Back in June, we shared this note from our CEO, expressing our commitment to making our company and our product experience as inclusive as it can possibly be for everyone. At that time, we promised we would hold ourselves accountable and asked that you, our valued members, do so as well. Actions speak louder than words when it comes to making real and lasting change.
We are focused on building more inclusive product experiences, creating a more inclusive workplace and partnering with organizations who share our commitment to Inclusion & Diversity to amplify our voice in the community, while being transparent about our progress.
Here’s some of the progress we’re making:
Inclusive Product Experiences
- Inclusivity Guidelines: Our Intercultural Competence Committee , formed last year, plays a crucial role in ensuring new product features, marketing campaigns and programs are developed to be more inclusive. To that end, this committee recently created a set of inclusivity guidelines to inform our decisions and improve representation of diversity in our products and marketing. Our team applies these guidelines, which include information on inclusive terms regarding age, ability, religion, race, and gender along with direction for how to use language in a way that respects all our customers’ unique journeys, as we build all our customer experiences. These guidelines, paired with new company-wide Inclusion & Diversity employee training opportunities ranging from unconscious bias to leading with empathy, are helping build a more unified, inclusive workforce.
- New and Updated AncestryDNA Insights: In July, we released updated AncestryDNA® communities to help members who have ties to Asia, Polynesia, South Africa, and Australia. Now, members with connections to these regions can better trace their story back to the diverse cultures of their ancestors though our updated communities, including 20 Southeast Asian, 9 East Asian, 14 South Asian, 31 Oceanian, 3 African and 1 Central Asian & Russian community. And just last month, we released our most precise DNA update yet. With this update we added more samples to our reference panel, which expands the number and diversity of populations to which we compare our customer’s DNA, and updated our algorithm to better compare a DNA sample to our reference panel. This update enabled us to break larger, existing regions—like England, Wales & Northwestern Europe; Ireland & Scotland; Italy; China; Japan; the Philippines; Cameroon, Congo & Southern Bantu Peoples; and Eastern Europe & Russia—into smaller, more precise ones. In addition, we added a new region in Europe -- Cyprus.
- New and Updated Content Collections: Ancestry’s vast collection of 27+ billion records comes from over 80 countries world-wide and is always growing in size and diversity. So far this year, Ancestry has released over 570 million records from 15 countries around the world.
Partnerships for an Inclusive Workplace
- In July, Ancestry took another important step towards a more diverse workforce by signing on as a founding partner of the ParityPledge in Support of People of Color. We joined with Parity.org to help drive equal representation across corporate leadership by committing to interview at least one qualified person of color for every open leadership role. While the pledge is specific to positions of VP and above, we’ve decided to take that a step further by including director and above roles in this new process.
- And this month, Ancestry also joined Catalyst, a global nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering inclusive work environments, and 55 other organizations in a global alliance to adopt a set of key performance indicators (KPI) to measure and improve diversity in the workplace. In joining Catalyst’s Gender & Diversity KPI Alliance, we are reinforcing our commitment to fostering an inclusive environment by holding ourselves accountable based on a set of global KPIs. We will track and report our progress annually, along with ongoing updates on our broader Inclusion and Diversity initiatives.
At Ancestry, we believe in the importance of diversity, unity and acceptance, as well as the fundamental truth that we are all more alike than not. Our purpose as a company and the intent of our products is to help realize our shared humanity, because we believe that discovering the struggles and triumphs of our past builds a more authentic, stronger sense of self and openness to others.