Below we share statements from our speakers that will be joining us for the ED&I Virtual Summit 2021. See their inspirations, visions and views on Equaliy, Diversity and Inclusion and what it means to them.
Paul Deemer, Head of Diversity and Inclusion, NHS Employers
Does equality, diversity and inclusion really matter to us? My view is that it does, and it is not so much what you call it. That is for others to worry about. But it is important that you understand what it is – and why you feel it. I have been thinking recently about empathy and learnt it derives from the Greek word ‘empatheia’ meaning passion. Empathy is the ability to understand things from another person’s perspective. So – how does this all relate to our good friends’ equality, diversity and inclusion? Is it all about passion, understanding – or suffering? Yes – all 3 are important aspects. Equality is defined as the state of being equal, Diversity is defined as the range of human differences and inclusion as the action or state of including or of being included within a group or structure.
Will Serle, Chief People Officer, Capita
We (the world, UK, society, community, companies, individuals - take your pick) are still in a place where the visible or invisible differences that exist between us hinder opportunity or progression for some. That is both grossly unfair and represents a huge waste. Leaders, whether they be politicians, civil leaders, corporate leaders or passionate individuals have a duty to act and address for the benefit of all. Progress has been made, in some groups more than in others, and that is good, but there is still much to be done and the pace of change is frustratingly slow for those who have to live with the unfairness.
Colonel Lucy Giles, President Army Officer Selection Board
The case for diversity in the military, alongside many other sectors, is overwhelming. Why wouldn’t you work with people that can increase productivity, enhance performance and, in the case of the Armed Forces, have a positive impact on operational capability? Whether the diversity is defined through a protected characteristic or cognitively, it can be a game changer. But the challenge is to lead your team in an inclusive way, to set levels of ambition about diversity that are both realistic and achievable in your workforce. All this whilst ensuring that all your people feel a sense of belonging to the organisation and that they can become something better within it.
Neil Rider, Head of FDA Learn & Key Skills, FDA & Keystone
Inclusion and diversity are central to the work of the FDA. For several years now, we have run the very successful BAME and Women into Leadership conferences, aiming to help people from under-represented groups reach the most senior levels of the civil service.
As the union moved to remote working in 2020, we were able to build a full, free online learning offer for members, whether it was skills to support remote working whatever your circumstances, or sessions to help our members respond effectively to the really challenging questions posed by the Black Lives Matter movement.
We provide for civil service employers across all the home nations, and work with partner organisations to deliver specialist training, including recently with Women’s Aid and Ambitious About Autism. We also continue to work closely with BAME networks.
Building on all of this will be central to the FDA’s work as we emerge from the pandemic.
Anit Chandarana, Chief of Staff, Network Rail
Who would have thought that, almost a quarter of the way through the 21st Century, we would still be debating and discussing the issue of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion? But we are. And we still need to because we have not yet reached a point where issue of skin colour, gender, disability, sexuality, and background, to name but a few, are still discriminated against. There are two central tenants we need to embrace if we are going to change for the better.
Firstly, this is about justice: We have heard for a long time about the business case for equality, that businesses will make better decisions and so on. All true but it’s more important than that…it is simply unjust to discriminate. This is the conversation we should be having.
Secondly, equity. To achieve equality and justice we will need to invest more in those who are discriminated against.
Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Virtual Summit 2021
If you would like to hear more from our speakers, they will be joining us in our newly launched virtual event and annual conference. Join us at the Public Sector & Civil Service Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Virtual Summit where our theme for the day is ‘Building a Better Working World’.