In the context of the year 2020, which will be a turning point in contemporary history, the boom of “diversity and inclusion” as a lever for change has been prominent in many fields, especially in the political, institutional and business worlds.
Diversity and inclusion aren’t new concepts, but they are “trendy”. Why now? Actually, the answer is easy. What is difficult to understand is why not before. Addressing that question would require something longer than an article, so let’s begin with the basics: What is diversity? What is inclusion? What is the difference between the two concepts?
“Diversity is a fact, inclusion is an option”
This popular quote by expert Stephen Frost brings to light which concept is a reality and which is the result of what we do about that reality.
Indeed, diversity is a fact. Conceptually, when we talk about diversity we mean any differentiating element that can be present in a group of people or a community, in terms of age, ethnicity, gender, sexual preference, disability, religion, etc. Who we are, who we feel we are, the way we are…That is indeed a fact. A reality that becomes part of our identity and that, often, drives us away from other people, depending on who they are.
When we talk about inclusion, we mean the different actions, strategies, practices and attitudes that people, groups and organizations develop in order to make all individuals feel respected, valued, with equal rights and equal opportunities, regardless of who they are.
Inclusion is the bridge that seeks to bring us together, that seeks to teach us that our differences are an asset and can contribute to more equitable and sustainable societies.
Things are not as easy as writing two paragraphs. Encouraging inclusive environments begins by understanding the way diversity works within each individual’s own intersectionality and within the interaction between a person and other elements and their environment.
Does it seem complex? It is, but that’s what I’m here for. In the upcoming posts, we’ll go deeper into these issues. For the time being, just bear in mind that now -more than ever- it is important to be up to date with everything related to these concepts.
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