Both equality and diversity are keys to advance today's modern society towards being a more peaceful, joyful and meaningful entity. However, diversity that we can all celebrate and embrace cannot be achieved without achieving equality first. In the United Kingdom, the Equality Act 2010 came into force in April 2011 and it applies in England, Scotland and Wales. This equality duty is to: 1) Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation, 2) Advance equality of opportunity between different groups, and 3) Foster good relations between different groups. In summary, this Equality Act 2010 is intended to effectively ensure equality and promote diversity in our society.
What is equality? It is a quality of being essentially the same in value or status among all people. In order to achieve equality, people must be fair and respect differences in their values and status; especially people from weaker or smaller groups must be protected. It is also one of the basic human rights that every human being in the world should be entitled to. In England, Scotland and Wales, the Equality Act 2010 covers age, disability, gender, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, and sexual orientation. It sets out to eliminate unlawful discrimination against, harassment and victimisation of these groups of people, and to advance equality among them.
What is diversity? It is a state of having differences, whether it is age, condition, race, belief, religion, gender or sexual orientation. Only once equality is achieved, diversity becomes meaningful. In today's society, whether it is democratic or not, diversity does exist; however, it becomes a source of conflict if such diversity exists without equality. The Equality Act 2010 aims to promote diversity by fostering good relations between different groups of people.
For further information about equality and diversity in the UK, please visit the Equality and Human Rights Commission's web site at www.equalityhumanrights.com.