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Diversity Atlas Product Updates by Cultural Attaché Quincy Hall

July 20, 2023
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Most company product updates are dry and dead-boring, but our cultural attaché has managed to weave a Ugandan death penalty reference, gay-romance at the Trojan war and remote Albanian worship into his product update.

Some answers can be altered”

At Diversity Atlas we are incredibly proud of our huge cultural datasets; the world’s biggest (commercially available).  But sometimes, for some places and people, they’re considered too inclusive.  Our sexuality drop-down (for instance) contains some selections for which the ‘acts’ or expressions are illegal in some countries, such as Uganda.  Each customer then has a choice – it is quite often not illegal to ask about sexuality (even if the answer might reveal a forbidden identity or association), and so, should they a) ask the question of their staff, knowing Prefer not to Answer and even incorrect answers are still an option, or b) should they remove options such as ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian’, or c) should they just turn the whole question off, play it safe, and not ask it at all?

As much as we insist the former is the best approach, we understand that not all organisations are at the same juncture in their DEI journey, have the same pain-points, the same extent of legal support and/or legal interpretation, or even share the same level of demographic interest in their people.  We work with our customers to bring about the most perfect survey experience for their cohort, and enabling some level of manipulation on answers makes this process more bespoke to their needs. 

Besides which, it can lead to additions to our datasets!  Just last week a suggestion came to us for a new entry in our sexuality datasets.  “Achillean”, named after the Greek mythological hero, Achilles.  It is defined in our internal literature as:  “a man or man-aligned individual who is attracted to other men and man-aligned people .”(source unknown).  I assume the origin of the word is a nod to the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus on the Trojan battlefields and if you want to know more about that I highly recommend reading ‘Song of Achilles’ by Madeline Miller.  I never thought I would see the day that I’d be recommending a romance novel (I prefer bleak un-sexy nihilism in my literature), but it was that good. 

“Albanian Greek-speaking Orthodox”

Speaking of Greece, we were running an audit recently on our entries in the Religion / Worldview datasets and came across an entry:  Albanian Greek-speaking Orthodox.  We had Albanian Orthodox of course, and we had Greek Orthodox (and we can safely assume that the Greek Orthodox church would have a presence in their neighbouring country), but what of this third entry?  Was it an accidental double-up of Greek Orthodox in Albania?  Our religion research team were set to work and, well, it was no mistake!  They found that “…there are regional minorities that carry out their liturgical practices in Greek rather than Albanian,” and that these groups are somewhat independent of both the official Albanian and Greek Orthodox administrations.  This is not so much a product update as it is a product stay-the-same but it does illuminate the complexity of the task and the care that we bring to our lists. 

Photo Credit: Vardan Papikyan / Upsplash

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