Equality in practice – Leading by example

An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.

This quote by Mahatma Gandhi sums up the concept behind our work on equality in practice.

We have long campaigned for European and national commitments to equal treatment and diversity, both inside the workplace and externally. These concepts are at the very heart of the European project, which cites the values of equality and non-discrimination in its treaties. Indeed, in 2000 “United in Diversity” became the European Union’s official motto!

The EU Employment Equality Directive “prohibits discrimination on grounds of religion and belief, age, disability and sexual orientation” in the field of employment. However, just because an organisation can’t legally discriminate against these groups in the workplace doesn’t mean that they’re being given equal opportunities in employment. For example, in the European financial services industry only 26% of board positions are held by women, and only 18% of executive positions. This is far from an EU-only problem; a survey by pro-diversity Google of its employees in the United States found that only 13% of its executives are female, of which 3% are black, and 0% are latino.

It is time to act upon this issue and develop a more proactive approach which, beyond the moral rejection of any discriminatory practice, ensures that equality is put into practice.

As a platform of civil society organisations working in the social sector, we believe it is our responsibility to lead by example and to scrutinise ourselves and establish a fair and sincere inventory of our own organisations and work places when it comes to diversity.

Building upon this “practice what we preach” approach, we will develop an equality charter to share our best practices with other organisations.