Empowerment
February 8, 2022
Diversity and inclusion: Important principles for a progressive society

Today, the size of the human population has drastically increased from what it was over a century or a millennia ago. According to Worldometers, it is estimated that the current human population on planet Earth is around 7.9 billion.

The rise in the human population also means a rise in the number of people who may be different from each other. We now have less homogeneity and more heterogeneity in society. Everyone is not the same. There are genuine differences existing amongst different groups of people and at an individual level in the world. We have differences based on skin colour, race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, nationality, ethnicity, religion, class, caste, occupation, language, education, political opinion, health status, marital status, parental status, age, disability, and other characteristics.

No two persons are the same and that is the beauty of humanity. No two persons are the same and this results in the diversity that we see today in the world at a group and individual level.

In a nutshell, diversity includes all the ways that people are different from each other. Diversity includes differences based on skin colour, race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, nationality, ethnicity, religion, class, caste, occupation, language, education, political opinion, health status, marital status, parental status, age, and/or disability, and other characteristics. It also includes a range of diverse ideas, perspectives, and values that exist amongst different groups of people or individuals.

The diversity that exists amongst humanity is not something to fight, hate or frown down upon. It is something to celebrate, it is something to embrace. As human beings, if we want to truly progress and coexist in peace and harmony with different groups in society, we must recognise and accept the diversity that exists in the human race at a group and individual level. We are different, and so are others. When we accept and recognise the diversity that exists within the human race, we can then shape our societies, communities, and organisations to be more inclusive.

How does diversity work practically? Diversity can be achieved in an organisation by ensuring that different groups of people are represented in that organisation. For example, if an organisation only has white male employees, it can be diversified to include females and persons who are from different racial backgrounds. This helps to create greater representation for different groups of people within the organisation.

On the other hand, inclusion is where we create a welcoming environment that supports and embraces differences and offers respect to everyone despite their differences. It endeavours to remove all barriers, discrimination, and intolerance that may arise amongst diverse groups of people.

How does inclusion work practically? Well for one, just having a diverse organisation does not necessarily mean that it is inclusive. Using our earlier example, now that an all-white male environment includes females and persons from different racial backgrounds, what is being done to make that environment more inclusive? These individuals should not just be added to an organisation for the purposes of tokenism, they should be valued, respected, integrated, and empowered. They should be actively participating in and contributing to the organisation in a manner commensurate with their experiences, talents, and skills.

Moreover, their perspectives, opinions, ideas, and values should be respected.

When we make diversity and inclusion essential principles at the center of the development of our societies people will feel like they belong and if people feel like they belong, they are more likely to self-actualize to their fullest potential and be able to productively contribute to the development of an organization or society.

When we value diversity and inclusion, we are helping to create a more equal and progressive society that respects the inherent dignity and rights of all human beings.

Today, I encourage us to respect different groups and individuals in society so that we can create more diverse and inclusive environments where everyone feels valued, respected, and appreciated.

Author: Jeshua Bardoo is a Vincentian Barrister-at-law and Solicitor. He is also the President of Equal Rights, Access and Opportunities SVG Inc. He can be contacted via e-mail at jeshuabardoo