Diversity is about difference, and the value of diversity is the richness and variety that different people bring to society. Diversity literally means difference. Diversity recognises that though people have things in common with each other, they are also different and unique in many ways. Diversity is about recognising and valuing those differences.
Diversity therefore consists of visible and non-visible factors, which include personal characteristics such as background, culture, personality and work-style in addition to the characteristics that are protected under discrimination legislation in terms of race, disability, gender, religion and belief, sexual orientation and age. By recognising and understanding our individual differences and embracing them, and moving beyond simple tolerance, we can create a productive environment in which everybody feels valued.
Equality means treating people in a way that is appropriate for their needs. Equality is about treating people fairly, regardless of their differences, by ensuring that they have access to the same life opportunities as everyone else, ie that they have equal opportunities.
Inclusion is about accepting everyone regardless of difference. It is also about getting rid of intolerance of differences and providing help and support where appropriate. Educational inclusion is about equal opportunities for all pupils, whatever their age, gender, ethnicity, attainment and background. It pays particular attention to the provision made for, and the achievement of, different groups of pupils within a school.
Discrimination is the result of unequal or excluding behaviour. It describes the disadvantage that people experience because of being unfairly treated or being excluded from society. People can be refused access to society, services, employment or education because of discrimination.
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