Over the past several years, the term cultural diversity has been bandied around a great deal. Community organizations talk about it. Businesses work hard to weave it into their corporate fabric. Politicians sprinkle it liberally in their words and, hopefully, into their actions. The importance of cultural diversity has taken on a new urgency as the nation’s national politics and discourse have grown increasingly divisive.
But cultural diversity is not just a current trend or a fashionable philosophy; it’s a proven necessity for success in a global environment.
Research has revealed that cultural diversity has a powerful impact on an organization’s bottom line. A 2017 McKinsey & Company report Delivering through Diversity found that companies that incorporate gender and ethnic diversity in the workplace are 21 percent more likely to get better financial returns. The most ethnically diverse companies perform 35 percent better on average.
Creating True Culturally Diversity in the World Begins with Students
Members of underserved communities have clamored for representation in government and the corporate world for many years. They want their voices heard. They want a seat at the proverbial table. Over the years, some organizations have appeased underrepresented populations with token representation.
When individuals from underrepresented groups see themselves in leadership—especially children and youth—whether in governance or the corporate world, they feel part and parcel of the society. It helps to break image stereotypes, shatters barriers, and lets people know that they are valued.
Why It Matters for Students
Diversity, inclusion, and global mindedness are integral to the REAP philosophy that drives its programming. Multicultural youth leadership programs and civic engagement lay a strong foundation to ensure that children and youth learn vital problem-solving skills and develop critical thinking skills needed to guide the country to a promising future that taps everyone’s talents and competencies.
Empowering all young people, including those who are disenfranchised, within a safe haven allows young minds to feel genuinely embraced, encouraged, and prepared to explore the world and emerge as this nation’s next generation of leaders.
3 Ways Cultural Diversity Transforms Organizations
Multiple voices, perspectives, and personalities generate creative thinking and different approaches to problem-solving. An organization that provides a platform for the open exchange of ideas can reap diversity’s most significant benefits. A recent study from Forbes confirmed this, concluding that “the best way to ensure the development of new ideas is through a diverse and inclusive workforce.”
Organizations with a culture of diversity and inclusion report being happier and more productive. The range of experience, expertise, and working methods that a diverse workplace offers can boost problem-solving capacity and lead to greater productivity.
While working in homogeneous teams may seem more comfortable, it can cause an organization to settle for the status quo. Diversity builds on healthy competition, positively stretching a team to achieve their best. Healthy competition can optimize organizational processes for greater efficiency. An article in the Harvard Business Review argues that diverse teams’ challenges are among the reasons why diverse teams perform better.
Two-thirds of job hunters indicated that diversity was important to them when considering job offers. Making diversity an essential part of the recruiting process helps broaden the talent pools of prospective employees.
Diversity, including diversity of gender, religion, and ethnicity, has also been shown to improve retention and reduce the costs associated with employee turnover. Employees in a diverse workplace remain loyal because they feel respected and valued, fostering mutual respect among colleagues.
Cultural Diversity is a Vital Requirement for a Thriving Future
Cultural diversity benefits everyone in all aspects of life. It paves the way to local, sustainable development that helps communities lift themselves out of poverty.
Our country, workplaces, communities, and schools increasingly consist of various cultural, racial, and ethnic groups. All voices must be elevated to facilitate collaboration and cooperation.
Cultural diversity nurtures peace by demanding respect for human life regardless of traditions, histories, and customs. For example, extremists usually have extreme views because they don’t have the opportunity to understand the other sides’ arguments. Having diversity and inclusion improves the balance of opinions and beliefs.
To truly protect human rights, we must go beyond asking for tolerance; we must actively champion cultural diversity. We must build a well-balanced world that will accept different opinions and reduce fears towards differences.
At REAP, we provide professional development opportunities to the schools we partner with on culturally responsive best practices when it comes to trauma informed care and restorative justice practices. It is important to us that the students we serve at the schools we work with are receiving the same quality support in and outside of the classroom–That all non BIPOC teachers and school administrators are trained to improve their engagement with students of color with a cultural lens. Help us empower the next generation of leaders to make true cultural diversity a viable path to a better future for all.