The history of equality can be traced back many years. Aristotle and Plato, Greek philosophers, had many views on the balance between the free-thinking worth of individuals versus the needs of society to be led by the best and smartest. For Marxists, the backbone of Marxism is equality the root of all inequality is capitalism, providing differences of wealth, wages, living conditions education and housing. A society that is based on capitalism can never be just or equal. In a post-capitalist paradise Marx and other philosophers suggest that humans are born with equal rights and should live in a society where they can enjoy them.
Marx rejects the idea of a natural hierarchical order, equality, for that reason, defaults as the natural state of being in a socialist and later Communist society.Equality, in this view, is based on their contribution to society and the state.Equality is many things to many people. Egalitarian philosophers held the idea that respect is the basis for equality.
Throughout history human beings have always suffered from unfairness, discrimination and prejudice. Such inequalities can be attributed to many factors, for example, ethnicity, religion, genders or sexual orientationAt the heart of any equal opportunity policy is legislation; governments have, traditionally, been slow to implement legislation to redress this imbalance. In 1961 President John F. Kennedy’s Executive Order (E.O.) 10925 used equal opportunity for the first time by instructing “affirmative action to ensure that applicants are treated equally without regard to race, colour, religion, sex, or national origin.” (Civilrights.org 2005). In the United Kingdom similar legislation can be traced back to 1918 with the introduction of the Representation of the People Act. Albeit oppressive in nature it gave certain voting rights to women; however, this was restricted to women over 30, householders and University graduates. The most important piece of legislation to be introduced was the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 this set out a framework for equalities on a universal setting. To date, with the introduction of the Equality act 2010 equal opportunities are further backed up and underpinned by legislation. This legislation can be seen to be working in many social environments. They include such act as the Sex Discrimination Act (1975), the Race Relations Act (1976), the Equal Pay Act (1985), and the Disability Discrimination Act (1995).Equality can be found in every part of modern day society. However, it will be shown that far from being enshrined in UK legislation and company policies. The truth is, equality is far from the ideal place envisaged by members of our society. Equality in the workplace is controlled by the new Equality act (2010). This places statutory obligations on employers to treat their work force on an equal footing. This is intended to make sure everyone who is employed by a company has the same opportunities regardless of age, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. The act goes on further to cover disabilities, gender reassignment and religious beliefs. The dictionary definitions for the term Diversity are fairly similar in nature. The American Heritage Dictionary describes the following The fact or quality of being diverse; difference and also A point or respect in which things differvariety or multiformity. Merriam-Webster describes the definition as Being composed of differing elements and goes on to state, the inclusion of different types of people (as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization. This definition shows much more regard for people that are multi-cultural. Dictionary.com describes another angle saying A point of difference. The Encarta online dictionary has, in my opinion, one of better definition sets. They state A variety of something such as opinion, color, or style and socioeconomic and gender variety, in a group, society, or institutionsa company committed to diversity. After exploring the various definitions, I noticed that the terms may be interchangeable, but the words are used laterally. Workforce diversity has become a reality in organizations. More organizations have written workforce diversity policies or programs. Although there is still no consensus on how to define workforce diversity, diversity policies and program are producing positive effects in organizations. Diversity in the workplace is a way of defining acceptable behaviors of employees. Diversity represents all the ways in which individuals are both similar and different. It involves a variation of characteristics such as: age, sex, color, religion, national origin, disability, or any other differences. Although diversity initiatives are common in the workplace today, this is due mainly to the federal government use of constitutional amendments, legislation, and executive orders, along with court decisions to interpret the laws for equal rights (Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhart, & Wright, 2010). The way an organization defines diversity and how it manages its diverse workforce may determine its effectiveness.The impact of diversity in the workplace is contingent upon several factors. Across companies diversified workforces are becoming increasingly common. To successfully manage a diverse workforce, organizations are ensuring that employees understand how their values and stereotypes influence their behavior toward others of different gender, ethnic, racial, or religious backgrounds; are gaining an appreciation of cultural differences among themselves; and behaviors that isolate or intimidate minorities are being improved (Noe et al., 2010, pg. 302). In works of literature all over the world, we see a common theme of feminism. Feminism, alone, is a huge movement in society today. Feminism is the act of fighting for women’s rights. Feminist want women to be equal to men in a social, political, and economic way. The first wave of feminism in 1848 was the beginning of the women’s movement in America. It was known as the suffrage movement because of the goal of extending the vote to women. In the 1800s women had little to no control of their lives. The average married female had seven children. Higher education was not allowed for women, but some wealthier women could bend the limits of authority. In 1860, New York passed a Married Women ‘s Property Act which gave women joint ownership of their children, allowing them to have a say in their children ‘s wills, wages, and granting them the right to inherit property. There were plenty setbacks in New York and other states, but with each new win the feminists were able to use as an example to apply more leverage on the legislators. (“First-Wave Feminism”) The end of the first wave ended with the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the United States Constitution in 1920, granting women the right to vote. This was the major victory for the movement, which also included reforms in higher education, in the workplace and professions, and in health care. Laws protecting sexual assault and alimony would be gotten rid of, and women were now allowed custody of their children in divorce cases .Feminism has not only brought women out of the household, but also allowed them into the workforce. Before the Feminist movement, women were stay at home moms and rarely left the house. They were not independent at all. There are two reasons why gender discrimination is an especially important topic. First, the likely presence of systemic discrimination on the basis of gender suggests that the number of people who might be affected is huge, that is, discrimination against women would put half the population at a disadvantage. Given the potential impact of gender discrimination, the possibility that gender is an important influence on people’s work lives must be considered. Second, there is a good deal of evidence that men and women are treated differently in the workplace. Women receive lower wages than men, are segregated into low-level jobs, and are less likely to be promoted. The Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (as amended) identifies three types of discrimination. These are: (1) direct discrimination; (2) indirect discrimination; and (3) victimisation (Chandler et al., 2003). The 1975 Act, with certain exceptions, applies equally to men and women. It not only forbids discrimination on grounds of sex or gender reassignment but discrimination also against married persons in the employment field. The 1975 Act is, of course, primarily directed towards the protection of women (SDA 1975, ss 1,2,3 & 4). Sex discrimination is prohibited in the UK under the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and the Equal Pay Act 1970. These Acts together form a comprehensive package providing substantial protection to all workers and job applicants against all forms of gender discrimination. In general, the Equal Pay Act 1970 covers pay and all other terms of employees’ contracts of employment, while Sex Discrimination Act 1975 protects individuals from discrimination in all stages of recruitment and selection. Therefore, the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 prohibits both direct and indirect discrimination, and also victimisation (Daniels et al, 2005).The Human Rights Act 1998 was introduced to bring rights home’ by the labour party in their general election manifesto in 1997 whereby conventions from ECHR were incorporated in the UK domestic law. The act came in full action in October 2000 after receiving royal assent in November 1998. It was designed to integrate a traditional civil liberties approach to safeguard “effective political democracy”, from the strong customs of freedom and liberty in the United Kingdom.The Human Rights Act 1998 is of constitutional significance and in relation to the interpretative responsibility of the Human Rights Act 1998 section 2 of the Act requires UK domestic courts to consider the jurisdictions of the ECtHR by giving further effect to the convention rights . Undoubtedly, the enactment of the Human Rights Act 1998 has made an immense impact both in private lives as well as in public authorities. The act does not only protect citizens’ fundamental rights and freedom but also enhance them by effective delivery of public facilities that emphasis on individual rights and enabling them to bring claims against the public sector that has breached the convention rights. On the other hand inspection on declaration under section 19 had improved transparency and Parliamentary accountability as seen in the review carried out by the Department for Constitutional Affairs in July 2006.Human rights are the basic rights, freedoms and protections that people are entitled to simply because they are human beings. They are thirty rights revolves around freedom, equality and justice. These rights should be given to everyone regardless of their race, sexuality, citizenship, gender, nationality, ethnicity, or abilities. The concept of making human rights is inalienable for every human beings led to create The Universal Declaration of Human Rights which is a document that identifies the basic standards of living to be able to measure equality and fairness. This document, as first emphasized in 1948, has been reiterated in numerous international human rights conventions and declarations.The absence of appropriate health care in many places is a reson for loosing hope of human rights. To be more precise, the stipulated human rights in Article 25 shows clearly that everyone entitled to a standard of living adequate for the health for him and his family. Finally, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights failed to provide a safe place for many people around the world. Firstly, it has been proven that there are many people undergo unfair treatment without convincing reason.For example, Amnesty International’s 2009 World Report shows that individuals in 81 countries experience torture or abuse, while humans from 54 countries reported they face unfair trials. One example of torture happened in the Democratic Republic of the Congo where torture and ill treatment are routinely committed by government security services and armed groups, including sustained beatings, stabbings and rapes of those in custody .Not only that, many innocent have lost their lives injustice and aggression.In Afghanistan, an estimated 6,500 people were killed in 2007 in armed conflict, nearly half being noncombatant civilian deaths at the hands of insurgents; hundreds of civilians were also killed in suicide attacks by armed groups. Similarly, 1500 people were murdered in internal dispute in Uganda. What is surprising is that killing is not only by rebel groups but also can happen by authorities that are established to protect people. To illustrate, in Brazil in 2007, police killed at least 1,260 individuals, the highest total to date. All incidents were officially labeled acts of resistance and received little or no investigation. Unfortunately, all these incidents occurred in front of human rights organizations and in front of each of these agreements signed without any without any attempt to intervene and fix the situations. Another indicator to the lie that so-called human rights is clearly shown by looking at the number of refugees and asylums. Statistics show that every year, millions of people around the world are forced to flee their homes. The reasons are different; some flee because of religious persecution, others because of their race, gender, or ethnicity. Therefore, many people experience oppressive, some remain patient while others leave their home, without obtaining any help from human rights organizations.In conclusion, after sixty years of establishing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it is not existed in many communities and societies. This absence appears by missing the basic life rights and watching the status quo. Poor education, which is not only harmful for individuals but also for communities, is one of the evidence that shows human rights are just a big show.Therefore, human rights are still more a dream than reality and present only in the papers and not everyone can gain them .References:1)The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. Cristen. How Feminism Works 17 February 2009. HowStuffWorks.com.