While often we speak of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) as three essential and related parts of larger commitment, the significance of each value on its own should not be overlooked. This month is Global Diversity Awareness Month, and what better time to explore the value of diversity and its impact on our lives!
Diversity, one of GVP’s Guiding Principles, is “the quality of being different or unique at the individual or group level.” While diversity is often spoken of in terms of race or ethnicity, it includes a spectrum as diverse as one can imagine, that which reflects each of us as individuals. Diversity includes all the characteristics that make one individual or group distinct from another, including age, ethnicity, gender, language, nationality, parental status, ability, race, religion, sexual orientation, skin color, socio-economic status, work and behavior styles, cultural background, and more.
We are living in a time in which awareness of global diversity is more important than ever. With the accelerated movement of people and ideas across borders, our communities increasingly include people from many different backgrounds. According to the United Nations International Migration Report of 2019, nearly 272 million people live in a country other than their country of birth – an increase of 77% since 1990. This opportunity to embrace diversity is a chance to not only make our communities better, but also our workplaces: some of the core benefits diversity has been identified to increase are enhanced creativity, better and more productive communications, faster problem solving, improved productivity, higher quality of decision making, increased recruitment and retention, and strengthened programs and services to constituents.
Work benefits aside, diversity deserves to be valued and cherished in and of itself for the opportunity it gives us to listen and learn from others, and to become steadfast allies to one another. We hope this Global Diversity Awareness Month can serve a reminder to us all that there is immense power in appreciating, respecting, and celebrating each of us in all of our dimensions.