The concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect. It means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences. These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies. It is the exploration of these differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment. It is about understanding each other and moving beyond simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual.
Diversity is a reality created by individuals and groups from a broad spectrum of demographic and philosophical differences. It is extremely important to support and protect diversity because by valuing individuals and groups free from prejudice, and by fostering a climate where equity and mutual respect are intrinsic.
“Diversity” means more than just acknowledging and/or tolerating difference. Diversity is a set of conscious practices that involve:
Diversity includes, therefore, knowing how to relate to those qualities and conditions that are different from our own and outside the groups to which we belong, yet are present in other individuals and groups. These include but are not limited to age, ethnicity, class, gender, physical abilities/qualities, race, sexual orientation, as well as religious status, gender expression, educational background, geographical location, income, marital status, parental status, and work experiences. Categories of difference are not always fixed but also can be fluid, and thus we must respect individual rights to self-identification, and we recognize that no one culture is intrinsically superior to another.
Equality is about ensuring that every individual has an equal opportunity to make the most of their lives and talents, and believing that no one should have poorer life chances because of where, what or whom they were born, what they believe, or whether they have a disability. Equality recognises that historically, certain groups of people with particular characteristics e.g. race, disability, sex and sexuality, have experienced discrimination.
The Equality Act 2010 brings together for the first time all the legal requirements for the private, public and voluntary sectors, making existing equality laws simpler, more effective and easier to understand.
The Equality Act 2010 prohibits all employers, service providers and providers of education, from discriminating against, harassing or victimising individuals with protected characteristics. The Act offers similar levels of protection from discrimination across all the protected characteristics and all sectors, where appropriate a process called harmonisation. Unlawful discrimination would be things like refusing to admit a child to as school as a pupil because of their race e.g. because they are from the Gypsy and Traveller Community, or discouraging a female student from undertaking a course in Engineering. Any individual who believes that they have been discriminated against, harassed or victimised as defined by the Equality Act 2010 can take a claim to a tribunal or court. Legal action would normally be started within six months of the unlawful act.
To meet the needs of disabled people, the Equality Act 2010 states that reasonable adjustments can be made for disabled people, and that it is not unlawful discrimination to treat disabled people more favourably than non-disabled people because of their disability.
Equity is the system of justice and fairness, where there is an even-handed treatment of all the people. Under this system, the individual needs and requirements are taken into account and treated accordingly.
Equity demands fairness in every situation, i.e. whether it is the distribution of benefits or burdens. Therefore people are treated fairly but differently as their circumstances are given weight. It seeks to provide all the individuals an equal opportunity, to let them attain their maximum potential. In this way, equity ensures that all the individuals are provided the resources they need to have access to the same opportunities, as the general population.
Inclusion is about positively striving to meet the needs of different people and taking deliberate action to create environments where everyone feels respected and able to achieve their full potential
It is the practice of ensuring that people feel they belong, are engaged, and connected. It is a universal human right whose aim is to embrace all people, irrespective of race, gender, disability or other attribute which can be perceived as different.
Fundamentally, Inclusion is: “.. a sense of belonging: feeling respected, valued for who you are; feeling a level of supportive energy and commitment from others so that you can do your best.”
It is about valuing all individuals, giving equal access and opportunity to all and removing discrimination and other barriers to involvement. A human rights approach should ensure positive processes and outcomes for disabled people including treating people with dignity and respect and ensure that society no longer disables its citizens. Respecting human rights in the delivery of services is not an optional extra but a set of core values and fundamental to reform. Human rights extend to economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights.
Work towards inclusion must be active, involves imagining better and understanding that we all have something to contribute. It encompasses people having control over their own support and making their own personalised decisions, participation and presence in their own communities.
Individuality is the quality that makes one person or thing different from all others. Were are all a product of our own unique collection of attributes.
From birth, each individual has the right to have an identity. The identity of an individual is the assertion of his or her existence in a society. It is also a matter of recognition of their individuality and what differentiates them from their peers.
From birth we all develop our own identity which is a fundamental human concept that allows each of us the ability and freedom to enjoy and explore all of our own rights.
Identity encompasses the family name, the surname, date of birth, gender, class, ethnicity and experiences of the individual. Through these details, an individual will hold rights and obligations specific to their status (woman, man, child, handicapped, refugee, etc.).
Unconscious Bias is where your background, personal experiences, societal stereotypes and cultural context can have an impact on your decisions and actions without you realising.
Implicit or unconscious bias happens by our brains making incredibly quick judgments and assessments of people and situations without us realising.
Our biases are influenced by our background, cultural environment and personal experiences. We may not even be aware of these views and opinions, or be aware of their full impact and implications.