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Rutland Council's Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion - Gale Waller comments

November 11, 2020 9:30 AM
By Gale Waller

Gale Waller equalities 2

On 9 November 2020 Rutland County Council passed a motion to update its Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion statement and enshrine this statement into the Council's policy framework. After all, the first piece of equalities legislation was passed 50 years ago and the Disabilities Discrimination Act 25 years ago this weekend. The fact that we are still talking about it clearly demonstrates that despite the legislation, as a society we still have some way to go to achieve equality for all.

However, I would go further than the definitions given in Rutland's policy which defines diversity as 'taking account' of difference. If I was writing the policy, I would declare diversity as 'recognising and celebrating' difference. Whatever our personal characteristics we are all human and should be valued as such. We are not robots, all fashioned the same on some conveyor belt, but human and as such all different and all similar. We are all part of the rich tapestry which makes humanity and individually we should be equally valued and celebrated.

We all have skills and talents though mine may not be the same as yours. For example, as a teacher my daughter has a reputation for excellent classroom management. I had the same reputation when I taught. She lip reads because of her hearing loss; I have excellent hearing, compensation for sight loss. Young people at the back of a class have no chance of private conversations in our classrooms! It's amazing how they toe the line when they think their private whispered conversations will be relayed to the whole class via their teacher. Yet as far as the world is concerned, we are both disabled and, by implication, less able, inferior. I would rather see us as 'differently abled' and our difference, like all difference, valued for what it is, not dismissed for what it is not. We need to celebrate and value difference, not just make allowances.

To be equal all must be valued.