On Wednesday 24th February, ACCA, PwC and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development held the highly relevant and needed webinar ‘Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging- Supporting the agenda in the post-pandemic workplace’. 
A panel of experienced speakers, ranging from the heads for Inclusion at large international organisations to the director of an umbrella NGO dedicated to disability rights, discussed how the current pandemic has had a range of both negative and positive consequences on the labour market and within the workplace when it comes to diversity, inclusion and belonging.  
During the panel discussion it came forward that the pandemic is exacerbating pre-existing inequalities in and around professional life, people with disabilities and women have received the short end of the stick with a greater loss of jobs, consequent loss of financial and social protection and an increased overlap of personal and professional lives that particularly penalises women’s careers. One of the key points raised was that regardless of whether women are the primary or secondary earner of the household, they still carry the majority of unpaid labour (housework, childcare, etc.).  
While the panellists highlighted that the pandemic has provided some positive outcomes such as a greener approach to professional life (reduced commuting), an increased accessibility to the virtual workplace (when online working is fully accessible), and the emergence of greater commonalities between men and women in homeworking, they also noted that this past year has witnessed a general trend from employers and organisations where diversity, inclusion and belonging have been relegated from top priorities.  
Furthermore they stressed that public legislators at the national and European level in particular are bearing their share of work to advance equity and non-discrimination in all spheres of our social lives, professional leadership has a crucial role to play in the latter’s advancement. The session concluded with the message that the current situation must be seized as the time to reflect on these issues, as diversity, inclusion and belonging present a unique opportunity for attracting talent and for fostering a welcoming and supportive work environment which will retain its employees. Doing so in the workplace creates benefits that go well beyond it, such as breaking down prejudices and stereotypes and providing role models. 
In keeping with the Commission’s fresh momentum through the Union for Equality, EuropeActive has endorsed a proactive stance on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in the fitness and physical activity sector following the publication of our Horizon 2025 Sectoral Manifesto last September (2020) and the establishment of our DEI Advisory Group. 
Feb 25, 2021 By Ioana Marica