What is Inclusivity? Does it Matter?
As it’s pride month this month we wanted to create a series of blogs dedicated to becoming more inclusive. Whether that be in your personal or professional life, inclusion is important. So what is inclusivity? Why does it matter?
You may have seen the word inclusion mixed in with equality and diversity, so it can be confusing to differentiate between all of them. We’re going to explain each difference in a small description.
This is about the fair and equal treatment of everyone, no matter what their background. This is about ensuring everyone has equal opportunities to make the most of their lives and talents, both personally and professionally. Regardless of race, gender or disability. Often associated with the Equality Act 2010.
This is the mix of people that is within your company or community, it may be diverse in culture. The dictionary cites this as ‘the practice or quality of including or involving people from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds and of different genders, sexual orientations etc.’
Is the mix of people who can come to work, and feel comfortable and confident to be themselves. Inclusion could be about a person’s gender or sexual orientation and whether they feel safe showing it. It ensures that everyone feels valued and important and there is no bias.
So now you know the differences a bit better, let’s go into more detail.
This may sound obvious, but inclusion is a universal human right. The aim is to embrace people no matter what their race, gender, disability or sexual orientation may be. Inclusion is about making equal access and opportunities for people, as well as, getting rid of discrimination and intolerance. To try and remove any barriers that may be in the way for some people. Inclusion affects many aspects of life, it’s not just one thing. It is a continuous subject. Inclusion means adjusting the environment you’re in to make everyone feel welcome.
Being inclusive in the workplace is extremely important, it can be a win-win for employers. If someone feels included and has a sense of belonging in the workplace, they have a sense of community within the business and they are generally more motivated. As inclusion creates trust, belonging, bonding and better engagement and productivity.
There are a few other inclusive designs we can talk about. There is inclusive design and educational inclusion, as well as inclusion in the workplace.
This is about making places that everyone can use. In addition to mobility, the design of spaces can affect our sight, hearing, and way of communicating. It aims to remove those barriers that start to create bias and separation. It enables people to participate equally, confidently as well as independently in their everyday activities. This may be installing a ramp for wheelchair users, or just making doors accessible for people with disabilities, the things we take for granted in our lives.
Educational inclusion is the focus of the schools/institutions’ ability to adapt to the needs of children. Modifying anything that needs to be altered in order for children to advance and learn equally. An inclusive setting works towards providing effective planning and different activities to meet the individual needs of children. It ensures that each child can access the curriculum, information as well as the physical environment without feeling left out or like a burden. So everyone is treated equally.
Why does it matter?
Being inclusive is an important part of a person’s dignity, security and opportunity to lead a better life overall. It’s important to make people feel supported and connected in a way that inclusion allows. Being inclusive can promote acceptance. If there is an open line of communication, people are more likely to be open. It allows a safe space for discussion and education on the topics.
Opening a discussion of topics you may not know about can start to generate empathy, as you’re getting to understand more about the issues and problems people face, for example, if you don’t know much about the LGBT+ community but are starting to open the discussions then you start to become more accepting and open to new ideas, you get to see the struggles they face and why.
Inclusion drives change. With discussions and talking comes understanding more, which can lead to an inclusive mindset. Having an inclusive mindset could lead to new ideas and positive change in the right direction. It also helps to see the person first, rather than their ‘minority’, you wouldn’t see the person as their gender, sexual orientation or disability. You would just see them as a human.
Why does it matter to me?
As an assessor, teacher or trainer, being inclusive is something you should be. Regardless of your own specific opinions. You should be treating each and every learner equally so they all get the same kind of education and opportunities. Inclusion can be a hard thing to grasp but it’s a continuous journey. Mistakes will be made, but as long as you learn from them and make the relevant changes then it all matters in the long run.