By Elena Ruzic
Diversity is an intersectional issue, covering multiple areas of society. To champion and safeguard diversity is to amplify the voices of marginalized groups – people excluded because of their differences from what is considered “normal” (ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual and romantic orientation, economic status, etc.). ICDO’s mission is to foster change in the current social landscape, so that we can move towards a diverse and inclusive society.
We are part of the #SKINCLUSION campaign because it is a forerunner of that change. By showing via research that skin types have unique reactions to sunlight, the initiative highlights the importance of complete inclusion in the beauty and skincare industry. However, this initiative isn’t just about skin types, but diversity in general.
ICDO promotes an inclusive understanding of beauty because it’s important to emphasize that everyone is beautiful in every way, and that each culture’s standards are valid. Beauty affects behavior – routines, skincare, and leisure activities often vary to a great extent depending on the culture’s beauty perception. It is one of many factors that influence the mutual understanding of cultural differences, as people usually strive to conform to their society’s beauty standards, which may clash with the standards of other communities. The beauty industry needs to accommodate the different standards of beauty instead of enforcing theirs (by limiting the range of products, excluding certain groups from testing, and other means).
The #SKINCLUSION initiative is also important to ICDO because it raises awareness about differences. Our team members represent cultures from all over the world: Africa to Asia, Europe to Latin America. This variety in backgrounds brings a wealth of experience to the table and helps us make more informed choices.
We’re also proud to collaborate with Obagi because their leadership is made up of women. Jaime Castle, President of Obagi, female-led skincare brand, has been awarded the ICDO Excellence Award 2019 for her leadership and commitment in safeguarding diversity and inclusivity. Gender equality is important to us, and the presence of women is crucial to create tangible change in fields that affect a lot of women, such as the beauty industry.
Diversity is necessary for an inclusive world, in which our differences are understood, accepted, and respected. We are all different and that’s okay. It’s better than okay – it is how it’s meant to be. Difference is beautiful.