“We must not only learn to tolerate our differences. We must welcome them as the richness and diversity which can lead to true intelligence.”
Embracing, including and respecting are the three things that almost every individual expects and deserves in life. The Oxford Dictionary defines diversity as “having a great deal of variety”. Looking further, we find diversity in various contexts—politics, ethnicity, nature, language, gender, race, skin colour, physical and mental challenges, etc. I believe diversity means accepting and respecting each other’s differences.
June is considered to be the pride month every year, commemorating the Stonewall Uprising of 1969. This year marks the 52nd anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, widely considered to be the start of the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement in the U.S. The month marks the celebration of love, acceptance and being proud of who we are. Acceptance of diversity and spreading awareness about inclusion is a year-long, life-long activity and cannot be encapsulated within only one month, but still almost whole of the world celebrates this month to show their support for each other and to shower the support for eliminating the discrimination shown to the sexual minorities. We need people to question stereotypes and prejudices and go beyond the thought of discrimination to attain inclusivity in the sphere rhetorically.
India is still a developing country, but it has achieved wonders in embracing diversity technically. The path-breaking amendment to article 377, on September 6th, 2018, decriminalizing homosexuality has created a benchmark in our country. After the partial quashing of the article, many organizations have planned and implemented diversity and inclusion in practice. Like, special drive to recruit LGBTQ+ people, medical leaves for sex reconstruction surgery, giving paternity/maternity leave benefits for the adoption of children and insurance benefits to partners are some of the many initiatives taken up.
IIM Kashipur is trying to catch up with the developments and trying to adapt to the social and legal changes. It has set the benchmark to be one of the pioneer institutes for introducing the Diversity and Inclusion Club, which aims to embrace the diversity and inclusion of gender, sexual orientation, and physical disabilities. Besides, the club aspires to build a society represented by a community of informed, empowered and committed individuals who would be aware to acknowledge the diversity of any kind. In the two-year programme of MBA, to render the best of the knowledge and extensive social, legal and academic understanding, IIM Kashipur has also introduced the ‘Diversity and Inclusion’(D&I) course as a prime subject. Apart from the D&I course, courses like Organizational Behaviour focusses on how our society needs improvement in terms of practical embracement of diversity, it is done by sharing real-life stories, videos of talk shows by LGBTQ+ speakers and guest lectures from the industry. IIM Kashipur also focused on D&I as the theme of the TEDx Talk in the year 2019, where various speakers across the country joined to share their thoughts and experiences. IIM Kashipur has always thrived on offering inclusivity. With the help of our students and the Diversity and Inclusion Club, we will join hands to offer support to many oppressed individuals still seeking their rights to choose their sexuality.
Changes don’t turn out to be magical in just a single day or a single month. It is about showing up for the community every day – all year round!
About the Author:
Dr. Devjani Chatterjee is currently the Chairperson, Student Affairs at IIM Kashipur. She holds a PHD in the Organizational Behavior area from Industrial and Management Engineering Department of IIT Kanpur and is Assistant Professor, Organizational Behavior & Human Resource at IIM Kashipur. Dr. Chatterjee has many international journal publications, books and book chapters to credit and also presented papers in reputed national and international conferences across the world. She worked as a faculty in the OB area in IMI Kolkata before joining IIM Kashipur. She serves as a reviewer of many international journals of reputed publication houses and is also the Editor of the journal “Journal of Open Innovation Technology, Market & Complexity”, a Springer publication. She held many administrative posts like Library Chairperson, Research Committee Member, Seminar Co-ordinator, FM Convenor, HR Club Mentor and others at IMI Kolkata. She is the vice president of the prestigious Society of Open Innovation Technology, Market & Complexity.