What Happens When We Value Equality and Diversity?
Equality and Diversity: Building Blocks For Inclusivity
Equality and diversity—they’re the same thing, right? Well, not quite (but good for you for asking the question!). The words equality and diversity get used quite a bit when advocating for greater inclusivity in colleges, businesses, and society. However, each concept plays its own unique role in building a better world. Understanding the difference between equality and diversity is vital to recognizing the challenges faced by people who are different from us. It also helps us appreciate those differences as a good thing.
What Is Equality?
Equality gives people equal opportunity to pursue their goals at work, at home, and in society. Many critics of measures that promote equality complain that society is trying to hinder the rights of those who excel in order to force us all to look, think, and act the same way. Although this may be the plot of the compelling short story “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut, this idea is a false narrative that betrays the true meaning of what equality is actually about.
Life obviously presents everyone with unique challenges and different paths. Society sometimes creates the obstacles faced by certain groups. The reality is that certain types of people do not have the same opportunities to reach their full potential. This stems from things like systemic racism, unconscious bias, or financial hurdles. Equality seeks to balance the scales so that everyone has an opportunity to work hard and pursue their goals.
What Is Diversity?
Equality and diversity are closely linked, but they are two distinct concepts. Whereas equality seeks to give everyone equal opportunity, diversity is about acknowledging our differences and placing value on them.
Diversity initiatives usually seek to build dynamic groups comprised of people who each represent a unique perspective and background. Diversity enhances the power of the group.
Whether it’s a book club or it’s the President’s Cabinet, all groups benefit from diverse members and points of view. Without diversity, we risk creating echo chambers hindered by their inability to challenge experiences and points of view.
How Equality And Diversity Interact
Equality and diversity go hand in hand. When colleges or businesses actively try to promote measures enhancing the equality and diversity of its members, they usually see higher levels of thought and innovation.
By ensuring that anyone applying to a college gets an equal opportunity to do so regardless of their race, gender, or sexual orientation, you can foster a more diverse campus.
This diversity then goes full circle by enlightening us to societal inequalities and challenging us to correct them.
Promoting Equality And Diversity In Everyday Life
You may think to yourself, “I’m not in a position of power. What am I supposed to do to fight inequality and promote diversity?” The reality is that when we advocate for equality and diversity in our daily lives, these small steps build to a greater change. Whether you’re voting for a candidate who promotes equality and diversity, or you’re supporting businesses who are committed to the cause, you’re playing an integral part in improving the world.