We know intuitively that diversity matters. It’s also increasingly clear that it makes sense in purely business terms. McKinsey’s latest research finds that companies in the top quartile for gender or racial and ethnic diversity are more likely to have financial returns above their national industry medians. Companies in the bottom quartile in these dimensions are statistically less likely to achieve above-average returns. Why have we not moved forward in accepting diversity? What more do we need to understand?
What about in non-business terms? What can diversity do for a community? For education? For the human dimension? Diversity is a growing and (mostly) progressive part of our society, but what makes diversity important? Why should we be willing to take others’ perspectives into account if we know we are right? Simply put, it’s because you are not right. Well not always at least, no one is always right. But if we don’t let others’ ideas into our lives, we will never know how wrong we really might be, and how much we can learn.
Theo is a third year engineering student at Dalhousie University and has been a Sexton Scholar for three consecutive years. He has secured internships with the Federal Government and in the Petro Chemical industry for his engineering degree, and did voluntary service in disadvantaged communities before entering engineering on scholarships. His sight disability has given him a unique perspective on the perception people have of each other, and the affect of stereotype on those perceptions. Brutal reality has shown him that you lose nothing by accepting people for who they are and the benefit to a community when all are treated equally.