Don't Just Believe in an Inclusive Future!


You may be inclined to think that women and girls represent half of the world’s population and, therefore, also half of its potential. Wrong! It is this linear and restrictive thinking shaped by societal norms, cultural biases, and historical inequalities that I feel compelled to address today.

The topic of an inclusive future is deeply personal to me. I grew up around the wisdom of my mother and the brilliance of my sisters. Throughout my personal and professional life I have learned countless lessons from female mentors, and many an inspirational woman have helped me become the person I am today—first among them my wife. And as I witness the iron will of my six-year-old daughter, I know that when given the equal opportunities women and girls around us rightfully deserve, the impact can be so much more—it can be exponential!

This month, and especially today, we will see a deluge of content underlining the importance of gender representation in our workplaces and the benefits of achieving socioeconomic equity—but most of the time, that conversation ends up being the entire journey.

While just acknowledging our reality is a significant first step, today I urge you, especially my male counterparts and fellow allies, to consciously move forward and take that second big step:

Don't be the leader who just believes in an inclusive future—be the one that creates it.

Your actionable allyship, and that of privileged peers and colleagues, is crucial for advancing this movement in our society. We know that integrating marginalized voices into the fabric of our organizations is an innovative and rewarding journey that enriches the entire ecosystem. But authenticity in such an allyship is not given, it is earned. How?

Think about it, define it, practice it!

To this knowledge, let me add some wisdom from my personal experience:

When thinking about allyship: Embrace the Discomfort

Understanding different perspectives can be uneasy but necessary. Admit the things that you do not know and show the necessary humility and patience to learn them. It's not just about implementing policies or ticking boxes; it's a lifelong pursuit of knowing what we don't know.

When defining it: Make it Personal

Directives alone don't cut it. Make inclusion a personal priority and express your authentic commitment through clear words and actions. No one expects you to have the answers but everyone appreciates when you communicate what you're doing, why you’re doing it, and your progress.

When practicing it: Expand Accountability

Advocate, mentor, and actively champion the careers of women and underrepresented groups within your organization so you can open doors to opportunities they might not have access to. Take it a step further by expanding to the best of your ability, your diversity and representation requirements beyond your teams and onto your broader ecosystem—whether that is to suppliers, partners, or customers. Set an enviable standard for the industry.

And no matter what: Don't Give Up!

Whether you see progress or not, continue doing it just as anything else you do. Effective allyship is like building up dormant muscles—it takes time and repetition. You're bound to make mistakes along the way, and that's okay. What's important is your willingness to learn from those mistakes, to apologize when necessary, and to keep moving forward with a commitment to do better.

An equitable future will not just happen. We will have to create it every single day, through every single action and every single word. Together, let's not just dream of an inclusive world; let's build it.

#IWD2024 #inspireinclusion #WINclusion#DiversityInTech

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About the Author
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Nabil Bukhari
Chief Product and Technology Officer, GM of Subscription Business

Nabil serves as the Chief Product and Technology Officer, and GM of Extreme’s subscription business. In his role, Nabil leads the vision, strategy, execution and delivery of Extreme’s suite of differentiated products and technologies, driving an ever-improving experience for customers.

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