The language surrounding our work in the areas of equality and diversity has evolved, and will continue to do so. Hopefully this information will help you to understand what we mean when we use certain terms:
All different, All equal – this phrase is often used to indicate the twinning of equality and diversity, the two terms coming together in a positive ideal to make life better for people, whoever they are, and challenging prejudice, whatever the reasoning.
Discrimination – treating someone unfairly. Use of the term here refers to unfair treatment as a result of prejudice. Discrimination can be direct, in that it is a clear demonstration of unfair treatment. Or it can be indirect, in that it is more subtle, usually a selection of instances that treat unfairly as a by-product of some other intention.
Diversity: The differences in the values, attitudes, cultural perspectives, beliefs, ethnic backgrounds, sexuality, skills, knowledge and life experiences of each individual in any group of people. This term refers to differences between people and is used to highlight individual need. This term is about all of the different things that make up our local community: people, practices, activities, understandings, backgrounds, and more. South Essex Homes celebrates the diversity of our community as we recognise that difference is good, from the basic, no two people are the same, to the welcoming of people and cultures, foods and pastimes from around the globe.
Ethnicity: An individual’s identification with a group sharing any or all of the following: nationality, lifestyles, religion, customs and language.
Equalities: A short hand term to refer to all work addressing issues of discrimination and disadvantage, particularly as it relates to race, disability, gender, sexuality, faith and age.
Equality: The vision of a society (or aspects of society) where all individuals have fair and equal chances to develop their full potential in all aspects of life and where barriers of discrimination and oppression have been removed. This term has become an umbrella for much of the work being done to ensure everyone is treated equally when accessing services provided by South Essex Homes or as employees. It is not about wanting everyone to be the same, we must recognise difference in individuals, however, it is about trying to make sure people have equal opportunity in their dealings with South Essex Homes.
Equality Standard: The Standard is a five-level national framework for measuring how well public authorities are in delivering equality in employment and service delivery.
Equal opportunities: The development of practices that promote the possibility of all people starting out in life from a level playing field. All should have equal opportunities in life, regardless of where they were born or who their parents were.
Mainstreaming: The phrase is used to describe the integration of equalities into policy development, implementation, evaluation and review. Each part of the organisation accepts its own responsibility for promoting equality of opportunity and challenging discrimination.
Prejudice – an opinion or belief that isn’t based on facts, so it is an irrational belief. Prejudice can exist about anything or, more relevant here, anyone. If acted upon, prejudice becomes discrimination. It can manifest itself in many ways including bigotry, distrust or dislike, and bias.
Sexuality: Sexuality is a person’s emotional, physical and/or sexual attraction, and the expression of that attraction. It is not a choice that people make. Sexuality is something that people are born with. Sexuality refers to both gay and straight, or homosexual and heterosexual people.
Social Model of Disability: The social model of disability makes the important distinction between “impairment” and “disability”. It holds that disability is a social phenomenon, and while many individuals have physical or sensory impairments or learning difficulties or are living with mental health needs, it is the way society responds to these, that is the source of “disability”. The alternative model, often called the “Medical Model of Disability” encourages explanations for the discrimination and disadvantage experienced by disabled people in terms of the features of an individual's physical or mental impairments. The social model, however, encourages explanations in terms of how society is organised.
Transgender/Transsexual: Terminology is still in some flux. However, it is generally accepted as a term for referring to a person with a recognised medical condition known as gender dysphoria, where an individual identifies with and has the desire to live and be accepted as a member of the opposite sex. The terms ‘trans man’ (female to male) and ‘trans woman’ (male to female) are also acceptable.