Diversity and inclusion: what do they mean and why are they important?
Lately we hear the term diversity and inclusion very often. It's very likely that we've come across these words somewhere on social media, on TV, in the news, in social gatherings. Recently, in fact, these concepts came to the surface in Greece, through the favorite television show of the public Greece's Next Top Model. There, the topic of diversity in the field of fashion was strongly touched upon, what is actually diverse and its difference from "unique". So what exactly does diversity and inclusion mean?
What is it?
The "diversity & inclusion" concept describes a group of people who are different from each other, in terms of their gender, ethnicity, sexuality, body. The word means inclusion in various contexts. These can be, for example, the fashion industry or the workplace. Its goal is, on the one hand, not to isolate minorities. In addition, all people to feel that they are represented.
Diversity in the work environment
Countless studies have shown that a diverse environment gives the best possible results. In the working environment we see, for example, diversity through greater participation of women in leadership positions. Also, there is a general tendency to be more open minded, to overcome religious prejudices, to respect the cultural differences of the workers.
McKinsey's “Diversity Matters” study showed that gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to outperform the competition. Also, ethnic diversity makes it 35% more likely to achieve the same goal. In another study, Fortune 500 companies that have a greater representation of women on the board of directors achieve significantly higher financial results.
And this makes absolute sense. Everyone's experiences greatly influence the way they see a problem and the solution they propose. The more diverse the individuals, the more solutions are suggested. The more ideas come up. Conversely, a uniform workforce leads to the same or similar solutions.
Diversity in the fashion & beauty industry
In recent years, we have seen big changes in the fashion and beauty industry as well. Until 2010 we used to see very specific and similar standards of beauty. Tall, thin girls, with shapely legs, strong cheekbones, cat eyes, "perfect proportions", all like Victoria's Secret angels. Now, that has changed. The images we see are very different. Now, all women can "see" themselves somewhere. The real, the "imperfect", the authentic, the girl-next-door is starting to become the new norm. Photoshop is eliminating. More and more companies in campaigns are using women with whom the public can identify.
Diversity & inclusion in beauty are very important so that no woman feels neglected. Every woman has the right to feel represented. Seeing another woman in a magazine or an advertisement, and identifying with her, feeling her close to her.
Diverse vs. Unique
The GNTM jury recently split on what diverse really means in fashion.
"It is one thing diverse and one thing unique. Diverse means representation. Diversity is having all genders, all sexual preferences, all heights, weights, nationalities, everything. It's not just being overweight or short. Diversity in fashion is to be a model and those who sit at home and see you, to say "I see myself. I feel that I am represented" said Sofia Hatzipanteli to GNTM and we totally agree with her.