• Param Barodia

Championing Diversity Wherever You Go

If you’re a person from a diverse background, it’s not really something you can turn on and off. The colour of your skin, your accent, a visible disability, not things you can hide in the world. For visibly diverse people, championing diversity is part of life. Wherever they go, they are championing the cause through their very presence. If you’re not one of those people, then you might well have asked yourself the question: how often should I be championing diversity? The answer is a simple one, always.

Championing diversity can mean a lot of things in a lot of places. Unsurprisingly, there are some differences between championing diversity in the workplace and your personal life. To fly the flag in your personal life doesn’t need to involve wearing flags or shouting on the street either. Championing diversity involves being inclusive in all parts of your life. It’s about recognising and celebrating the differences that make us all special. These don’t have to be obvious differences either, as diversity can stem from all kinds of places.

Part of championing diversity is also challenging behaviour that goes against diverse and inclusive values. There’s no point in letting such behaviour hide behind the excuses of “jokes” or “laddish behaviour”. That just allows the perpetrators to justify their behaviour and continue creating spaces that don’t allow diversity to be fully expressed. The response has to be calm and controlled throughout, as creating conflict is also not useful for fostering an inclusive environment. Education is the best policy, and it can be best to create a dialogue to explain how such behaviour can affect people and spaces.

It really is difficult to explain just how important it is to create and protect spaces where diversity is celebrated. Just imagine living and working in spaces where your differences are not welcome. Where you have to hide parts of yourself just to exist in that space. This kind of toxicity can be a massive deal in workplaces and public arena's. What diverse individuals in their right mind would choose to remain in an atmosphere like that? That’s why it’s in everyone’s best interests to create and maintain these spaces so teams can function to their maximum potential.

To protect these spaces and create more of them is a responsibility for all of us. Everyone deserves to feel accepted in the places that they live and work, so everyone should be contributing to keeping these spaces safe. It’s key for people in leadership positions to also understand and be invested. Their education on the benefits of championing diversity allows decision-makers to buy into the cause and make changes across organisations. It’s important for them to understand that their organisation risks falling behind the curve and losing its edge without different perspectives informing their decisions.

The championing of diversity falls to us all. It will allow us to expand our horizons and improve how we live and work. It allows us to make better and more well-informed decisions. It allows everyone to feel safe and secure in the spaces they move through. For us all to enjoy the benefits of diverse spaces, we all have to be working to protect them, and maybe even create new ones.

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