Diversity and Inclusion – The Need of the Hour!

 

Diversity and Inclusion – The Need of the Hour

 

Inclusion and Diversity. The words are often interchangeable though there are distinct differences. They are albeit, words that are familiar to most of us in today’s scenario. Recognizing and knowing about these terms is however one thing, practicing them another thing. And to effectively practice the same, the greatest requirements, literally “the need of the hour” are two things that should in any case be an intrinsic part of human nature. Sensitivity and empathy. In other words, to not only accept, but to embrace those who in big or small ways, might be different from us.

And what are those differences? Differences based on colour, background, financial capability, family values, physical appearance, mental and emotional capabilities, education, profession, and the list can go on and on and on. A single woman raising her children on her own. A same sex couple living next door. A child from an immigrant family. The help from a different religious faith working in your home. The transgender co-worker in your office.

The thing to remember is that all these people have the democratic right to make their choices, take their decisions without having to worry about any kind of judgment from me and you. The key word here is therefore “judgment”. Looking at others who may want to do things differently, and forming an uninformed, illogical and baseless opinion about them. An opinion which lacks in sensitivity, kindness, logic, empathy and all those things which really should be an inherent part of human behaviour.

A 2022 study by India Times said that despite being legally recognized, about 92% of transgenders are highly deprived of the right to participate in any form of economic activities in India.

Additionally, an article by The Wire brought to light how kids with special needs are being left out of mainstream education and social activities in our country. Often the problem lies in acceptance and a lack of inclusive policies.

Never miss real stories from India's women.

Register Now

Another study by UN Women conducted in 2019 found that there are 4.5 crore single mothers in India. These women are embracing their individuality, standing up to their decision with aplomb, bringing up their children with strength and resilience. Amazingly however, many people still look at single parents with judgement, pity or even dislike and often treat them as soft targets. Delhi based social activist, entrepreneur and TEDx speaker Leher Sethi says, “Unfortunately, despite a lot of reform and awareness, our society continues to hold prejudices against single mothers, whether divorced or otherwise. Even in the metros, acceptance of single mothers is limited, and the stigma continues to affect the life of both mother and children.”

What does all this say about us as a society? We simply have to ask ourselves this question. How heartlessly judgemental are we? Is it really that hard, that difficult to be empathetic and understanding towards other human beings?

And frankly, how can we ever hope to sensitise our children to these basic human values if we refuse to set the right examples. A UNESCO policy paper published in 2021 titled “Right from the start – build inclusive societies” spoke about a call for inclusive early childhood education embedded in the pledge of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. More and more schools are doing their bit by bringing in inclusivity and diversity as a part of their curriculum these days and conducting regular seminars and workshops as a part of school life as well. And yes, while the correct kind of policy making is of utmost importance, practicing these core values at home is truly the most significant. After all, we can only lead by setting the right example. The onus to teach our children to be kind, sensitive, grounded, accepting human beings who the world can lean on tomorrow, lies on us. I spoke to Priya Nayak Gole, a Mumbai based Pediatric Speech Language Pathologist and she summed up the underlying, core issue very well. “Diversity is a way of life which needs social acceptance and empathy,’ said Priya. “Sensitivity is of prime importance. Only then can we hope to have inclusivity in the true sense of the word.”

 

Comments

About the Author

Rrashima Swaarup Verma

Rrashima is a senior corporate analyst with over 20 years of experience in the corporate sector. She is also a prolific writer, novelist and poet and her articles, stories and poems are regularly published in read more...

34 Posts | 38,299 Views

Stay updated with our Weekly Newsletter or Daily Summary - or both!

All Categories