Why monitor diversity?
Sarah Crowther, trainer for HEAR Equality and Human Rights Network, says asking the difficult questions can lead to insights that could feed the quality of your work as well as your funder's hunger for data
We don’t discriminate. We’re open to everyone. But are you?
It is so easy not to notice something that isn’t there. You can’t count a lack of something. But you can spot gaps if you know where to look - if you want to look.
You can’t ask older people about sexuality – they might be shocked or offended. But they might not be. And isn’t it a bit ageist – actually rather offensive to older people – not to ask them, or to assume sexuality is nothing to someone just because they are in their seventies? If you have spent your whole life having society deny your reality, might it not be rather nice at 85 to be asked how you want to describe yourself?
Equality monitoring is something required by funders, but funding and commissioning organisations themselves are often not very good at it and its easy to wonder what anyone actually does with all these ticks in all these boxes. Rather than feeling it is a burden, however, you can make equality monitoring into a real opportunity, a discussion; something so simple but that could change the direction of your activities and organisation forever – and for the better.
There's the added advantage that your funders are hungry for this data, commissioners in particular need local equality knowledge. Your evaluation processes not only feed the quality and value of your own work but give you a valuable asset of data, evidence, facts about local life and insight that you can use directly with individual commissioners when trying to persuade and influence commissioning in your area.
Monitoring and evaluation? Don’t knock it.
|Sarah Crowther is a trainer for the HEAR Equality and Diversity Network, and will be delivering a free workshop for organisations in Lewisham, Diversity monitoring: why bother? on Tuesday 6 September 2016.|