In July eRotarian Charlotte Mannion will become the District’s Equality and Diversity Officer. Charlotte is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and is available to give advice on every aspect of the policy and help each club in the District to share good practice.
If a club is unfortunate enough to receive a complaint from either a member against another member or indeed an accusation or complaint from someone outside the organisation Charlotte is able to support the President and, if required, provide access to mediation. So why the role?
Each Rotary year the presidents of every club within the RIBI must sign the Equality and Diversity Policy. What does that really mean?
In simple terms Equality is about making sure everyone is treated fairly and Diversity is about recognising, valuing and taking account of people’s backgrounds, knowledge, skills and experience.
It reflects the ethics that Rotarians abide by through the Four Way Test.
Is it the TRUTH?
Is it FAIR to all concerned?
Does it promote GOOD WILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIP?
Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
By signing up to the Equality and Diversity policy members of Rotary must now strive to demonstrate their commitment to respecting and valuing others. Where once Rotary was made up exclusively of over 40 year old, white males who were senior leaders at their place of work, it is all change in the 21st century. Rotary now welcomes members from every walk of life, age, gender, race and creed who join Rotary for a common purpose – to make a difference in other people’s lives and to share fellowship.
To recognise clubs who can demonstrate their commitment to equality and diversity District1100 has developed a five star Charter Mark. This will be awarded to those clubs who can show they are actively working towards a truly equal and diverse membership club.
There will be lots of ways clubs can earn stars.
Some ideas to consider: For example the club could improve gender, ethnicity and age balance among members by:
• Giving talks to underrepresented groups about opportunities to serve within Rotary
• Improving marketing materials to ensure they reflect a diverse membership
• Changing some of the old practices such a using Christian prayers which may discriminate different faiths or creeds; the wearing of outdated regalia and the use of outdated titles.
• Assist meeting venues in becoming more accessible for those with disabilities including those who are blind or suffering from hearing loss as well as improving access for wheelchair users.
• Build links with schools to promote equality and diversity
• Identify the skills and gifts each member brings to the club and utilise them accordingly.
• Examine meeting practices to ensure they do not discriminate against any of the protected groups under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010
• Discourage the use of so called ‘banter’ which could be perceived as discriminatory, harassment or victimisation.
I am sure you can think of many more