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A Lesson on Religion & Race for Corporate America

9 Jun, 2020

Being Religiously Inclusive Promotes Racial and Broader Inclusion

As part of the initial launch of the Corporate Religious Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (REDI) Index, the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation (RFBF) analyzed the level of attention Fortune 100 companies place not only on religion, but also the following categories: race/ethnicity, women/gender, sexual orientation, veterans/military, dis/ability, age, and family (see “Topline for Diversity Other Than Religion“). RFBF calculated scores for each category by summing the mentions of each topic on the companies’ diversity and inclusion pages along with the weighted score for the number and diversity of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) related to each category.

We then calculate the average score for each category among the 48 companies that do not acknowledge religion on their diversity and inclusion or ERGs landing pages as well as for the 53 companies that have some acknowledgement of religion (including images or videos) on their diversity and inclusion or ERGs landing pages. This allows us to then calculate a “religion dividend” (an indication of the positive association of acknowledging religion with the company’s commitment to the other categories of diversity) by subtracting the average category score for the 48 companies not acknowledging religion from the average score for the 53 companies that have some acknowledgement of religion, as shown in the table below. Note that the range of diversity category scores reflect the amount of attention companies pay to each. Therefore, the better gauge of the religion dividend is the percentage increase in the category score.

The level of focus companies place on each of the seven diversity categories is higher among companies that acknowledge religion than among companies that do not. We refer to this positive association between companies that place focus on religious inclusion and their commitment to the other categories of diversity as a “religion dividend.” For example, companies focusing on religion score 69% higher on age inclusion, 63% higher on veterans/military inclusion, 60% higher on dis/ability inclusion, and 47% higher on race/ethnicity inclusion. Sizable “religion dividends” include companies acknowledging religion scoring 35% higher for women/gender inclusion and 31% higher on family inclusion. While the smallest religion dividend is for sexual orientation (scoring 4% higher), it is still notable that the relationship is positive. This also coincides with global RFBF research showing that religious freedom fosters a positive environment for LGBT people, and that LGBT rights are increasing in countries with higher levels of religious freedom.


Also see Racial Justice Requires Religious Freedom.