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Violence Against Women – Review of Prevention Training Programs

In an effort to reduce the level of abuse that these women have to deal with educational programs have been implemented to refocus society’s pattern of thinking so that women can be viewed as a more valuable asset. Here are several online training programs that have proven effective in helping communities to reach their goals.

Violence Against Women – Review of Effective Training Programs

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Every year millions of women and young girls from around the globe are forced to live every day under the ever-present threat of violence. Statistics show that one out of every three women will have to at some point in their lives cope with either some sort of physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. The impact of these assaults, not only affect the women victims but all of society as a whole. In an effort to reduce the level of abuse that these women have to deal with educational programs have been implemented to refocus society’s pattern of thinking so that women can be viewed as a more valuable asset. There are many different topics that can be covered in these programs. Here are several online training programs that have proven effective in helping communities to reach their goals.

The Online Training Institute

http://olti.evawintl.org/images/courses/Brochure/OLTI-eFile.pdf

The Online Training Institute program provides CEUs for professionals who are responsible for investigating sexual assault cases. The program focuses on keeping them abreast of the latest developments in regards to sexual assault. They apply extra emphasis on how to handle cases involving adult and adolescent victims who know their attackers. It addresses the unique issues such as community attitudes and biases that often interfere with the investigation process and how to overcome them. Courses offered in this program include “What Does Sexual Assault Really Look Like?”, “Preliminary Investigation: Guidelines for First Responders”, and “Effective Victim Advocacy in the Criminal Justice System: A Training Course for Victim Advocates.”

Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs

http://learn.wcsap.org

The WCSAP sponsors several online courses that cover a variety of topics that address the issues of violence against women. They offer several recorded webinars and online training courses that talk the student through a variety of issues dealing with violence against women and how victims, advocates, and others involved should deal with them. They keep everyone concerned up to date on the latest topics that deal with sexual assault as well as provide direct links to other National Resources that deal with such topics as “Understanding Sexual Violence”, “Working With Survivors”, Preventing Sexual Violence”, and “Addressing Public Policy.”

VAWnet.org

VAWnet.org

The National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women online training has virtually everything anyone might need to know about violence against women. They cover topics on domestic violence, sexual violence, transitional housing, survivors of domestic violence, building healthy teen relationships, parental issues, foster care, addressing discriminatory housing barriers for victims of domestic violence, and addressing domestic and sexual violence, substance use and mental health issues. Each program tool is designed to raise awareness, increase or enhance each individual’s knowledge base so that they are better equipped to deal with this type of crime.

UNODC

Training_Curriculum_on_Effective_Police_Responses_to_Violence_against_Women [PDF]

The United Nations’ training curriculum is specifically designed to enhance the knowledge of the local and national police so they are better equipped to respond to reports of violence against women in intimate relationships. The online training lessons include effective measures of preventing violence, how to respond and investigate reports, and how to best utilize the available resources in order to meet the needs of victims during and after an incident.

Center for Disease Control

Training_Practice_Guidelines [pdf]

The CDCs Professional Training program concentrates on training techniques on how to deal effectively with the complexities involving sexual and intimate partner violence issues. Their comprehensive programs encompass many different people and groups that may have to address these issues and teaching multiple approaches on how to address these complicated situations. Some of the courses included in the program include: “Definitions of Sexual Violence and Intimate Partner Violence”, “Identifying the Needs or Problems to be Addressed”, and “Workplace Policies and Practices.” These programs can be tailored to address specific concerns in a community and the instructors are free to adjust the program accordingly.

The problem of violence against women has been around for centuries and will not be overcome without taking a proactive approach to redirect people’s thinking and attitudes towards women. These online training courses can be very effective tools at reaching people who may not be able to get this information otherwise. Considering the fact that as of 2014 1/3 of the world’s population now has access to the Internet, an online means of education is the most available.

Note: Image source hannes.a.schwetz

Campus Save Act of 2013 - Five Things You Should Know About It

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Five Things You Should Know About Violence Against Women Act of 2013 and Campus Save Act of 2013

On November 25th of each year a little known date is recognized by only a few the world over.  “The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.”  This day instituted by the General Assembly of the United Nations was started in 1999 in hopes of raising public awareness of the countless women who have been attacked, assaulted, or coerced into actions against their will.

The prejudices that are launched against many women are deeply rooted practices that go back thousands of years and will take much more than a special day to change. Add to this the fact that this historical plague against women most often on college campuses and you’ll soon realize that violence against women on school campuses is an assault on our nation’s future.

Still, efforts to make such changes are being made and a modicum of success has been seen.  One of those efforts has been with the passing of the Violence Against Women Act of 2013 and the Campus Save Act both of which have been designed to slow the tide of violence against women.  While both of these documents are very encouraging steps forward in our fight against violence against women there are some things that everyone should know about them.

1. Student Training Programs

According to the 2013 Violence Against Women Act and the Campus Save Act all students will be required to attend a comprehensive “primary prevention and awareness” program where they will be clearly educated on what offenses like rape, acquaintance rape, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking entail and the school’s position on prohibiting these behaviors.

 2. New Student Discipline Requirements

The VAWA Act of 2013 also must detail the proper procedures victims should follow to preserve evidence of an assault and where the assault should be reported.  The compliance should also explain clearly the victim’s rights in these cases.

 3. Standards of Investigation

Another requirement of the VAWA Act of 2013 must also address the proper standards of investigation and conduct of student discipline proceedings in cases of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking cases.

 4. New Reporting Requirements

 The 2013 Violence Against Women Act also has new reporting requirements that every college campus must meet.  In the past, reporting of these types of assaults was also very inconsistent.  There was a lack of clarity of definition that that made those reporting campus statistics unsure.  With clear definitions listed in the VAWA Act of 2013 reporting now is clear.

In addition to the annual reporting of crimes of “forcible and non-forcible sex offenses and aggravated assaults” campuses are also required to report cases of domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking as well.

 5. The New Law Is More Inclusive

The previous violence against women act of 1994 not all women were included.  Native American women and LGBT survivor complaints were not always respected.  With the passing of this new reauthorization of the law these critical gaps have now been closed.  Today, all women who are victims of violence can get the protection that they need.

According to a December 2000 report entitled “The Sexual Victimization of College Women” published by the National Institute of Justice, a college with 10,000 students could experience as many as 350 rapes per year.  That fact along with other acts of violence against women is the very reason why the new Violence Against Women Act of 2013 is so important to the future of our women and society as a whole.

 

[Image source: STOP VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN EVERYWHERE Speak Out Rally at Columbia Heights Plaza on 14th between Kenyon Street and Park Road, NW, Washington DC on Saturday afternoon, 9 March 2013 by Elvert Barnes PROTEST PHOTOGRAPHY]

Case Study - University of Connecticut

UConn Case Study LogoSelf Awareness Based Online Course enables UConn students to engage in deeper dialogue about identity and inclusion

My students were able to have a richer class discussion about various aspects of identity, stereotypes, privilege and communication.  Spending time on these topics independently gave them an opportunity to critically reflect and respond to the questions posed to them in the course.  As a result it allowed them to reflect on their attitudes and behavior..

 

Angela Rola.

Deployment: Blended Learning

Instructional Need: Enhance student learning through focused classroom dialogue by having participants learn fundamentals and engage in self-reflection before they come to class.

…I learned a lot about myself and the type of person I am. It makes me realize some flaws I possibly have as well.

 

UConn Student

Learning Path: UConn selected following modules as their custom learning path

  1. Identity
  2. Bias & Stereotypes
  3. Privilege & Oppression
  4. Intercultural Communication

Benefits

  • Measured changes in attitudes and beliefs
  • Convenient deployment of online course to students

Results

  • 97% of students indicated that that “After completing the Get Inclusive curriculum, I realize that there are things I can do to help reduce discrimination” (Agree of Strongly Agree)
  • 92% of students indicated that they “have a better understanding of the terms bias, stereotype, prejudice and discrimination than before completing the Get Inclusive curriculum

Case Study

The UConn Asian American Cultural Center was looking for a novel way to enhance student learning with an easy to use instrument that would not disrupt the existing curriculum.  They required ease of integration into their current learning path without requiring any technical overhead.

The Get Inclusive curriculum team collaborated with Angela Rola to tailor the module content to the specific needs of her classroom.  Deployment was as simple as giving her students a URL and a signup code to self-enroll.  The Get Inclusive course guided students through four modules allowing them to access prior knowledge and experiences through self-awareness focused work while keeping their comments and submissions anonymous.

As a diversity trainer myself, I have had many diversity and inclusion curricula proposed to me over the years. This was head and shoulders above the rest.

 

Angela Rola

Get Inclusive also provided enrollment reports detailing student progress through the learning path.  This ensured that students came to class having done the preparation to engage with each other in a dialogue that went beyond the basics.

About Angela @Uconn

Angela Rola is the founding Director (1993-present) of the Asian American Cultural Center at the University of Connecticut, Storrs campus.

  • “One Woman Makes A Difference” Award by the CT Women’s Education & Legal Fund (2010)
  • UConn Outstanding Student Advisement and Advocacy Award (2007)
  • SNEHA, Inc. Award for Leadership in the Community (2004)
  • Higher Education Multicultural Faculty of the Year, 7th Annual CT Conference on Multicultural Education (2002)

Online Diversity and Inclusion Training - Get Inclusive Story

Getinclusive_Logo_StoryThe story of Get Inclusive is a story of spontaneity - a simple idea landing on the fertile imaginations of a few individuals.  There was no business plan, no grand vision or a carefully crafted strategy on what we were doing. Our narrative to-date has been heavily inspired by encouragement of many individuals who are not in the "about us" page on our website.  While we now have a clearer idea of what we are trying to do, our story is still constantly shaped by our experiences and people we interact with.  We have been very fortunate to get endorsements and support from individuals who have opened up their organizations to us and piloted our service.  It's been this faith by our supporters that has continued to fuel our progress.

An Elevator Conversation turns into a Collaboration

In early 2011, while sharing an elevator ride with my neighbor in New York, we started  random pleasantries which turned into a conversation about the work she had done with Scott and Diane in developing a race morphing kiosk - a booth that allows a user to take a photo of themselves and see it morphed into other races. Shortly after being introduced to Scott and Diane, we formalized our working relationship and started developing the next iteration of the Race Morphing Kiosk - "The Race Experience."  Within a year of its launch, the new and improved kiosk was rented by over 50 colleges and universities as a centerpiece of campus diversity and inclusion programming.

Constraints Inspire Curiosity

Many of our Kiosk customers wanted us to introduce more educational elements in the Kiosk experience.  There is, however, a major contradiction in this simple request - a Kiosk, by design, is created to have as many users go through the experience as quickly as possible and  in most instances, not more than 3 minutes per user.  While an educational experience would need at least an hour.  We quickly realized that Kiosk was not the right medium for educational content.  This customer inspired curiosity led us to ask two broader questions:

  1. What options are there for online education in diversity and inclusion?
  2. How do the organizations measure if this training is actually making any difference?

We spoke to several customers and researched available options.  The answer became very clear... and once again... customers were right.  They were asking for something that didn't exist in the way they were envisioning it.  There were a few online offerings with the obligatory videos and images of multi-racial team-members striking a "we are diverse" pose but almost none of the online or offline training had measurement of impact at the core.  We saw an opportunity there, to envision a better approach that combines the best of research in online education, technology and convenience.

Online Diversity and Inclusion Training... from Scratch

Compliance? NOT! We started with a broader definition of diversity and inclusion and quickly eliminated compliance as a potential focus area.  While there is a strong existing demand from institutions who, under the fear of potential lawsuits, would be willing purchasers of a compliance specific product, it didn't feel like the right approach as it did not seem to be addressing the underlying gaps in the foundational concepts of identity, privilege, implicit biases, stereotypes etc.  Furthermore, a Harvard/Berkeley/U Minnesota study which analyzed 800+ organizations concluded that:

In firms where training is mandatory or emphasizes the threat of lawsuits, training actually has negative effects on management diversity.

This made sense, if the announcement is made to people in your organization that persons with XYZ attribute are a liability risk and need to be "handled with care" then one should expect to see (overtly or subconsciously) less of persons with that attribute.  While our decision to stay away from compliance focused product may not be commercially "sound", we are experimenting with a new approach and the results from 150+ participants who have taken the course has been very encouraging.

Measurement - Online medium is far from ideal and like any instructional medium it has its downside, e.g. it cannot even come close to matching the immersive first-hand experience of living in a new environment.  But the online medium can supplement existing efforts and even create additional benefits.  For instance, it is very easy to:

  1. Measure improvement in awareness and knowledge
  2. Track these improvements over time across various cohorts in your organization
  3. Compare impact in your organization to that of your peer organizations
  4. Have access to data to make more informed decisions about diversity initiatives in an organization

Journaling and Self-Reflection - Benefits of journaling and self-reflection have been thoroughly researched and verified by several clinical research studies.  Journaling helps formulate thoughts about concepts one may not have committed to "paper" before, and it also helps to commit to new behaviors and beliefs.  We saw an online course as the ideal platform to incorporate journaling as a key part of the learning process.  And better yet - making it 100% anonymous encouraging a safe space for participants to think out loud and benefit from the power of journaling as they self-reflect.  Kim's experience in designing diversity and inclusion curricula was instrumental in developing a curriculum that takes participants through series of lessons and activities with journaling as a key component of learning experience.

Customizable curriculum and Easy to Deploy - We don't claim to have a magic-pill training course that will change the hearts and mind of whoever takes it.  Diversity and inclusion is a process and we want to be one of several initiatives that an organization undertakes to enable a larger strategy which includes mentoring, personal coaching, and employee workshops/activities.  We seek to make inclusion training accessible and customizable for organizations, so that any new member who comes on-board, be it a freshman at a college or a high-school or a new employee, has exposure to foundational concepts about inclusion.  Our intention is to be at the forefront of this journey.

Pilots

We have created the custom platform to host the diversity and inclusion online curriculum and are currently in the pilot phase.  We have conducted pilots with an independent high school, colleges, non-profit and commercial organizations.  We look at the attitudes and belief data meticulously in order to measure impact and the results have been very encouraging.  We are seeing 40%+ improvements in the understanding of privilege, which we believe is the cornerstone of any discussion about diversity and inclusion. Similarly, we are seeing significant improvements in the awareness of stereotypes, identity and other measures that are key to what we evaluate as participants take the course.

Plan

Our plan is to become the leading provider of foundational training that promotes inclusion.  We want to do it in a convenient, effective and measurable way.  Early results form our pilots have been very encouraging and we plan to continue our outreach to for-profit, non-profit and academic institutions who want to go beyond compliance and join us in changing hearts and minds.

Diversity impact measurement - 5 Tips to Do it Better

Diversity impact measurement Diversity impact measurement should be the first thing an organization examines before  spending time and energy to implement new programs or deciding which  existing programs to keep.  This  is easier said than done.  The majority of the organizations we have analyzed struggle with diversity impact measurement.  Here are five tips which will help improve diversity impact measurement efforts.

1. Diversity impact measurement requires relevant metrics tied to purpose

The key to diversity impact measurement is to understand what drives an organization.  Diversity and inclusion initiatives need to share how they will impact the organization's purpose.  Without this clear link, the measurement may be something that doesn't impact the organizations bottom-line.

For Educational institutions the view may be split into: 1) Student life, and 2) Administration.  For student life, you may define organizationally relevant metrics to be:

  1. Lower adverse incidence rate on campus awareness
  2. Better prepared graduates who have a high degree of cultural competence and readiness to enter global careers.

For the business or  administrative side of an educational institution, you may consider employee morale and turnover to be the key metrics. Regardless of which metrics are chosen, make sure that they are tied to your organizations bottom-line.  Having irrelevant metrics distract from engaging in high ROI diversity and inclusion activities.

2. Capture data  and consider benchmarking against prior years, and where possible, against peers

If there is anything better than cold hard data - its lots of cold hard data!  Diversity impact assessment will require discipline to capture data periodically.  If a set of relevant metrics is not defined as in 1  above, focus will be on the wrong measures, so make sure the right metrics are defined and get buy-in at all levels in the organization.

Capturing data over time allows an overview of where the organization is on the "evolutionary scale" of diversity.  There is a big difference between sending out an internal email to observe and celebrate the MLK day vs. having a LGBT targeted recruiting effort which gets twice as many resumes from highly qualified prospects which allows you to attract better talent vs. your competition.  Diversity Inc has a valuable methodology to benchmark your organization on a scale ranging from "celebration"-focused to "competition"-focused.

3. Diversity impact measurement must be "Personal"

While the impact of a well executed diversity and inclusion strategy is organizational, the effort is still very personal and the insights also tend to be at a personal level.  Cisco Systems is an exceptional example of how a very large global organization can get down to the personal level to gather the data.  Below is a list of items Cisco captures from its employees (source: Cisco - Proving the ROI of Global Diversity and Inclusion Efforts)

  • My team has a climate in which diverse perspectives are valued.
  • At Cisco, employees can voice their opinions without fear of retribution.
  • At Cisco, people are rewarded according to their job performance and accomplishments.
  • At Cisco, employees are treated with respect, regardless of their job or level.
  • I know how to address disrespectful and/or intolerant behavior.
  • I can succeed at Cisco without sacrificing aspects of my personality or culture.
  • My manager ensures fair treatment for everyone on my team.
  • Senior leadership emphasizes the value of a diverse workforce.

4. Diversity impact measurement should cover all functional areas in the organization

While this point may be obvious, many organizations, especially where there is a clear functional divide (e.g. Learning and Development vs. HR, Student life vs. Administration), tend to get fragmented in their efforts and it becomes tempting to focus on the functional area impact.  This leads to some initiatives slipping through the cracks.  If the disparate functions have a reason to live within an organization, then the diversity and inclusion effort and impact measurement should also be tied to overall goals of that organization.  Silo mindset may simplify things in the short run, but defeats the purpose in the longer run as best practices and costs remain trapped in functional silos.  Make sure to keep going broad.

5. Be Bold and Share your Diversity Impact Measurement Results

Sharing diversity impact measurement results can serve two important purposes:

  1. It demonstrates an organizational commitment to the D&I strategy ensuring that it is not considered the flavor of the year
  2. It commits  constituents to transparency and momentum that will further improve what matters to an organization.  Measurement is not an end; it is a key step in a self-reinforcing cycle of improvement.

 

History of cultural and racial diversity in corporations in the United States

charise

By: Charise Richards

            In the year 2013, cultural and racial diversity appear to be more of an expectation in the work environment of corporations than it was in the 1950’s and 60’s when racial tension in the United States was erupting into a new era of equality. Although there are still obvious challenges and barriers that prevent a more evenly represented and diverse workforce, it is clear that as a nation, we have are learning the difference between proposing change in corporations and actually enforcing legal measures to allow the vision to come to pass. Now looking forward, there are new debates regarding the origins of diversity initiatives. In particular, one argument suggests that the programs for equality were the government’s response to combat racial segregation during the time of Jim Crow laws in the United States. Another contrasting opinion hints that the diversity plans began because companies were compelled to embrace the variety of their consumers and surrounding population in their business locations in order to prosper. This essay will explain both push factors of government legislation and corporate policies that led to racial diversity in the labor force.

Before we begin, let’s review the differences between two terms that are often misused interchangeably in the discussion about creating more racial diversity in the corporate environment. The first term is affirmative action. The American Civil Liberties Union defines affirmative action “as any measure, beyond simple termination of a discriminatory practice, that permits the consideration of race, national origin, sex, or disability, along with other criteria, and which is adopted to provide opportunities to a class of qualified individuals who have either historically or actually been denied those opportunities and/or to prevent the recurrence of discrimination in the future.” Affirmative Action was used in various legislative orders following the Civil Rights Movement to propel corporations to have a more inclusive work force. The second term is “diversity initiative”. It is defined as “an organizations strategic response to diversity. The initiative looks at the internal and external needs of the organization in the area of diversity and responds with a strategically aligned approach (Washington State Human Resources Department)”.  Based on the definitions, affirmative action refers to practices that create opportunity for a more inclusive environment that would otherwise not exist without the effort of including historically marginalized groups. On the other hand, the purpose of diversity initiatives is to create easily measurable business strategies that when implanted could improve the inclusive nature and culture of an organization.

Now that we understand the background and significance of the two terms let’s move on to assessing the different government initiatives taken in the past to address racial inequality in the work force. There were countless programs that were proposed in the past, but for the sake of this essay I will speak to four specific action plans that were taken by government officials in the 1940’s and 1960’s. In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an executive order 8802 that was intended to prevent employment discrimination from private employers with government defense contracts (EEOC.gov). Though this executive order contained no enforcement authority many consider it to be one of the government’s first approaches to racial inclusivity in the labor force. It was noteworthy that the government had acknowledged the injustice from certain corporations that would inhibit people of color from work especially during a time when the country needed as many workers as possible to contribute to the war efforts.

The next attempt by a leader was in 1948 when President Truman issued an executive order 9981 to desegregate the Armed Force. The order mandated that there be “equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion, or national origin (EEOC.gov).” Yet, similar to the earlier executive order there was no real action plan to ensure that the plan was carried out in the defense program and thus, the country’s military troops were not integrated until four years later in 1952 when the Korean War began.

However, in 1961, President Kennedy’s executive order 10925 set the tone for the importance of enforcing racial equality initiatives by government officials. The order was the first time that the government discussed the repercussions of corporations not cooperating with the legislation. There were two parts to the order. First, it “prohibited federal government contractors from discriminating on the account of race”. Second, the order established the President’s Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity (EEOC.gov). Unlike other presidential directives President Kennedy granted the committee the authority to impose sanctions for any violations of the order. He believed that the committee which he also referred to as his “enforcement authority” was a sign that job discrimination in the United States would permanently come to an end.

Three years later in 1964, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives passed a new bill and President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the bill into law. It was entitled the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited discrimination in a wide variety of ways including public accommodations, governmental services and education. Title VII of the Act concentrated on the employment aspect of discrimination. Title VII prohibited discrimination in recruitment, hiring, wages, assignment, promotions, benefits, discipline, discharge, and layoffs. Furthermore, it forbids employment prejudice based on race, sex, color, religion, and national origin (EEOC.gov). All private employers, labor unions, labor management committees and employment agencies were considered a part of the practice. Lastly, Title VII created the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The task of the EEOC was to eliminate illegal employment discrimination. Similar to President Kennedy’s Committee, the EEOC had the authority penalize employers who did not oblige with the Civil Rights Act especially the specifications made in Title VII of the bill.

In the years to come, the EEOC became the symbol of prohibition in unauthorized employment discrimination particularly in regards to racial favoritism or intolerance. From the 1970’s to 2000 the commission experienced various stages of its expansion and ability to enforce the law. The three different stages are referred to as the era of enforcement, reassessment and revision of its authority (EEOC.gov). As with any group, the commission learned how to improve its efficiency with a variety of experiences dealing with corporations and individuals over the years and thus with each era it adjusted to its needs in order to be more effective with reducing the amount of racial prejudice in the labor force.

Moreover, other than federal influence some argue that there were corporations with early signs of racial diversity in their work place. Specifically, Ford Motor Company credits itself to be one of the earliest companies to have a diverse workforce that was representative of the communities in which it did its business. They reference the fact that in 1913, Henry Ford offered to pay $5 a day to attract thousands of immigrants and African Americans to his business. The wage was twice the amount of the typical daily wage at the time period so it was very attractive to different racial groups wanting to enter into the middle class (corporate.ford.com).

In the end, there have been federal and private corporation initiatives to increase racial diversity in the work force. Presently, with globalization and constant changes in the global market some scholars say that diversity in the work field is inevitable for a company’s survival. Contemporary government and corporate programs are now more inclusive of other aspects of diversity including sexual orientation and disabilities. Yet, it is clear that considering the history of the United States, racial diversity has the longest record of government and corporate focus. Also, with the influx and constant predictions of the impacts of immigration, having a sensitive and respectful culture for racial diversity in the work place will become more essential to the advancement and productivity of corporations.

Bibliography

  1. "What Is a Diversity Initiative?" What Is a Diversity Initiative? Washington State Human Resources, 2012. Web. 24 June 2013.
  2. "Our History of Diversity and Inclusion Ford's History of Diversity and Inclusion in the Workforce - Ford." Ford Diversity. Corporate.ford.com, 2013. Web. 24 June 2013.
  3. MacLean, Nancy. "The Civil Rights Movement: 1968-2008, Freedom's Story, TeacherServe®, National Humanities Center." National Humanities Center.org. National Humanities Center.org, May 2010. Web. 24 June 2013.
  4. "The Law." EEOC.GOV. EEOC.GOV, Web. 24 June 2013.
  5. Burns, Crosby, Kimberly Barton, and Sophia Kerby. "The State of Diversity in Today's Workforce." Center for American Progress. Center for American Progress, 12 July 2012. Web. 11 Sept. 2013
  6. Austin, Bridgette. "Importance of Diversity in Marketing." Small Business. Small Business, 2013. Web. 24 June 2013.
  7. Aclu.org. American Civil Liberties Union, 1995. Web. 24 June 2013.

Definition of Diversity and the Use of Diversity Curriculum - Debunking the Myth

A question and exclamation mark of jigsaw puzzle pieces  

  1. For many people, the definition of diversity insinuates a problem. In reality, diversity is an opportunity for people to learn what they do not know about people who are different from them. Diversity strengthens classroom communities and the workforce. It is important to remember that the need for diversity training does not indicate that there is a problem with an organization.
  2. The definition of diversity includes more than just ethnic and racial issues. While ethnic and racial concerns are a large part of what a diversity curriculum might focus on, gender, sexuality, language and socioeconomic diversity also are important.
  3. Some teachers and employers feel that using a diversity curriculum is not their responsibility and is something that should be taught by parents or discussed in the home. However, teachers and employers play a significant role in ensuring that diversity is embraced in their communities. Otherwise, the resulting misunderstandings can jeopardize a harmonious atmosphere.
  4. Louise Derman-Sparks uses the phrase “tourist-multiculturalism” to describe incorporating a diversity curriculum that simply addresses culture. This approach to a curriculum is dictated by holidays or specific times of year such as Martin Luther King Day or Black History month. As Maya Angelou has remarked, we need to reach a point when Black History Month is no longer necessary because all Americans are a part of our education. “Tourist-multiculturalism” can trivialize a diversity curriculum by avoiding the true picture of the everyday life of people from different groups.
  5. Some people argue that we do not need diversity curriculum in schools and the workplace because America already acknowledges its cultural diversity. However, there are still many misinterpretations that lead to misunderstandings rooted in our differences. A strong diversity curriculum includes and values everyone’s voice.
  6. Many people feel the definition of diversity only covers race and gender. However, diversity is much broader than what many people typically perceive and includes disabilities, sexuality, class, language, etc.
  7. The definition of diversity is also sometimes mistakenly associated with exclusion. It is not about punishing one group or praising another. Understanding diversity through the use of an effective diversity curriculum is about creating a cohesive environment where students or employees can work more effectively and collaboratively.
  8. There is still confusion between the definitions of diversity and affirmative action. In actuality, the two are quite different. The biggest differences are that diversity is voluntary and opportunity focused while affirmative action is government initiated and problem focused.
  9. Sometimes it is assumed that it is counter-productive to incorporate a diversity curriculum into schools or the work environment. It is thought that focusing on differences might cause misunderstanding, but they key to remember is that diversity training should focus on the strengths in our differences and how those differences make us a stronger community.

Adapted from: Workforce America! By Marilyn Loden and Judy B. Rosene