Accepting difference is the key to creating diversity

I believe women have a great deal in common with ethnic minorities when it comes to being accepted in the workplace, and allowed to flourish according to their talent (‘Only a total culture change will give women the X factor’, Opinion, Personnel Today, 9 May).

Early arrivals (pioneers or tokens, call them what you like) from both social groups are seen according to their ethnicity or gender. So if women and ethnic minorities in the workplace are to be seen as anything other than their ethnicity or gender, then there needs to be a lot of them.

Early arrivals are often under pressure to compromise their authenticity and become like the majority they are joining. They know that they would be too much of a threat if they were too authentic.

The real challenge for organisations is to create the right culture in which everyone is allowed to be themselves, and where differences are not only respected, but allowed to flourish.

Karamat Iqbal, Diversity consultant, Forward Partnership


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