What is Diversity?

Diversity and Equality are not terms which can be interchanged. Diversity describes the range of visible and non-visible differences that exist between people whilst equality means having the same value - indicating a state of balance. When we talk about managing diversity therefore, we are referring to the "harnessing of these differences to create a productive environment in which everybody feels valued, where talents are fully utilised and in which organisational goals are met" (Kandola and Fullerton 1998).

Equal opportunities on the other hand, may be defined as ensuring that everyone is entitled to freedom from discrimination. There are two main types of equality encompassed in equal opportunities:-

1.   Equality of treatment is concerned with treating everyone the same. Thus, in an organisational context it recognises that institutional discrimination may exist in the form of unfair procedures and practices that favour those with some personal attributes, over others without them. The task of equal opportunities is therefore concerned with the elimination of these barriers.

2    Equality of outcome focuses on policies that either have an equal impact on different groups or intent the same outcomes for different groups.

The University of St Mark & St John recognises the real benefits of having a diverse community of staff and students who value one another and the different contributions they can make to help us all achieve our potential.  For more information see our Current Equality Work section.

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