Programme for week commencing 3rd April, today we are asked how Rotary  develops Diversity as a key priority to all it undertakes.

Interesting that whilst belonging to an International organisation, whose object is “the advancement of international understanding, goodwill and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service”, we struggle with understanding that key to our organisation is how we embrace diversity as a core foundation stone of all we do.

The definition of diversity is very much a core principle of our Rotary organisation, diversity refers to the state or fact of being diverse, different or unlike. What diversity means to me is everyone is extraordinary, unique and different and that all of us have talents, gifts, abilities and experiences. Whilst this definition fits with our Rotary ethos, we are bound to observe and adhere to the law of our land, we believe Rotarians naturally would want to be seen to respect and value everyone for the diversity they bring to the organisation.

The Equality Act 2010 increases the number of equality and diversity strands from 6 to 9 and places a duty on public bodies to be pro-active in each area (new “protected characteristics”/strands in bold):-

  • Race
  • Disability
  • Religion/Belief
  • Age
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage and civil partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Sex (male or female)
  • Sexual orientation

So how as Rotarians are we making sure we value, celebrate and embrace the diversity of all our members and for that matter how we develop our projects within diverse communities.

The fundamental principles of Rotary are based on this very concept of accepting people for who they are, what they bring to our work and to celebrate what can be achieved from our talents, experience and skills when joined together in a team to do Service above Self in our communities.

Therefore this raises the questions for the whole of Rotary:

  • how as an organisation do we embrace diversity?
  • how do we ensure our membership development embraces diversity as a key element to our recruitment?
  • how do we develop our work so each individual is valued for the skills, talents and experience they bring to each activity?
  • how do we celebrate our diversity within all we do?

Unlike public bodies who will be bound to work to policies, Rotary as a voluntary organisation should be the leaders and facilitators to ensure that our communities value and celebrate the richness that diversity brings to all who live and work in them.

Finally, does Rotary play this role? Are we an example of good practice and can we help our communities in making diversity a key part of all that is valued?



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