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Diversity. It’s no doubt that as the world rapidly globalizes, diversity is becoming increasingly present across all aspects of life. Encompassing gender, race, ethnicity or socio-economic background, diversity and a multicultural environment are important for a whole host of reasons, above all for the different perspectives they provide. Businesses are the first to reap the rewards of having a multicultural working environment; the benefits of cultural diversity and inclusion have been measurably positive.
The interconnectedness of the modern world is broadening our ability to communicate and integrate with people from different cultures. Cities, and indeed countries, are rapidly becoming more multicultural, and ideas and values are being shared. It follows that places of education and business should be similarly representative of the environment that surrounds them.
What is Diversity?
The traditional concept of diversity has often focused on the idea of creating tolerance between different cultures. However, as ideas about diversity and inclusion have developed, the focus has shifted towards how diversity is able to enrich human learning and experience, so-called ‘unity in diversity’. This powerful phrase has been adopted by numerous political bodies, including the European Union who began using it as an official motto in 2000.
The Value of Diversity
A diverse environment has multiple benefits for personal development. Outside of becoming accepting and more aware of other cultures, it can help smash previously held stereotypes. Diversity and inclusion breed productivity as the ability to learn and grow from each other is exponentially expanded. A multicultural exchange of ideas bolsters richer idea generation, in turn leading to innovation and creativity. This is especially pertinent in educational settings and companies, arenas all about learning, creating and sharing ideas. In these environments, a profile exposed to different cultures viewpoints, allows for more contribution and out-of-the-box thinking.
In education, studying in an international environment means regular exposure to cultures, practices and ideas. Mingling with a diverse range of people will prepare you to be part of a global society, whether it be within your business or personal life – not to mention the possibility of learning new languages.
Does Teacher Diversity Matter for Student Learning?
Diversity in education stretches further than just diversity of students. Having diverse leadership can also help ensure that students get an encompassing view of a topic. The role of a teacher from different backgrounds, with different life experiences, especially those pertaining to her field of study, is to share with students who can critically assess her.
More than just this, teachers are often regarded as role models. Seeing someone of the same ethnicity or gender in a high-powered position or one you respect, can be the inspiration needed to achieve similar goals.
Benefits of diversity for Business
Diversity and inclusion can be hugely beneficial to companies as well with studies confirming this fact. Similarly to personal development, having a team of multicultural people when conducting market research can be a rich resource. Diversity in organizations mean companies are able to come up with ideas they previously may not have thought of, as well as being able to better represent the global market. Having a deeper understanding of the general population will help companies cater to growing needs and niches in the market they may miss otherwise.
A cultural diversity example of this and of the benefits of diversity in the workplace is Estee Lauder, who are using their NextGEN initiative to encourage millennials to contribute to market aims. Millennials are stated to be the generation most switched on to ideas of cultural exchange in history. By having a culturally diverse workforce, the company were able to recognize the need for a more diverse selection of shades within their foundation range to reflect the changing racial profile of their consumer base within the U.K. P&G have also seen great success with their ‘Like a Girl’ and ‘We See Equal’ campaigns; hardly a surprise when you consider that 45% of their managers and a third of their board are women.
Diversity and inclusion in the Workplace
Diversity is also a two-way street for businesses. Younger generations are highlighting the importance of diversity in their places of work, with 85% of millennial females saying they heavily considered prospective employers’ policies on diversity, equality and inclusion before accepting a job, in a survey carried out by PwC. Having a diverse environment not only benefits a business but is also likely to attract the best talent out there.
At EU we take the commitment to diversity very seriously and that is why we are proud to have been ranked as the worldwide education leader in diversity by QS Global MBA Rankings 2019, achieving 100/100 in the areas of international faculty, student nationalities and gender balance. With a student body comprised on more than 100 nationalities and students speaking on average more than three languages, we are proud to be setting the benchmark for multicultural schooling environments globally and preparing our students for successful international business careers.