We’ve all heard about the importance of diversity, whether it pertains to awards ceremonies like the Oscars or the makeup of the US Senate (both of which could use a bit of a shake-up). But what does it mean, exactly? And how can we promote it in our own lives? Here’s everything you need to know about diversity and how to avoid the ever-widening echo chamber that threatens to plague us all.
The Meaning of Diversity
When answering the question “what does diversity mean”, you first have to look at the definition of the word. Diversity is the state of having variety and a range of different things. This can just as easily refer to your taste in music as it can the board of a Fortune 500 company. However, diversity is usually championed as a concept that allows for acceptance and respect of the uniqueness of all individuals.
You can look at factors like race, gender, sexual orientation, or more subtle factors such as beliefs and ideologies. Diversity encompasses the viewpoints and experiences of all types of people. When a company or a community embraces diversity, they’re working to understand, appreciate, and respect the differences we all have. This allows them to consider varying viewpoints.
What Does Diversity Mean In The Workplace?
Countless businesses in industries from entertainment to technology are employing initiatives in order to better represent a wider scope of people. It isn’t ideal to hire employees who all have the same background, opinions, and experiences. Instead, many companies are actively seeking to bring in opposing viewpoints.
It can be difficult to create a diverse workplace. This is especially true when it is criticized as hiring unqualified minority candidates over better-qualified non-minorities. The reality is that diversity in the workplace is about bringing in qualified individuals with differences. This includes experiences, talents, and personalities in order to challenge the status quo.
Should it impact the hiring process? That’s easy. Workplace diversity initiatives develop comprehensive guides to help companies recruit diverse candidates by actively seeking applicants with different races, sexual orientations, skill sets, and more while taking into account their qualifications. It doesn’t mean hiring someone unqualified just because they’re a minority. It means eliminating the burden for underrepresented candidates to get their foot in the door in the first place.
The Benefits of Differences
Diversity is all well and good for managers hiring employees, but what does it mean to you? How can you champion diversity in your own life? Consider your daily interactions, the way you communicate with people, and the values you entail.
Embracing diversity in your own life is as simple as seeking out people who are different from you. Take time to learn more about their experiences. Stay informed and educated. If there’s a belief system you don’t understand or a movement that you’re interested in but know little about, educate yourself. Research, watch movies, and talk to people who belong to that demographic so that you can practice mutual respect for beliefs and experiences that differ from yours. The more that people embrace diversity, the more equality we’ll see in the world.