Diversity is a word that is often thrown around these days by people and companies with their own agendas. Most of us use the word diversity when talking about how we want to see more representation of people from all areas and levels of society. We talk about diversity because we have an appetite to see greater representation of the individuals who are not normally offered exposure in the media we consume.
Look at all the popular TV shows, blockbuster movies in the multiplexes and music acts on the Billboard Top 100. Can we truly say that these forms of media are representative of all the different flavours of society that we see everyday? For most of us the answer is no.
Why do we need Diversity?
It is generally accepted that greater exposure for those in society who do not normally get it will mean society at large will be more aware of their lives and situations. Greater awareness of the lives of others who live differently, or have a different perspective on the world, helps society to be more respectful of those who are seen as different.
With more information and understanding comes more respect and value for others. With a better standing and more of a voice in society there will come more opportunity to have their views taken into consideration to make our communities better places with more equality for all.
Isn’t diversity just the latest keyword?
Companies and brands are always keen to jump onto the latest bandwagon. A few years ago it was all about the environment. Diversity, for a lot of companies, is the latest watchword – particularly with the recent interest in transgender issues. You may consider this a cynical viewpoint but it is true that companies often go out of their way, much like politicians do, to align themselves with a particular cause because it will place their brand in a favourable light.
Just look at the car manufacturer Audi which recently ran a Super Bowl advertisement to draw attention to their commitment to women in their workplaces. It’s a nice message but closer scrutiny reveals that only 22% of their workforce is female.
Thinking bigger we can also look at Thinx and the recent controversy surrounding their treatment of their female workforce. Thinx, manufacturer of period underwear, has a marketing strategy in place that depends entirely upon pushing the view that they feel positively about women. After all, nobody’s going to buy women’s products from a company that they know treats women badly. Yet, despite their claims about gender equality in their workforce, it is alleged that Thinx does not treat women with the same degree of flexibility and understanding as it does men. This is clearly a problem for a company that purports to have feminism at its core.
What do you think? Do you think companies take advantage of important events for their own gain?
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