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DIVERSITY – A 21st CENTURY NEED

We live in a world with differences and indifferences. The differences in, as simple as our voices, eyes, hair, or personalities make us tremendously unique. The 21st century need – Diversity is understanding that each individual has differences; be it cultural, gender, linguistic or intellectual diversity. Diversity comes in a lot of forms and shapes.

Have you ever considered how boring and monotonous it would be if all of us, in more than one way, be similar? It is, certainly, a beautiful concept that each one of us has the ability to be a person of our own- our own beliefs, ideas, and thoughts.

diversity a 21st century need
Gender Diversity

The 21st century is, essentially, the time where both- women and men, have the chance to outshine. Workplaces and cultures represent the diversity in genders more than ever. This wouldn’t have been possible few decades back. Even now, in some places in the world, gender diversity is a far-fetched dream. For instance, Saudi Arabia did not allow women to drive until 2018. Though this might not be the exact case of diversity, but it does talk about unequal representation.

Moreover, balanced workplace diversity is important to add different perspectives and point of view. Gender diversity has positive effects on the organization. This is because having women can help in better collaboration of teams and improved customer services.

There’s a dominance of male employees over females in domains like engineering, medical, science etc. Although, there is a positive trend of more women having careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) field. Workplace gender diversity means that men and women are hired at a similar rate, are paid equally, and are given the same working and promotional opportunities.

Sexual orientation is an important but taboo form of diversity. People are coming to terms with and understanding the LGBTQ community. But their representation still seems to be limited.

Cultural Diversity

India is home to a number of different cultures, traditions, and religions. It is this diversity that makes India unique. The people believing in different cultures make our country an interesting place to live in. As people from different walks of life come together and interact with each other, it helps us have open-minded thinking. New experiences, knowledge, and ways of thinking are introduced. It is important to respect other’s cultures as much as we do our own. Only then we would be more understanding and friendly. As rightly said, there is “Unity in Diversity”.

Lingual Diversity

There are more than 7,000 languages in India. Out of which, there are 22 scheduled languages given status, recognition and official mention in the Indian Constitution. There’s a wide variety of regional languages. Hindi, English, Bengali and Marathi are among the top languages spoken in India.

There is a common saying in India which states that, “for every couple of miles the taste of water changes and for every three miles the spoken language changes”. There is a change in an accent even if the language spoken in two different states is the same.

This amount of diversity in languages does create a communication barrier to some extent. A person from Kashmir is going to have difficulties mingling with the Kanyakumari crowd. Hence, there are various propositions to end this barrier by the Government. But let’s be honest, in a country with 1.3 Billion people, will it be possible to have one single common language?

Hindi is the most common language; with over 40% Indians speaking it. But will it be a right choice to impose it in a state like, say, Tamil Nadu? It will only lead to hassle between the people and the government.

Intellectual Diversity

Imagine, you’re having a project group. The project consists of many subdomains – software, hardware, designing and debugging. Will it be viable if all the members in the group are good only in, say, designing? It would, certainly, not balance the team. This is what Intellectual Diversity is about – diverse thinkers with a diverse amounts of varying ideas. People with different skill-sets and ideas are required for a team to succeed.

Conclusion

Diversity, in all sectors and forms, is important for a country to grow and prosper. Though, The “our” and “my” thinking hampers it. A lot of people are accepting of the opposite person’s idea only if it complies with their beliefs. As wrong as it may sound, it is still prevalent in households and workplaces. Diversity brings out a sense of freedom. It tells us, that however different we might be from others, we’re still similar, in one way or the other. It is an art of thinking independently together.

“Diversity is not about how we differ. It is about embracing one other’s uniqueness.” – Ola Joseph.

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