Diversity in leadership brings benefits for everyone – both employees and the users of our services. Diversity also leads to greater innovation, access to a wider pool of talent, and leads to a better place to work, with even greater impact.
Yet, whilst the dream of equal opportunity for all has not yet come true, its promise still exists. But words alone will not meet the needs of those that are disadvantaged in society; needs will only be met if we act boldly, today, every day, and in the years ahead.
In general, and right across society, black and minority ethnic (BME) folk do less well – whether that’s in relation to educational achievement, health, wealth, housing, employment, the list goes on. This is the pattern seen for BME people within white-majority countries.
In recent months, the coronavirus has shone the brightest of lights on the racial stratification of inequality that we see in the UK. The virus is having a disproportionate impact on BME communities and key workers; many paying the ultimate sacrifice.
In our response, we must look towards tackling the root-causes of these inequalities. This has to be the watershed moment for society, where it holds up a mirror to its own values, morals and constructs of equality, to make transformational and sustained change for everyone.
This is a testing time for all, but we must face these challenges head-on. Unless the challenges are shared, the failure to meet them will hurt us all; and whilst we may be humbled by the task before us, we are also firm in the belief that, together we can, and must, make a lasting difference on this agenda.
We all have a role to play in turning the dream into reality, and in narrowing the gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of our time. So, we have a choice: we can be bystanders to this issue, or we can come together and tackle the very root causes of inequalities.
This agenda should not be a burden for those that are most affected by it; transformation in this area requires the collective efforts of everyone. Whilst we may not all come from the same place, we all need to move in the same direction.