What is Diversity?

Defining diversity and its benefits, this article explores its significance in fostering an inclusive environment. It addresses obstacles and strategies for promoting equity on individual, organizational, and systemic levels.

By Brad Nakase, Attorney

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Introduction

This article defines terms related to diversity and outlines its benefits to open up the subject of diversity during this mini-symposium. In addition to examining the benefits of diversity that have been demonstrated, we also sought to identify current obstacles and develop strategies to overcome them on an individual, organizational, and systemic basis. Let us start with understanding the basics, that is, knowing “What is diversity?”

Definition: What is diversity?

The English Dictionary (Oxford) defines “diversity” as “the act or characteristic of that includes or involves people of different sexes, sexual orientations, and/or ethnic and social origins.” This is the theoretical explanation of “What is diversity?” Humans have stopped being employed or staying in isolated environments because technologies have made the globe more reachable because of immigration and travel, especially when there isn’t a pandemic. It’s usual to coexist and collaborate with diverse individuals. By accepting these variations, we uplift our occupation and commemorate all aspects of the humanity we inhabit.

Young people are living in more diversified communities these days. The majority of children under the age of 15 belong to non-White sections, according to 2018 US census data. Due to a long tradition of discrimination and enduring implicit bias, it is imperative that characteristics such as ethnicity, ability, gender identity, sexual identity, age, creed, personality, socioeconomic background, military experience, education level, learning style, country of origin, geographic background, marital status, language, caretaker status, appearance, and occupation receive more attention.

Historical systems in the US have sustained discrimination and prejudice against individuals who are not able-bodied White, heterosexual, well-to-do, cisgender Christian men. Many of these systems still exist today. Members of minority groups frequently experience severe disadvantages throughout their lives, including limited access to educational opportunities. This is something we must acknowledge.

The idea of “intersectionality” conveys the idea that different social identities can influence privilege or oppression. Diversity must be taken into account not just in terms of inclusion and belonging but also in recruiting or selection procedures (e.g., for training or educational courses). These ideas are best understood by comparing belonging to having the privilege of being able to dine as though you were sitting in your home, inclusivity to sharing a space with identical food and utensils, & diversity to receiving an invitation to supper. For success, each of them is essential. When a non-majority person is invited yet not offered the same advantages or consideration—that is, excluded—this is known as “tokenism.”

In order to achieve equal outcomes, “equity” relates to giving resources that are appropriate for the environment. Fair procedures are necessary because of the imbalances in our societal structures.

Institutional racism exists in the US despite the fact that we are aware that ethnicity is a social and political construct lacking a biological foundation. The word “race” is central to discussions and representations of diversity, so it is frequently used in academic studies, surveys for new hires, and other surveys. However, the results of these studies might be unclear due to the range of interpretations and perceptions, in addition to the mistrust engendered by institutionalized racism.

As more and more unfortunate deaths come to light, institutionalized racism is receiving a lot of national spotlight. Despite the fact that George Floyd’s murder in 2020 was a turning point in political organizing, numerous additional Black & indigenous colored people have perished at the command of vigilantes or police before and after him. Similar to this, the COVID-19 pandemic’s worsening effects on people of color offer a medical illustration of the detrimental effects of systematic bias. Without correction, prejudice in society is repeated in any workplace. Ending institutionalized racism starts with promoting equity and diversity at work.

The concept of the “social variables that affect health,” or the manner in which environmental factors influence an individual’s health, is receiving more attention. Social aspects of health are discussed in a number of contexts, including research and digital health records. A number of the characteristics that make up diversity are also components of the social drivers of health, which are societal variables rather than genetics or deliberate decision-making that can lead to health disparities between groups.

Health disparities can be caused by socioeconomic factors that influence health, as demonstrated by the example of poorer results for colored individuals with COVID-19. Another argument in favor of inclusion in all spheres of life, but especially in medical delivery systems, is the influence of these socioeconomic determinants of well-being. We contribute to extending the viewpoints of administrators and presenting a staff that represents society at large by employing diverse individuals in our places of employment, including those in leadership roles.

Proven Benefits

After understanding “What is diversity?” we will go through its benefits in detail. Several studies have demonstrated that employees who work in diverse environments are more productive and provide better healthcare. Being friendly and inclusive is also just what you need to do. Explicit prejudice in various forms is now prohibited in the USA. Greater levels of productivity and creativity are associated with more varied groups, according to Hewlett et al. The ability to concentrate on work in a pleasant setting improves performance for both individuals and teams.

When everyone is able to express their thoughts, new ideas and, a wider viewpoint can also be developed. The skill reservoir that is used to choose team members grows as a result of inclusivity and accepting diversity. In the field, it is a loss to exclude any certain group. Diversity increases one’s capacity to solve problems. Diversity enhances productivity and the provision of healthcare, while diversity becomes increasingly prioritized in practice and research, the body of data showing improved medical results is likely to rise gradually.

Challenges

“Unconscious bias,” also known as “implicit bias,” is defined as a mindset or reflexive response that modifies how we see things and influences our actions, choices, and interpersonal relationships. It is crucial to remember that the effects may not align with our professed views and may have a negative or positive impact. Inadvertent bias is involuntary. It manifests itself in several ways, including affinity, beauty, handicap, racial, and gender bias. One prominent study that highlights bias was a randomized double-blind investigation where faculty members received application materials from identical students; the only variable was the applicant’s randomly assigned gender, which clearly favored the male candidate. Both female and male faculty members displayed this bias.

This study shows that an individual’s immunity from bias toward a group does not result from belonging to a discriminated category. The IAT (Implicit Association Test) is an affordable, online tool that measures unintentional prejudice and can give feedback on an individual’s unconscious bias for introspection. Nevertheless, despite providing instant feedback, the examination does not seem to alter behavior. To address these prejudices, more study is required. It becomes crucial to reduce unconscious prejudice at the individual and organizational levels in order to advance inclusion, equity, and diversity. Unconscious biases can be addressed; the first step is acknowledging their existence.

Recruiting a diverse workforce is made more difficult by the pediatric radiology staffing deficit. Alternatively, one may see this shortfall as a chance to hire people from historically marginalized communities in our industry.

Conclusion

In this article, we tried explaining all important aspects of diversity, including “What is diversity?” its benefits, and obstacles. Diversity within the workforce has a good, evident influence and offers several advantages. A diversified workforce has several obvious benefits, including access to a larger pool of skills, higher levels of confidence among workers and engagement, fresh insights, creativity, improved decision-making, greater productivity, and stronger brand recognition and financial results.

To bring about meaningful change at work, organizations dedicated to advancing inclusion and diversity have established task groups and committees. Diversity is not only a moral thing to accomplish, but it is also what is required to do. Because diversity fosters a more unified workplace, the healthcare organization will have all the resources necessary for success.

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