Belonging and Inclusion: Priorities and Action Plan

We are dedicated to belonging, equity, diversity and inclusion (BEDI) within Gamma Phi Beta. We are committed to a focused, thorough, deliberate and actionable process that is rooted in and guided by our four Core Values: Love, Labor, Learning and Loyalty. Gamma Phi Beta should be an organization where all members feel welcome and equally valued at all stages of their membership.

In early 2019, the 2018-20 Gamma Phi Beta International Council (IC) established the Belonging and Inclusion Task Force (BITF). The BITF’s charge was to recommend a strategy to increase members' competency and Sorority practices related to BEDI.

In October 2019, the BITF submitted recommendations to IC based on their experiences and professional learning, listening tour results, individual appointments made to discuss the topic, as well as their general knowledge of current sorority culture, practices, policies and relationships. The full report can be viewed after login at GammaPhiBeta.org > Member > Collegians/Alumnae/Volunteers > Additional Resources. International Council accepted the report, and as a result established the Belonging and Inclusion Committee to carry out the work of the BITF.

The Belonging and Inclusion Committee prioritized Gamma Phi Beta’s action plan based on the recommendations in the BITF report. The following plan aligns with the categories in the report and is organized by the fiscal year (FY)* the work will begin. This list will continue to grow and change with our organization, and many items will need to be completed on an annual basis. 

*Gamma Phi Beta’s FY begins August 1 and goes through July 31 annually.

KNOWLEDGE

To Begin FY21

  • Develop and execute a document/curriculum/ritual and program/policy audit of language, alignment, and strategic direction of One Gamma Phi Beta to ensure our work product and policy language is contributory and reflective of the inclusion of all members and staff.
  • Benchmark and evaluate the International Headquarters workplace environment and staffing structure to remain attractive and relevant as an employer to aggressively and consistently meet and exceed current and future workforce expectations.
  • Assess, address, and ultimately expand the accessibility of Gamma Phi Beta to provide connective resources to differently-abled, multi-lingual members and volunteers.
  • Assess and expand the current integration of BEDI in training and education (materials, curriculum, visuals, presenters, etc.) provided by Gamma Phi Beta and guests.
  • Provide curated shared learning experience across the organization on various BEDI topics.

To Begin FY22

  • Evaluate the opportunities to create a meaningful workforce experience that is inclusive and establishes a sense of belonging.

Relationships – Internal

To Begin FY21

  • Review existing practices related to Legacies and Recommendations in the member selection process.
  • Establish perpetual financial support for the professional and leadership development of volunteers, staff, and collegiate members in the areas of BEDI.
  • Create systems and spaces (affinity groups) for women who identify with marginalized groups to gather virtually and at Gamma Phi Beta events.
  •  All appointing and nominating teams incorporate education, practice, and application of BEDI competencies. Establish the expectation that BEDI is discussed as part of the appointment/nomination process.

To Begin FY22

  • Develop a multi-tiered approach to education and development of relationships at various member stages.
  • Establish an accountability partner to ensure the BEDI focused strategies and tactics are implemented and assessed.

Relationships - External

To Begin FY20

  • Revisit the support of and relationship with the Fraternity and Sorority Political Action Committee (FSPAC). Utilizing the BEDI framework, identify opportunities to better align the FSPAC agenda with this work or withdraw from the FSPAC.

To Begin FY21

  • Identify potential partnerships with organizations or companies for consultant-based work on BEDI.

To Begin FY22

  • Include in Gamma Phi Beta’s NPC strategy, a call for action by NPC to position the Conference and its members as Champions of BEDI.
  • Identify philanthropic efforts accessible to all members and opportunities to align resources that support Gamma Phi Betas domestically and internationally.

Research

To Begin FY21

  • Complete a ritual and document/manual audit to ensure a cohesive and consistent expression of inclusive language/images and member identity representation for BOTH collegians and alumnae.
  • Assess the dues landscape across all chapters. Analyze fee structures and policies to assess whether they support women who face socioeconomic barriers to membership and/or work while in school.
  • Survey the organizational landscape for existing frameworks (such as a framework for tracking organizational progress) that can be applied to BEDI work within Gamma Phi Beta.

To Begin FY22

  • To add context to sisterhood research that has already been undertaken and begin to identify patterns or trends, conduct focus groups with chapters who are performing well and not performing well based on the parameters of that study.
  • Further, explore the sisterhood research findings specific to women who work while in school, pay their own membership fees, and race.
  • Conduct focus groups with chapters whose current demographics are reflective of the projected future trends in higher education to begin to identify attributes of these chapters, Panhellenic systems, and campuses that are enabling a more diverse and inclusive membership.
  • Incorporate Canadian demographic and post-secondary enrolment trends into the projections that are being considered for the future growth of the organization to help better inform decision-making around whether we will continue to grow as an international organization.
  • Complete an audit of the ritual manual and related documents to identify and understand areas or practices that may impede belonging and inclusion within the organization.
  • Conduct a historical data search to identify significant changes in member demographics and celebrate it.
  • Conduct an audit of Human Resources policies to ensure that Gamma Phi Beta’s workforce is treated with equity and in a manner that promotes inclusion.
  • Assess processes for Canadian sisters to understand their unique barriers to participating fully in the organization.
  • Implement an exit survey for graduating members as part of the senior celebration to include questions around BEDI. This would also assist in tracking alumnae demographics and membership data more generally.
  • Collect and maintain accurate membership data for all members (alumnae and collegians) and enhance tracking and storage.

Communication 

To Begin FY20

  • Make accessible to the membership, staff, and key stakeholders of Gamma Phi Beta the complete BITF report.
  • Create and disseminate a focused internal communications strategy with segmented audience content designed to share (the following) insights (see page 11 of task report)
  • Create a public statement of belief and commitment to the work of BEDI.
  • Compose an annual, public-facing and internally-distributed progress report on the BITF recommendations to transcend transitions and variances in leadership at the highest levels.

To Begin FY21

  • Host presentations at 2020 REAL Leadership events and Convention to share what the task force has done, future work, and what this means to the larger membership experience in Gamma Phi Beta.
  • Complete an audit of all REAL Leadership and Member Program curriculum and content to ensure visible and verbal representation/acknowledgment of: Various socio-economic backgrounds, LGBTQIA identities, marital and relationship statuses, body-types, ability, nationality, religion, etc.
  • Streamline processes to increase the nimbleness of communication and action for chapters when an issue related to BEDI arises.
  • Celebrate heritage months (ex: Black History, Pride, Women's History, etc.) through all forms of communication.

To Begin FY22

  • Create a document, post-recommendation review with International Council, with talking points designed to provide them with both emotional and rational insights that are easily shared with various constituents about the collective work of Gamma Phi Beta.
  • Create a collection of visual collateral focused on representation, celebration, promotion, and exploration of the intersecting identities of members.
  • Implement the practice of a Land Acknowledgement Statement at the start of every Real Leadership event and Convention.

Stay Updated

In addition to quarterly action item updates, IC will provide updates regarding our diversity, belonging and inclusion efforts in each From Your IC email. Each issue of From Your IC can be accessed after login at GammaPhiBeta.org > Member > My Member News > State of the Sorority.