Diversity. It is a word that is thrown around meetings and in taglines promoting the progressive thinking of any particular corporation or group but is still mostly misunderstood and largely misconstrued. I work in the United States Military, and being a member of the public sector, diversity is a huge metric tossed around constantly. I am also a white Christian male. Within the military we have celebrations that commemorate the Black History Month, Asian-Pacific Heritage Month, or Pride Month. What we don’t have, mostly because the legislative branch of the government hasn’t made it mandatory, it a Northern European Heritage month and I’m ok with that.
For the longest time however, I was very much against these celebrations of minorities heritage simply because my heritage was not included and I felt that the celebration of anything based on race is racist. This however is not the case and my opinion has changed drastically recently. In the case of women, there has been significant evidence presented that proves that a significant pay gap still exists between the genders; a whopping 33% gap (as cited in Moran et al., 2014). Minorities are still drastically underrepresented in the upper echelons of military service (Department of Defense, 2013).
Diversity has also been proven to drastically increase the efficiency and productivity of any corporation, as expressed in the widely accepted formula of Diversity + Integration = Productivity (Moran et al., 2014). An increase in diversity, however is not the sole factor. While you increase diversity, you must also increase integration, as found by Stahl et al. ( as cited in Moran et al., 2014).
Fact is, that these programs of celebrating diversity may not be a perfect answer, but they increase the integration of diversity into a work place, and therefore are indeed effective. To prove the point, Norway can boast that 40% of its legislators are women, mostly due to very successful governmental programs to promote diversity and integrations throughout their private and public sectors.
Department of Defense. (2013). 2013 Demographics Profile of the Military Community. Pg 33. Retrieved from http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&ved=0CCcQFjACahUKEwjM0uyU9fTHAhXGo4gKHRUqDVc&url=http%3A%2F%2Fdownload.militaryonesource.mil%2F12038%2FMOS%2FReports%2F2013-Demographics-Report.pdf&usg=AFQjCNEKm8Rrj5akG9_y15khJC4z70FFCg
Moran, R. T., Abramson, N. R., & Moran, S. V. (2014) Managing Cultural Differences (9th ed.). New York, NY.