National Inclusion Week 2020 - What inclusion means to me: Shameema Yousuf

30th September 2020

As part of National Inclusion Week (28 September to 2 October 2020), and in line with the recently established Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee, BASES will be sharing stories from the EDI Committee Members on what inclusion means to them, to help raise awareness about Inclusion in the workplace.

National Inclusion Week 2020:

What does inclusion mean to me?

Sawubona” a Zulu greeting; I see you, you are important to me and I value you. “Hunhu/Ubuntu” a Shona/Zulu philosophy; I am because we are.

I am a sport psychologist and mental health clinical practitioner with transnational career experiences. I work with clients in Africa, Asia, Australia, UK, and USA. As a practitioner psychologist my counselling incorporates cultural understanding and is reflected in my practices with clients of all identities and unique experiences, given we each have a culture. My work in cultural diversity also includes impacting policy, strategy development, advocacy, and scholarly work through a transnational intersectional feminist lens.

Inclusion to me is not about any one identity, but rather the diverse and unique experiences and skills of individuals being appreciated and recognised as valuable within any collective environment, without the need to adopt and assimilate to the dominant culture. Inclusion is about anyone who feels that they do not “fit” or “belong” being acknowledged and valued. It is about recognising the privileges and power that comes with certain group belonging and being active in dismantling barriers that prevent those without privileged power, from having their voices heard and amplified in spaces where they are marginalised. Diversity and inclusion to me is about examining critically why certain spaces remain homogenous, and how we have invalidated the experiences of those who don’t adopt the identity of the dominant culture by examining our blind spots and biases.

As a transnational professional of intersectional identity, cultural diversity has always been richly interwoven through life experience. Born and raised in Africa during British colonial apartheid era, to parents of Indian ethnicity and Islamic faith, my world view has been shaped by intersectional beliefs and values within a collective community. Inspired by my father, an anti- apartheid activist, I aim to continue to validate the experiences of those marginalised, will continue to dismantle barriers, and continue to learn more about the experiences of those with diverse characteristics to positively drive inclusivity. 

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Shameema Yousuf, HCPC Regd Practitioner Sport Psychologist                                                      Member BASES Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee                                                          Practitioner Psychologist, Empower2Perform

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BASES stands for the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences. BASES is the professional body for sport and exercise sciences in the UK.

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