‘Diversity and inclusion’ is an important subtopic of ‘gender across cultures.’ This topic draws a line between diversity, inclusion, and equality. These terms are often used interchangeably for each other; however, the reality is slightly different. Moreover, the topic also highlights the importance of inclusion and diversity.
Equality vs. Diversity vs. Inclusion
Equality refers to providing equal opportunities to everyone and protecting people from discrimination. The major focus of equality is to act against discrimination and eradicate the notions of superiority and inferiority in society. However, equality does not ensure equality of outcomes.
Diversity refers to recognizing, respecting, and valuing differences in people. Diversity propagates the idea of acceptance of differences. Demeaning someone on the basis of gender, race, or religion is something against the idea of diversity. Diversity is further divided into two categories; looking at diversity through one’s identity and looking at diversity through a cognitive lens. The former defines as ‘who we are’ and ‘where are we from.’ On the other hand, cognitive diversity refers to having diverse perspectives and thinking.
Inclusion refers to an individual’s experience within his/her work in society and the extent to which he/she feels included and valued. This aspect is defined as to what actions are taken to make someone feel valued and included. Inclusion is further classified as feeling empowered, engaged, and enabled. That is, you feel that your voices are being heard and your ideas are being shared.
Diverse workplaces are referred to as workplaces composed of employees with different characteristics. These include, but are not limited to, religious beliefs, political beliefs, gender, ethnicity, race, socio-economic background, and sexual orientation. Inclusion is defined as appreciating and respecting the differences that make up a workplace.
History of Diversity- Diversity and Inclusion
In the early 1980s, diversity was defined as the changes in demographic characteristics of the labor force and workplace. This was specifically in regard to race, ethnicity, and gender. It was predicted that the future workforce will consist of people from varied demographic characteristics and this was communicated through the word ‘diversity.’
However, today, diversity now includes characteristics such as education, socio-economic background, language, geographic background, and value system.
Representational diversity refers to the process of bringing people into the workforce different from the current hiring. This was supported in early diversity work. However, the loophole was evident in quite a short time. Practitioners and researchers realized that hiring ethnic minorities and women seldom contributed to the progress and often left their jobs in a very short period of time. This brought about the whim that merely hiring people from underrepresented groups is not enough to maintain diversity or make it a success.
Laws for Diversity
Given the process of diversity, many laws were formulated and established to promise a secure and diverse work environment. The first one is named ‘Equal Employment opportunity.’ This came into being in the 1960s in the civil rights era. This act stated that everyone has an equal chance of being hired or employed without the fear of discrimination on any basis. Another act was named the ‘affirmative act.’ This act meant that an employer can conduct various kinds of outreach to find and attract qualified job applicants from underrepresented groups.
What is the difference between both acts? The EEO act is a passive one, that is, an employer cannot discriminate unfairly. While the AA act is an active one, that is, the employer will act proactively in order to attract qualified employees regardless of personal characteristics.
Managing diversity is concerned about how organizations design and implement processes in order to make the differences an asset and sources of strength to the business. Diversity management specifically refers to planned and systematic programs and procedures designed to improve interactions among diverse people and to ensure effectiveness and efficiency in an organization.
Valuing diversity is part of the process of inclusion. Valuing diversity refers to activities and procedures intended to highlight one’s uniqueness in a positive way. An example of this is giving attention to people’s religious holidays and respecting them such as Christmas or eid.
Why is Diversity Important?
Given the massive changes in work, it is very important to include people from diverse backgrounds. Globalization has taken on a rise, world markets are closely connected to one another. Outsourcing and offshoring are common. Industries have rapidly shifted from production to the services sector. To provide services one must know their customers better to be able to communicate effectively. All these reasons call for greater inclusion of people from different countries and cultures in order to reach out to the global markets.
Also Read: Gender across Cultures https://scientips.com/184/gender-across-cultures/