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Reading Together


Our aim is to bring into the organisation and cater for a diverse group of people. When we’re trying to improve “diversity”, we’re therefore trying to increase the numbers of people from under-represented populations into our organisation.  


We also want to ensure that our policies and practices cater to everyone’s needs, who are in that diverse group.  Our aim is to be "inclusive" by ensuring that everyone is included and fully represented. 


One way to measure how successful we have been at improving diversity and inclusion, is by measuring everyone’s sense of “belonging”. If everyone feels that they naturally belong, then we may have done a good job. However, just because everyone feels that they belong, does not automatically mean we have achieved diversity.  We need to continue monitoring whether all new group members also feel they belong, without any further adjustments needing to be made.

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People often mistake "equality" as being fair because everyone is treated equally. Even if you treat everyone the same, inequality can still exist, because where people start from is different. For example, imagine running a race and some people can see the finish line 100 metres away and other people have to run a mile to reach the finish line - it would not be fair. However, often many people do start their race much further back than others. If we treated everyone equally, we could move the finish line 50 metres closer for everyone. But the outcome is exactly the same - the finish line is 50 metres closer for everyone. We still have the issue of people starting the race much further back than others.  


When we talk about “equity”, we talk about levelling the playing field. As some people haven’t been given the same opportunities in life, we need to consider what individual support each person needs, so that they have a fair chance in the race. For example, a woman may be unable to apply for promotion because she hasn’t been given an opportunity to line manage anyone yet. Providing her with that opportunity may help her to get an interview because she now has some experience. She will then be in the race for promotion. So we need to think about what will help each person have a fair chance in the race. A mentor or coach can help provide some advice and support.

Positive discrimination versus 

Positive action

“Positive discrimination” is illegal in the UK. An example of this would be employing or promoting someone because they are from an under-represented group, instead of employing or promoting the best candidate for the job.

With “positive action”, we are taking steps to reduce any disadvantages people have faced. For example, we may look at providing training courses, shadowing, secondments, coaching or any other developmental opportunities that help remove the barriers. The person still needs to demonstrate that they are the best candidate for the job when assessed. 

If there are other definitions you would find useful,
please send us a message, so we can add these. 

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