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Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion: where has this come from?

99 replies

MaudeYoung · 15/06/2022 17:12

From where is this political movement for EDI [Equality, Diversity & Inclusion] derived?

Is it an American import?

The concepts of Equality & Diversity are written in the UK Equality Act 2010; [we are all different and equal]. "Inclusion" [for all] is not. The Equality Act's starting point is that discrimination against any of the listed protected characteristics in specified circumstances is unlawful. That does not mean "inclusion for everyone at all times".

So from where, in UK, is this all-consuming dominant emphasis on "Inclusion" derived?

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achillestoes · 15/06/2022 17:13

I think it is American. I started noticing it about five years ago. Suddenly everything was ‘exclusionary’ even when there was very good reason for it to be.

SpringBadger · 15/06/2022 17:16

I don't know where it came from, but I have noticed that the E in EDI is increasingly rendered as "Equity" rather than "Equality". (Equity being used to mean, basically, equality of outcome - though I'm sure some would argue with my wording and say it's not quite that)

It seems they have realised that Equality and Inclusion are not always compatible, and come down on the side of Inclusion.

MaudeYoung · 15/06/2022 17:18

@achillestoes I'm curious about why UK organisations have adopted the "Inclusion" aspect when that is nothing to do with UK law. It's almost as if HR depts in such organisations have adopted a political agenda that they are vigorously promoting. Or, perhaps they have no real understanding of the Equality Act 2010?

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KittenKong · 15/06/2022 17:21

Seems to be American. Not very well thought out as to be inclusive of the ‘approved’ means exclusions of a lot of other people.

It’s like the ‘be kind’ thing - it’s demanded but never offered.

buzz words and phrases that are used by bullies and are very hypocritical. Drives me nuts!

MaudeYoung · 15/06/2022 17:21

@SpringBadger "It seems they have realised that Equality and Inclusion are not always compatible, and come down on the side of Inclusion."

This has a ring of truth about it, yet it is contrary to the Equality Act 2010.

It is very interesting isn't it? It's as if some have chosen to impose a different version of the law from that which exists.

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MangyInseam · 15/06/2022 17:35

To a large extent the political thinking at a higher level in a country like the UK is going to be very influenced by what goes on in the other English language countries. Not only do we share a lot of popular media, but mant professional and academic disciplines are heavily integrated.

This also happens quite a bit across some language barriers, but it can be slower, especially where there are other barriers like politics.

So policy types in the UK, or Canada, or the US, are all going to be reading articles and attending conferences where similar ideas are being discussed. That will always mean that ideas are dispersed.

But as far as the I - as soon as you begin to see the E in terms of equity, that creates a strong focus on disparities. So people that think that way, and often they don't realize there is a difference, are always looking for statistical differences between defined populations. And the solution to create equity is somehow to erase those disparities.

So if you have say, stats that say that there are fewer black American kids who get into university, in order to fix that you need to get more into university, so the focus becomes, how do we include those kids at the same rate at all instututions compared to white kids. You see the same thing with women in say, women in science internships, the assumption is systemic racism, which is treated as a kind of abstract thing, keeps them out, therefor systems need to be created that even up the numbers. This is the thinking behind modern afirmative action policies in a lot of places.

It's a different approach than looking for concrete causes for disparities and trying to see if they can (or sometimes should) be addressed. And yes, it comes from the US, but I don't think it was created by differences in policy. Policy has changed to follow new ideas.

MangyInseam · 15/06/2022 17:36

Sorry, should be systemic racism or sexism, above.

MaudeYoung · 15/06/2022 17:45

@MangyInseam Thanks. That is interesting. My curiosity though is about UK organisations and, in particular, their HR Depts, adopting and promoting this "Inclusion" political agenda when it is nothing to do with any relevant law here.

Are these organisations promoting this political agenda knowing it is beyond our law, which exposes them to risk of litigation, or are they doing this because they do not understand relevant Law, which also exposes them to risk of litigation?

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Trogbog · 15/06/2022 18:29

I don't know where it comes from but it shows how quickly a slogan or piece of jargon can get people to suspend their critical thinking.
You don't need to think about it very hard, very long to realise that 'inclusion' is not always a good thing, and can be counter to the principle of equality.
Yet Equality professionals are now terrified of not being 'inclusive', just because that word got tagged onto their email signature

NecessaryScene · 15/06/2022 18:44

You don't need to think about it very hard, very long to realise that 'inclusion' is not always a good thing, and can be counter to the principle of equality.

But you apparently have to think harder than anyone involved in DEI is capable of.

There was a great bit from Coach Blade in Canada talking about how she was trying to argue with someone chanting the "diversity, equity and inclusion" mantra:

I say, "Paul, I'm reading your policy here. Can you please explain to me what is going on here? How you came into this conclusion that this should be correct? How this doesn't hurt women?"

And all he could tell me was, "we have a value of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion." And he just kept he just kept spewing that out like "Inshallah", and I just kept saying, "But, Paul, stop," I said, "stop. Don't you understand that if you include a male body in a woman's sport, you're exclusive not inclusive. You exclude. Don't you understand it's not safe, it's not equitable, it's not diverse. You're actually making sure that sport is only male. How are you... what are you even saying?"

"No, we believe in Equity, Diversity, Inclusion."

He wouldn't argue with me he just kept throwing this thing at me.

Trogbog · 15/06/2022 19:12

It is actually depressing. The core principle of equalities work has always been that you DON’T treat everyone the same. That you recognize differences between groups of people and seek to do things differently for some groups to ensure equality of opportunity. But they’ve cowardly decided that it’s more expedient to shove women under a bus in the name of not rocking the boat/ disadvantaging their careers ( which they euphemistically reframe as ‘inclusion).

MaudeYoung · 15/06/2022 19:21

@Trogbog Yes. But how and when did "Inclusion", which has no part of our law here in UK, supercede equality and diversity, which are expressed in our law? This is what is interesting me. Does anyone know when this "Inclusion" agenda actually started here? It wasn't around until about 2015, possibly even a bit later, from what I can tell. Where did it start from?

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PastMyBestBeforeDate · 15/06/2022 19:24

The school SENCO was described as the Inclusion Lead back in 2017 on emails I still have.

FatAgainItsLettuceTime · 15/06/2022 19:28

In my job I review a lot of contracts and RFPs from all over the globe and overwhelmingly the requirement for us to meet EDI targets or provide copies of EDI polices/codes is coming from the EU and UK, it rarely is a requirement from US companies.

Sweden/France/UK are the forerunners with it being a guaranteed element in any UK govt RFPs.

Circumferences · 15/06/2022 19:32

Unfortunately the words "equality, diversity and inclusion" have been queered.

Feminists and black rights activists would have originally used these words to promote inclusion and equality in a male dominated, white dominated society.

The end of the 19th century was a huge turning point for equality, women had been forbidden from working in academia, medicine and many other professions until we started to see a lot of "firsts" during this time. The first public toilets for women as another example, which were burned down by men 🤷🏻‍♀️.

Since about 5-10 years ago, suddenly "Diversity, equality and inclusion" morphed into a metaphor for "give people with a penis everything they want"....

The burning down of women only public toilets continues over a century later....

MaudeYoung · 15/06/2022 19:41

@FatAgainItsLettuceTime That is really interesting.

So, the next question is why are companies and govt depts requiring this when it is not required in UK law?

Who is telling these organisations that "Inclusion" is a requirement and why?

Is it the HR industry at the root of all this? Is the HR industry being misinformed about our law and if so, by whom?

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AlecTrevelyan006 · 15/06/2022 19:48

Common Purpose

MaudeYoung · 15/06/2022 19:49

@PastMyBestBeforeDate Thanks. Yes, 2017 sounds about right to me. I don't recall having seen anything before then.

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FatAgainItsLettuceTime · 15/06/2022 19:52

MaudeYoung · 15/06/2022 19:41

@FatAgainItsLettuceTime That is really interesting.

So, the next question is why are companies and govt depts requiring this when it is not required in UK law?

Who is telling these organisations that "Inclusion" is a requirement and why?

Is it the HR industry at the root of all this? Is the HR industry being misinformed about our law and if so, by whom?

Here's a couple of links about Government procurement. Companies are led by clients, so if clients want inclusion policies and examples of how those policies are embedded/reliever then that's what companies will do. Theme 4 onwards

MaudeYoung · 15/06/2022 20:05

@FatAgainItsLettuceTime Thanks. The first of those procurement documents talks about diversity and being inclusive of a diversity of suppliers. No argument with that at all. That relates to our Equality law. The central point, however, is about diversity.

And this is my point: how has the agenda for diversity been superceded by that of "Inclusion" at all costs and on any terms in the minds of so many?

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StudentMumTo3 · 15/06/2022 20:06

Inclusion has been a term used a lot for over two decades, at least! It was a term used a lot, and a driver for, big changes in SEN with more "inclusion" of disabled children and those with SEN in mainstream education. That all happened under New Labour.

There's also been lots of research that has shown that the focus on equal opportunities does not necessarily lead to equality of outcomes, or equality in experiences, etc. Again, nothing new - it lead to use of translators and interpreters in hospitals, disability ramps in buildings, etc.

If some companies and individuals are only just waking up to these discussions, it doesn't make them recent imports!

MaudeYoung · 15/06/2022 20:23

@StudentMumTo3 Yes. I am talking more about the current "EDI" agenda which is dominated by the politics of "Inclusion" rather than equality and diversity. E & D are written in the Equality Act 2010. "Inclusion" as a separate concept is not.

E & D implies inclusion of the diverse protected characteristics written in that law.

What I want to know is when did "Inclusion" become a separate concept; that is, when did E&D become "EDI" with the dominant focus being on "Inclusion" and why / how has this happened?

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Tompariswasmyfavorite · 15/06/2022 20:33

I would go one step further and say that in workplaces I am hearing less and less abut even equality diversity and inclusion and now it tends to just be 'diversity and inclusion; with the equality bit far less often referenced

StudentMumTo3 · 15/06/2022 20:46

And that's what I've answered.
The concepts of equality and diversity long predate the Equality Act by decades (1960s, at least)

The increasing use of the term inclusion as well, goes back to at least the late 1990s and early 2000s when discussions on disability and equality became more prominent. It pre-dates the equality act, which focus on not doing harm only.

EDI - with all three - has been around a long time! The shift towards the 'I' has also for the reasons I gave before.

It's not a new import. You seem to be playing catch up, as do some organisations (not unusual for organisations to be late to the table or nowhere near it yet!) Why (too) many organisations are only catching up or deciding to emphasise the 'Inclusion' now is probably the better question? And may be more because the calls to do better than just not harm ('discriminate') are getting louder from marginalised and excluded groups?

Over-simplified but the same point- it's not a new import...

NecessaryScene · 15/06/2022 21:08

The words "diversity" and "inclusion" aren't new, but the current behaviour of those using them is a recent shift.

It's now a form of parasitic corruption of organisation, where people in the role create power bases to undermine the leadership, root out dissenters, and grow their departments. In the other thread you can see how they get rid of people who ask difficult questions like Peter Boghossian - the students create the complaints about wrongthinkers like him, and the DEI people then act as their enforcers.

There's no more need to believe you're going to get "diversity" or "inclusion" or "equity" out of a "Diversity Equity & Inclusion" department than you have to believe you're going to get "democracy" or a "republic" from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, or anti-fascism from Antifa. It's not always in the name, you know...

I think the reason the main emphasis in the rhetoric is on "inclusion" is it's the main compliance tool. Saying "no" to anyone is "exclusive", so "be inclusive" is the way of forcing people to agree - you have to let (some) people do whatever they want, and you cannot have boundaries. (I believe feminists might call this "rape culture"?)

Of course, this "inclusion" is just rhetoric, and is highly selective. The "inclusive" people will exclude anyone they think is remotely bad for everyone's "safety". "No TERFs on our turf", sort of thing...

At this point I would say it's probably best for companies, universities and the like just to completely shut down any DEI department they have. I don't think they're compatible with the sort of authoritarian top-down, non-democratic structure you get in a company. They end up with more power than it's safe to give to ideologues, and are likely to get the company into legal trouble, as seen with Maya and Allison's case. They don't really care about fairness or the law, and will crush any individual getting in their way.

But it may be more possible to hold them in check in government? Maybe? I think some progress has been made reigning in Stonewall in Whitehall, for example. Something like the EHRC can work, with public transparency, I think, even though it is a form of "DEI", and you do need something. Diversity, equity and inclusion can be somewhat worthwhile general aims, when not perverted and turned into weapons.

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