Equality and Diversity are overlapping principles, but they are not the same.
There is a variety of definitions for equality, with slightly different interpretations. The Equality and Human Rights Commission definition of equality is as follows: “Equality is about ensuring that every individual has an equal opportunity to make the most of their lives and talents, and believing that no one should have poorer life chances because of where, what or whom they were born, what they believe, or whether they have a disability. Equality recognises that historically, certain groups of people with particular characteristics e.g. race, disability, sex and sexuality, have experienced discrimination.”1
Equality in the workplace
Equality in the workplace is fundamentally about fairness, ensuring that all employees have equality of opportunity to maximise their talents and do not experience discrimination in any way. This does not mean that all people should be treated in the same way; rather it ensures that individual differences and needs do not place them in a disadvantageous position in any work-related situation.
Diversity in the workplace
Diversity in the workplace is concerned with recognising that all people are unique and that difference between employees is something to be celebrated. The ability of employees to express individual aspects of their personalities at work is likely to bring more resources to the workplace, produce greater job satisfaction for individuals, and promote a more productive and inclusive workplace environment. In many cases, this will result in members of the general public receiving improved services from the organisation.
No Diversity without Equality
No Diversity without Equality. An effective equalities structure within the organisation is a pre-requisite to having an effective diversity framework. It is important therefore that Christian Workplace Group members understand how their group will function within both frameworks. This will need some discussion as a group to ensure all members understand the importance of acting appropriately within the organisational framework.
1Equality and Human Rights Commission: Private and Public Sector Guidance – Understanding Equality. 2015