director’s Policy Conference in Nashville in January 2019 to open doors (and hearts and minds) to further conversation on this critical topic.

Click here to read our full report.