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Labeled and Unlabeled: Diversity and Inclusion: Is One Possible Without the Other?

Updated: Jan 27, 2023

Every person is unique. And that's your greatest strength.

I never fitted in, so I know what being labelled as 'different' feels like. I was always the 'boring or quiet girl' or 'foreign'. Now I am the 'disabled woman'. We all put labels on things, and we are being labelled everywhere we go. It's just how it works. Some of us a more 'boxable' than others but we all bring something to the table. I believe there is good in all of us and that we can all contribute in our own way. But respect and understanding are not always mutual.

I am driven by the desire to empower people with different abilities but It's a journey to find ways to do this. It's a complicated system. And honestly, I don't know where to start but I know I need to learn what's best for myself first. I keep struggling with my energy and other disabled related issues and. positive discrimination. I feel like I have been excluded in many situations because of being a wheelchair-user. Since recently there is more focus on inclusion and diversity in society, I also experience I'm being selected because of having certain characteristics. Being a minority can make you look more 'unique' but at the end of the day you will get a different treatment. Being disabled isn't the best minority group you can be in. But hey, Stay Positive right!?

It's great! Wonderful how people from different backgrounds and genders are being acknowledged and are treated more equal. Now also people with disabilities are getting more rights. It's a great time to live in because there is some progress. I hope the future is even brighter.

Can diversity exist without inclusion?

Last week I had a business-related conversation and the person I had a discussion with said that their company was fully accessible, and that they would never reject someone (client nor colleague) based on having a disability "unless the disability would be disturbing for others". Before having this meeting, I did my research and their website represented pictures of people with different backgrounds, ages, genders, looks. I complimented them on the diversity, and we continued on talking about accessibility. Seemed they took down the picture featuring a wheelchair-user because they did not want to "give visitors the wrong idea". You can imagine how I felt excluded. Even If they didn't directly mean to.

I keep repeating; Accessibility is a mentality.

Breaking the Barriers: How Creating an Inclusive Culture is Key to Achieving True Diversity

Many companies and brands claim to be focussing on diversity but forget that inclusion is the key. I'm the first person with a handicap that got hired at the company I work for now. Diversity is not something a company can be by just hiring one person with a disability or different background or sexual orientation. The organization can become divers and inclusive, by having the experience and understanding what it means. Carrying out a message isn't the same as being.

To conclude; Every person is unique and that is our greatest strength. We need to embrace our uniqueness and be proud of who we are. No matter if we are disabled, of a different culture or gender, we all have something to contribute. We should promote diversity and inclusion, but not by only hiring one person with a different background. It's a process that requires dedication and understanding. Let's be the change so our future will be brighter.

Photo by Tiger

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