Promotion of Diversity and Equality
Summary of Assessment One
Equality and diversity are closely related words that are sometimes confused in meaning, but the truth is they are as different from one another as possible. A definition of the word equality illustrates it as being a state of fairness to everyone, regardless of gender, beliefs, race, social status or even existing disabilities (Thompson, 1986). It offers each individual a mundane chance to exercise free will of judgment, indiscriminate participation and realization of the full potential without fear of prejudice and conflict of ideas. On the other hand, Diversity implies being wide in thinking, actions, insight, practices and even on social life (Trevithick, 2005). It allows one to freely exemplify their true being wherever they are, without fear of discrimination. The understanding of the diverse nature of the human race, that each and everyone comes from a different background, is guided by unique beliefs and practices, and reports a different culture, is an crucial step in ensuring better performance and acceptability of every individual in a society.
The Equality Act of 2010 gave a roadmap to the realization of the full freedom and exercise of human rights cross-culturally. Its main aim was to minimize if not entirely eliminate, discrimination against individuals, by changing the perceptions of people who may be different in any manner, as coined by cultural inheritance; and to give more rights to each category of individuals (Equality Act 2010).
Professional practice is a function of power Influence, as has been witnessed in both contemporary and traditional societies. At every level of relationships, there is at least some power exerting force against individuals treated as its subjects (Sweeney, Lewis & Etherington, 2003). For instance, health care professionals have power over their patients, and may decide to misuse this privilege, by mistreating those patients. For patients with disabilities, they could be looked down upon as minors, thus receiving low value care and attention. Another instance of power effect could in a multilevel leadership structure, where the top management misuses his mandate and authority to undermine the low-level employees (Trevithick, 2005). Consequently, the subordinates lack zeal and zest for work, and may withhold pertinent information that may have been crucial for handling of a particular case or situation. Consequently, professional practice is undermined by misuse of power, and the performance of individuals goes down, thus affecting service delivery.
Care values have been on constant transition overtime. This change has not been devoid of results. Among the many advantages of positive transition of care values are improved performance of individuals; delivery of proper and more advance care to patients and people with unique needs; more liberal performance of individuals without discrimination among others. The main driving force behind the change of care values is the introduction of The Patient Centered Charter, which has given more liberty to patients to voice their opinions on how they would wish to be taken care of. A transition from the medical model to a bio-physical model has been a significant breakthrough in enhancing change of care values. This has incorporated the social, biological and psychological aspects of individuals in treatment as supported by increased advocacy of fair treatment of vulnerable groups.
When fairness and diversity are not exercised in any given setup, social exclusion could set in, which brings with it damaging effects. Depression, anxiety, and insecurity are just but a tip of the iceberg. This can be passed from one generation to another; thus equality and diversity have to be promoted to annul the effects of discrimination and prejudice (Social exclusion unit, 2004).
Strategies Used to Promote Equality and Diversity
Lisa faces various problems in her life, and she falls as a direct victim of social barriers. She has no right to exercise her freedom, develop her full potential and finds herself in a most unwarranted position of a caregiver at a juvenile age. As discussed earlier, equality and diversity are strong terms that provide for an individual the opportunity to participate in daily life activities, develop full potential and mingle easily with the rest of the society members without facing discrimination and prejudice (United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, 2010). In this case study, these two rights have grossly been violated. For fairness to reign, it requires that all society members, regardless of gender, race, physical condition, social class or even sexuality, receives equal attention and opportunities in life (Argawal, 2010).
Lisa is manifested not only as a young caregiver with less freedom to attend to her life needs and personal interests, but also as a victim of gender-based inequality. Her elder brother, Michael, has all the freedom to go to college and is not burdened by undue responsibilities of minding the younger siblings. He is hardly at home, and that means he has the opportunity for self-development, vertical and horizontal growth. If the condition at Lisa’s home is anything to do with insufficiency, then it would mean that the parents would not have had a choice of letting Michael study comfortably. Both the elderly children would have been actively involved in taking care of the family.
Disability and impairment, as they are key points of focus in this case study, have to be understood, before outlining strategies that can be put in place to improve their conditions. The casual link between impairment and disability puts impairment as leading to disability, but this ignores the assertion that disability is an entirely caused by social phenomena (Woodward, 2004). Disability has overtime been reformulated to refer to those social disadvantages as well as exclusions, which people suffering from impairments of any kind are exposed to in all facets of life, including employment, education, housing, transportation, civil rights, and so forth (Swain et al, 2004, p.21). Just like Kerry, Lisa’s sister is accustomed to frequent outbursts because of her Asperger’s syndrome; she faces various disadvantages in life, including exclusions from social setups and discrimination from mates. The impairment here is the Asperger’s syndrome, while the disability incorporates the aftermath of having the syndrome.
The disability social model unleashed a positive drive for both social and political transformation. Having been exposed as a form of exclusion and social oppression, augmented by the already existing gender-based violence, racial discrimination, social class and sexuality, it presented itself as intolerable and had to be dealt with (Ogden, 2004). It is in this same breath that this paper seeks to analyze various strategies that can be put in place to subvert the excesses of disability. In the case study, the manifestations of disablism are readily observed: Kerry is unable to compete with others in the education sector and is viewed as a person of less value in the community. The disabling barriers of a social nature in the lives of people suffering from impairments can be pinpointed and challenged since the green light is: socially created barriers are not indispensable; they can be easily dismantled if proper criteria are observed (Obar et al, 2012).
Numerous strategies exist which can be used to dismantle the yoke of social barriers, and promote equality and diversity, so as to improve the lives of Lisa and her siblings. These include advocacy, empowerment, legislative approach, partnership, behavior and culture change, and promoting self-identity (The civil Service, 2008).
This is referred to as a political process through which a group of people or an individual, whose main goal is to influence policies affecting the public or means of resource allocation, or even social phenomena that need to be changed, engages in vigorous campaigns to change the mindset of people (Cohen, de la Vega, & Watson, 2001). There are various ills that advocates might want to fight against, including political social, economic institutions and systems. Motivation for advocacy may stem from ethical, moral or principles related o faith; or just a desire to shield and defend the rights assets and interests of the public, or that of an individual. Such activities that are incorporated within the frames of advocacy include media campaigns, commissioning of research, publishing, public speaking or taking matters to court (Argawal, 2010). Lobbying is a common form of advocacy, which is directly related to canvassing, involving advocates engaging a direct approach to the subjects of a particular matter.
In the case of Lisa, freeing her from the bondage of a juvenile caregiver requires more than persuasion of the parents. They fail to realize the inherent needs of the young kid to engage in co-curricular activities, and pay a visit to the movies and friends, even after Lisa shows interest. She is quickly brushed off, by being reminded of the bitter responsibility that lies directly on her shoulder. To add insult to injury, when Lisa comes home from collecting the weans, she or neither of the other children, is allowed to enter the kitchen. This prevents her from exercising her full potential as an upcoming woman, and as condemned young caregiver. It thus means that an advocate is required for Lisa. There are various forms of advocacy which can be used to alleviate various forms of freedom infringements, like lack of diversity and equality (Loue, Lloyd & O’Shea, 2003).
Social justice advocacy is the most common form of advocacy, as a strategy of bringing change into the society (Cohen, de la Vega, & Watson, 2001). The main aim of this strategy is to have smooth political relations, equal participation of people in the society, and having a clear vision for a just society. This form employs the criterion of engaging in a series of actions to change present status of issues, into what they should be, considering that the latter is an exemplification of a just society. This approach has the following characteristics: they question the manner in which policy is administered; are engaging and remarkably inclusive; participate in the setting of the agenda as significant issues are raised; propose solutions of policies; their main target is political systems, as they view them as not responding to the needs of people; and they create room for public argumentation (Young, & Everitt, 2004).
Advocacy can take many other forms, which might not be relevant to this study, including mass, ideological interest-group, media, bureaucratic, express/issue, health, and budget advocacies. Lisa can be helped through a few of the forms mentioned above. Advocates can use health advocacy to fight for the provision of a home-based health care worker to attend to Anthony, instead of Lisa having to stay with her. Budget advocacy can also be used proactively to increase the earnings of the parents; so that they can they can engage the services of an ayah. Advocacy can be applicable in various contexts including legal/law, political, social care as well in the context of inclusion (Cohen, de la Vega, & Watson, 2001)n. Advocacy in the social context targets individuals in difficulty, as in the case of Lisa, while that of inclusion seeks to secure the acceptance and equal treatment of individuals who have been socially alienated and isolated.
This is another powerful strategy that can be employed to solve Lisa’s situation. As aforementioned, Lisa is a victim of gender-based ill treatment and unfairness, as her elder brother, who would have been in a better position to take care of the kinds is left to study in college. She therefore has to undergo a process of empowerment so as to make her realize her value as a young woman. In the society, women have been marginalized, taken as lesser beings, but at the same time entrusted with the custody of must chores. Groups of people that need empowerment are the marginalized (McNutt, 2007). This refers to the overt (or covert ) trends in societies where people considered to be lacking some desirable traits, or those deviating from norms governing a group are ostracized and excluded by a larger society (Blanchard, John & Alan, 1996).
Empowerment has a wide landscape of meanings, but can be coined to mean increasing the political, spiritual, gender, economic, or educational strength of individuals as well as communities (Blanchard, John & Alan, 1996). Sociological empowerment, which is more relevant to this case study, addresses those members of a group who have been excluded by processes of social discrimination. These individuals cannot participate in the process of making a decision based on their disability, gender, race, ethnicity or religion. Usually, empowerment is more associated with feminism (Blanchard, John & Alan, 1996).
Gender empowerment would be most beneficial to Lisa, as she will realize and appreciate her self-worth, and fight better for her rights. Many movements concerned with human rights and development have put in place approaches to address to subject of women empowerment, for example, The Millennium Development Goals, The Human Development and Capabilities Approach (Blanchard, John & Alan, 1996). There are several ways that have tested and tried, which can be used to empower women. These include commissioning of land rights, allocating women responsibilities that are normally believed to be masculine, offering microcredits, and providing equal opportunities for the participation of women in the society (Deneulin, & Lila, 2009).
Among the above mentioned strategies of employment, one of the most effective that Lisa would benefit from is providing her with equal opportunity as her brother to engage in life activities, carry on her education, and involve herself in activities which would further her development as a child. Allocating her duties that she believes normally belong to Michael would give her the confidence to tackle all inequalities that are gender-based. She also needs to be empowered economically so that she can go to school and attend cinemas, according to her wish. These are essential activities in the cognitive development of a child, which she should not be denied (Thomas, & Velthouse, 1990).
Cultural Teaching and Behavior Change
The word ‘culture’ has a wide array of meanings, as many anthropologists have tried to define it. The most satisfying definition is the “thick description” of Geertz (1973) which is outlined below.
A historically transmitted pattern of meanings embodied in symbols, a system of inherited conceptions expressed in symbolic forms by means of which men communicate, perpetuate, and develop their knowledge about the attitudes of life (Geertz, 1973, p.89).
Culture has a profound effect on normal life as well as professional performance (Geertz, 1973). In most societies, the female sex is regarded as lesser beings, which should practically carry out all the menial jobs, while the men wallow in complete comfort and kingly treatment. They are not allowed to own property, advance in education and exercise judgment in the community. This same culture marginalizes people with disabilities, and does not appreciate the uniqueness of people with unique needs. Lisa is a victim of archaic cultural beliefs and practices.
Recently, there have been substantial breakthroughs to the barriers of cultural origin (Deneulin, & Lila, 2009). Various methodologies can be employed to negate the effect of cultural beliefs among people, one of which is education (Geertz, 1973). Training of people on the covert ill-benefits of deep cultural beliefs can lead to reduction of these barriers. Communities can be taught on the importance of educating women in the society, their role in the larger picture of development, and benefits associated with empowering them (World Survey on the Role of Women In Development, 2009). Preaching of equality would make the perceptions deeply ingrained in people’s minds change, thus allowing fair treatment of everyone. Lisa’s parents would be a perfect target of such a program, so that they can find a way of letting their daughter have equal opportunity in life.
The case study explicitly reveals Lisa’s parents as guilty of an offence, which is child abuse. Lisa is registered as a young caregiver, a title she does not deserve at all costs. She is denied the freedom of joining her mates in a cinema, which she would genuinely like to attend. Her rights as a child have been violated in many capacities, for instance, she is not allowed to enter the kitchen in the absence of her parents. Biologically, children’s metabolic rate is quite high (something to do with large surface area to volume ration), and their need frequent replenishing of their food store. Denying them the right to fend for themselves where there is an opportunity is a gross mistake and injustice (Jones, & Cross, 2005.).
The Equality Act 2010 brought together several pieces of legislation which aim at protection of people with regards to age, gender, disability, race, marriage and civil partnerships, religion, beliefs, sex, pregnancy and maternity as well as sexual orientation. The office of Government Equalities is specifically concerned with mainstreaming issues to do with equality. They are tasked with the mandate of eliminating victimization, discrimination, and harassment; fostering mutual relations among people bearing the above mentioned characteristics; and advancing equality in the provision of opportunities to everyone.
Special Interest groups and advocates, together with human rights agencies can take the responsibility of legally forcing the parents to exert sound judgment in the upbringing of all their children (Keck, & Sikkink, 1998). In case proper care is not given to the children, complaints can be made to the Ombudsman for the law to take its cause. This approach may not be treated as a first option, since the case study depicts the family as undergoing a tough time, and what they might need does not include more legal cases to answer, but anything that light up their burden. This, therefore, can only be treated as a precautionary measure and a last minute resort.
Promotion of Self-Identity
Identity provides people with the means of getting an answer to the question usually lingering in people’s minds ‘who am I?’ (Woodward, 2004). This has more often than not confused with the personality, but the two terms vary from one another in several respects. For instance, personality traits can be shared with other people, but identity brings into light a more active and mutual engagement on a part of the participant. The choice to identify with a particular group or identity is an individual’s, though it has limitations brought about by social barriers.
Lisa would be more active in her life if she actively identifies with a particular age set, and conform to its activities. An enabling environment, though, has to be created for her, so that she is not prejudiced as the girl who comes from a sick family, uncaring parents and branded the caregiver. In this respect, she would feel alienated and someone of a different caliber from that of her mates. Realizing her identity would provide a clear roadmap to her thinking and insight about what she wants to become, then work towards it.
The importance of structures as the forces out of people’s reach that shape their identities, has to be appreciated when looking for an approach to help Lisa realize her identity. Agency represents what control one can exert over what one Is (Deneulin, & Lila, 2009). The structures in this case would include parental interference, social alienation and discrimination and lack of exposure to the right environment (DeVita, & Mosher-Williams, 2001).. Lisa’s parents put so much responsibility on her that she might as well grow up knowing that her only role is that of child-bearing and carrying out house hold chores. Due to the nature of her family, she risks being alienated by her mates, depriving her of the opportunity to appreciate her self-worth. Proper guidance and the right environment would just suffice to make her realize her potential.
Partnership can be a more subtle way of solving Lisa’s situation. The family is depicted as people lacking in resources and basic knowledge of child rights. They already have enough in their plate, and may not need forced change agents hovering around them. Partnership would involve directly engaging in the family’s activities, understanding deeply their problems, and coming up with a possible solution (DeVita, & Mosher-Williams, 2001). Lisa’s parents seem to be low income earners, as they have to work hard until late in the evening. This signifies lack of adequate economic empowerment.
As a partner, one can chip in by several means. These include provision of economic benefits, educating the family, especially the parents on the needs of and rights of children, empowering Lisa as a woman to enhance her development, and make her be at a better position to stand up for her rights. At the same time, Michael can be advised to be more realistic and lend a hand in the running of the family. Economic empowerment would help Lisa’s family employ a care giver, thus giving her the freedom she so much craves for. Legal advice would make the family heads realize that it is their sole responsibility to take care of the family, and not the children’s. The government can also partner with the family, and lend a hand, by taking the children to special schools where they would not face prejudice and discrimination. Philanthropists can give grants to the family and offer to take responsibility of seeing Lisa through her education. This would give her the opportunity to diversify her potential and feel equal.
Equality and diversity are virtues professed in the religious books, with all human beings being regarded as children of God and the same in all aspects (Deneulin, & Lila, 2009). In addition, the parents are also tasked with the divine responsibility of fending for their children, and a failure to observe this is taken as an aversion and absconding of duty (Keck, & Sikkink, 1998). Lisa’s parents can be reminded of this, and made to realize the bigger picture of their failed responsibility. When other religious group members also lend hands in helping the family, amicable solutions can be arrived at. Children are recognized as innocent creatures before God, conforming to every pressure exerted upon them. They should be given the freedom to participate in life-changing activities, as they are in their active period of learning.
Lisa’s brother, who does not recognize his position in the family, but rather assumes a kingly posture, can be made to understand the values of hard work and compassion as taught in various religious affiliations. A woman is identified as a helper, but not a lesser being or a subordinate of man. They should as well be given equal opportunity to develop their potential without prejudice. As concerns Lisa’s sick sister, she would freely be accepted among her mates provided that correct virtues are inculcated into them.
Equality and diversity are crucial in the daily lives of individuals, and the denial of the same would automatically lead to less participation of an individual, the ability to perform and deliver to the full potential, vertical development, and the right to exercise one’s own decisions and desires. The impact of regulation and risk management are obvious, as manifested in an upright and just society that respects the right of every member, regardless of race, gender, sex, religion, impairment or class.
Lisa’s case, as has been exhaustively discussed above, requires strategies such as empowerment, both economic and gender-based; advocacy in the context of social care, legal approach, political perspective, as well as inclusion; legislative approach which centers on human rights; partnership which would provide a closer relationship between the help provider and Lisa’s family; teaching on culture and behavior change – the benefits of cross-cultural approach to issues and having proper knowledge about the rights and need for equality for each individual are practically insurmountable; religious approach; and promoting self-identity.
List of References
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