For the past decade many corporations have been committed to DIVERSITY, ensuring they have diverse workforce, diverse, personnel, diversity represented at every level. I propose that it is time to move beyond DIVERSITY to EQUITY, in the same way it is time to move beyond TOLERANCE to INCLUSION.
What is the difference?
DIVERSITY: defined as variety a variety of something such as opinion, color, or style (Encarta)
EQUITY: actions, treatment of others, or a general condition characterized by justice, fairness, and impartiality
TOLERANCE: the act of putting up with somebody or something irritating or otherwise unpleasant
INCLUSION: the addition of somebody or something to, or the presence of somebody or something in, a group or mixture
When a professional group is looking to fully incorporate their staff it’s dangerous to assume that everyone is ready to make the change. People come to work daily with their own bias and pre judgments of others; I was reminded of this today when I attended a workshop run by GLSEN and sponsored by a local corporation. It was great to mix with business professionals, all of whom told us when they were in school there was no GSA or public conversation about equity and inclusion. It was refreshing to hear how far we have come. It HAS gotten better, but corporations like schools are a microcosm of society and need to keep growing and pushing themselves and each other to evolve,