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, including everyone involved is therefore an essential part of our work.
Our aim is to mainstream equality, diversity and inclusion. That means taking diversity into account as we develop and deliver processes and functions, considering it as part of policy decisions and building it into the planning of programmes and projects.
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.
Greater inclusion is an important diversity outcome. To achieve this we intend to improve the involvement and representation of women in senior positions, and in some instances of men generally, as well as minority ethnic and disabled people, both in our workforce and activities. We will also nurture an organisational culture where people working and engaging with us feel respected and comfortable being themselves, free from unjustified discrimination.
Our equality, diversity and inclusion initiatives in Poland
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.