Today is Zero Discrimination Day, an annual day celebrated on 1 March by the United Nations and other international organisations. It aims to promote equality before the law and in practice throughout all of the member countries of the United Nations.
The United Nations is highlighting the urgent need to take action to end the inequalities surrounding income, sex, age, health status, occupation, disability, sexual orientation, drug use, gender identity, race, class, ethnicity and religion that continue to persist around the world.
Inequality is growing for more than 70% of the global population, exacerbating the risk of division and hampering economic and social development. COVID-19 is hitting the most vulnerable people the hardest—even as new vaccines against COVID-19 are becoming available, there is great inequality in accessing them. Many have equated this to vaccine apartheid.
Discrimination and inequalities are closely intertwined. Intersecting forms of discrimination, be it structural or social, against individuals and groups can lead to a wide range of inequalities—for example, in income, educational outcomes, health and employment. However, inequalities themselves can also lead to stigma and discrimination. It is critical, therefore, when looking to reduce inequalities to address discrimination.
Sabrina Richards, Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust Talent, Inclusion and Resourcing Lead, said: “We have already put in place a number of interventions to stamp out discrimination as part of the Valuing our Colleagues Board Improvement Programme.
“For example, there is a programme of work focused on developing a just and learning culture. We now have a revised Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy that has been developed with staff involvement and sets out our approach to tackling discrimination, bullying and harassment and inappropriate behaviours in the workplace. This strategy is due to be launched this spring following approval from the Trust Board so please keep an eye on the Daily Dose for further updates about this work. The strategy is also a core work stream in the Valuing our Colleagues Board level improvement programme.
“The trust has recently recruited a number of Cultural Ambassadors to stamp out bias and discriminatory practice in recruitment and selection and since the start of January a number of Cultural Ambassadors have been participating in interviews.
“We have an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Steering Group whose purpose is to monitor the trust’s performance in relation to equality . diversity and inclusion to ensure we provide accessible health care services to the local population and are responsive to the diverse needs of our patients as well as ensuring our staff do not suffer detriment because of their protected characteristic . We have also recently established a staff inclusion network and have network leads across the nine protected characteristics
“The BAME Shared Decision Making Council was set up in June 2020 and is a forum for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic colleagues to have a say in decisions that affect them.
“We have also overhauled our equality, diversity and inclusion policies , developed a framework for completing equality impact assessments and overhauled our recruitment and selection policy.
“There will be lots more action taken this year to end discrimination in our workplace for the benefit of our colleagues and patients as part of the roll out of our EDI strategy so please do take time to read the new strategy once this is available and play your part in helping us embed a culture of respect fairness and inclusion.”