From Mastery to Accountability: Cultural Humility as an Alternative to Cultural Competence

Sophie Bierly

Cultural competency has been a long held ideal for social work educators and practitioners. However, definitions and approaches to cultural competency vary widely depending on worldview, discipline, and practice context. Within social work and beyond, cultural competency has been challenged for its failure to account for the structural forces that shape individuals’ experiences and opportunities. In contrast, the concept ofcultural humility takes into account the fluidity of culture and challenges both individuals and institutions to address inequalities. This article takes a critical look at cultural competence as a concept, examining its explicit and implicit assumptions, and the impact these assumptions have on practitioners. It suggests that cultural humility may offer social work an alternative framework as it acknowledges power differentials between provider and client and challenges institutional-level barriers. The authors advocate a move from a focus on mastery in understanding ‘others’ to a framework that requires personal accountability in challenging institutional barriers that impact marginalized communities. Cultural humility, while a promising concept, has not been fully explored in social work. Therefore, the authors present a conceptual model of cultural competency along with strategic questions for providers and organizations to integrate into social work practice and education.

Diversity and Inclusion are Core Leadership Competencies: A Primer for Busy Leaders

Sophie Bierly

Why does research clearly show that in the physician workforce, female doctors are not equitably valued, respected or compensated when compared to male peers? It is well documented that women physicians receive less pay for similar work.1 We lag in promotions and make up a small minority of high level leaders.2 We often lack support and sponsorship. My own research with colleagues has demonstrated that although medical specialty societies have attracted physician members from all walks of life (good diversity), many of them have zero women (no inclusion) among recipients of some recognition awards.3 Is it any wonder that women physicians may become demoralized and experience more symptoms of burnout than male colleagues?

Report Card on the Diversity of California’s Legal Profession

Hei-ock Kim

Having a diverse legal profession positively impacts the administration
of justice, ensures fairness, and promotes the rule of law. The mandate
to promote a diverse and inclusive legal profession is central to the State
Bar’s mission of public protection. The State Bar advances this aspect of its
mission in part by collecting, analyzing, and presenting data on California’s
licensed attorneys through an annual attorney census. This first annual
report card uses census data to provide a clear picture of the state of the
profession from a diversity and inclusion standpoint.
As the report card reflects, the profession has become increasingly
diverse in recent decades, with newly licensed attorneys better reflecting
California’s rich and varied demographics. However, much work remains.
The analyses below highlight areas of the legal profession where the
greatest opportunities for improvement exist. A Call to Action follows to
encourage employers and attorneys to influence and advance an inclusive
workplace that supports a more diverse workforce.