Zero Discrimination Day is an annual event celebrated on 1st March to promote equality and eradicate all forms of discrimination (UNAIDS, 2022). Discrimination is a violation of human rights, and it creates inequality, exclusion, and marginalization. Discrimination in the workplace is a significant issue that affects many people worldwide. Therefore, it is crucial to create awareness and take action to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace. This blog article will discuss the importance of zero discrimination day and how it provides an opportunity to consider diversity in the workplace.
Zero Discrimination Day is an international day of observance that highlights the negative impact of discrimination and promotes diversity and inclusion. The day was first introduced by the United Nations in 2014, and it is celebrated annually on March 1st. On Zero Discrimination Day this year, under the theme “Save lives: Decriminalize”, UNAIDS is highlighting how the decriminalization of key populations and people living with HIV saves lives and helps advance the end of the AIDS pandemic.
Zero Discrimination Day is essential because it raises awareness of the negative impact of discrimination on individuals, communities, and society as a whole. Discrimination creates barriers that prevent people from accessing opportunities, services, and resources that they need to thrive. Discrimination also leads to social exclusion and marginalization, which can have long-lasting effects on an individual’s mental and physical health.
Furthermore, Zero Discrimination Day provides an opportunity to highlight the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. A diverse workforce brings together people from different backgrounds, cultures, and experiences. This diversity can lead to creativity, innovation, and a broader perspective on problem-solving. However, if diversity is not supported by inclusive policies and practices, it can lead to discrimination and exclusion. Therefore, promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace is essential to creating a fair and equal work environment (Diversity Best Practices, 2022).
Promoting diversity in the workplace is essential for creating an inclusive and innovative environment. When employees come from different backgrounds and have different experiences, they bring unique perspectives and ideas to the table. This can lead to new solutions to problems, increased creativity, and improved decision-making.
For example, in Sri Lanka, the Sampath Bank, one of the leading commercial banks, recognizes diversity as a key driver for innovation and creativity. The bank has implemented diversity initiatives such as “Sampath Diriya”, a program that provides training and resources for women to start and grow their own businesses. As a result, the bank has been able to tap into new markets and create innovative solutions to meet the needs of its diverse customer base (Sampath Bank, 2022).
One of the benefits of promoting diversity in the workplace is that it leads to innovation. By bringing together people with different backgrounds and experiences, new ideas and solutions can emerge. This can lead to improved products and services, increased market share, and higher profits.
For example, the Sri Lankan apparel industry has seen significant success in promoting diversity and leveraging it to drive innovation. MAS Holdings, a leading apparel manufacturer, has implemented a number of initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion, including a focus on gender equality and the empowerment of women. As a result, the company has been able to create innovative products that meet the needs of diverse markets (MAS Holdings, 2022).
Another benefit of promoting diversity in the workplace is that it leads to diversity in leadership. By ensuring that people from different backgrounds and experiences have equal opportunities to advance in their careers, organizations can create a leadership team that reflects the diversity of its employees (Cox & Blake, 1991). This can lead to better decision-making, increased employee engagement, and improved organizational performance.
For example, in Sri Lanka, Dialog Axiata, one of the largest telecommunications providers, recognizes the importance of diversity in leadership. The company has implemented initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion, including a focus on gender equality and the empowerment of women (Dialog Axiata, 2021). As a result, the company has been able to create a leadership team that reflects the diversity of its employees and has seen improved organizational performance.
Research has shown that promoting diversity in the workplace can lead to a range of positive outcomes, including financial benefits. Companies with more diverse workforces are more likely to have above-average financial returns (Herring, 2009). This is because diversity leads to improved innovation, better decision-making, and increased employee engagement.
For example, in Sri Lanka, the John Keells Group, one of the largest conglomerates, recognizes the financial benefits of promoting diversity in the workplace. The company has implemented a number of initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion, including a focus on gender equality and the empowerment of women (John Keells Group, 2021). As a result, the company has seen improved financial performance and has been able to attract and retain top talent.
In conclusion, Zero Discrimination Day is an important reminder of the need to promote diversity in the workplace. By creating an inclusive and diverse environment, employers can reap the benefits of increased innovation and financial success, while also ensuring equal opportunities for all employees. It is important to remember that promoting diversity is an ongoing process that requires ongoing efforts and commitment from all.(UNAIDS, 2021)
UNAIDS (2023). Zero Discrimination Day. Retrieved from https://www.unaids.org/en/zero-discrimination-day
United Nations (n.d.). Promoting and Protecting Human Rights. Retrieved from https://www.un.org/en/sections/issues-depth/promoting-and-protecting-human-rights/index.html
World Health Organization (2019). Discrimination and Health. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/discrimination-and-health
Human Rights Watch (n.d.). Discrimination. Retrieved from https://www.hrw.org/topic/discrimination
Tharushi Imasha Kumarasiri
Mar 16, 2023