The British Council creates international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and builds trust between them worldwide. Our work involves developing relationships with people from a wide range of backgrounds and cultures. Working effectively with diversity and promoting equality of opportunity is therefore an essential part of our work.
There is no equality of opportunity if diversity is not recognised and valued. Find out about the difference between equal opportunity and diversity, and the seven areas we focus on.
Equality of opportunity is about treating people fairly and without bias and about creating conditions in the workplace and wider society that encourage and value diversity and promote dignity. It is also about trying to redress past imbalances and ensuring that dealings with clients, customers and suppliers are conducted in a constructive way that supports appropriate inclusion and does not give rise to unjustified discrimination.
Diversity is concerned with creating an inclusive environment and practices which benefit the organisation and those who work in and with it. It takes account of the fact that people differ from one another in many ways. Understanding, valuing and effectively managing these differences can result in greater participation that can be leveraged for success at an individual, team and organisational level.
When we talk about equal opportunity and diversity, we focus on seven main areas:
- gender (which includes transgender)
- religion/belief and culture
- sexual orientation
- work-life balance.
We have developed a number of policies to promote equality and diversity and we use a range of tools to monitor and evaluate our progress in mainstreaming these. We believe the best way to manage equal opportunity and diversity is to ensure that they are built into all processes and functions, considered part of all policy decisions, and present in the planning of all programmes from start to finish. This is what we mean by mainstreaming equality and diversity principles and practices.
Our equal opportunity and diversity initiatives
In addition to implementing formal policies, we also try to ensure that our commitment to equal opportunity and diversity is reflected in our events and activities. Here are some examples of initiatives that have a strong diversity theme and/or successfully demonstrate our commitment to this important aspect of our work.