Diversity and inclusion
Diversity is a part of life both in Estonia and elsewhere in the world. Human beings differ from one another in their appearance, origin, interests and activities, choices and abilities, but we all have the same human dignity. A democratic state treats people equally and takes into consideration the specificities of people. This means that social rules and norms must take into consideration these differences in order to ensure equal opportunities and inclusion for everybody.
The Estonian Human Rights Centre works on diversity and inclusion issues through various initiatives. In 2012, we launched, together with the Tallinn University of Technology and the first 17 entities that acceded to it, the Estonian Diversity Charter which has as its aim the promotion of the principles of equal treatment and diversity in companies and organisations of Estonia. To date, approximately 70 entities have acceded to the Charter and various training events. Study visits and seminars for exchanging experiences are held for the network with the support of the Council of the Gambling Tax. For those employers who wish to take specific steps for promoting diversity, the Centre provides an opportunity to draw up a diversity plan and apply for a quality label of an employee who respects diversity.
Estonian society is diverse
All human beings differ from one another in their appearance, interests and activities, choices and abilities, but we are all equally human beings. This means that social rules and norms must take into consideration these differences in order to ensure equal opportunities for everybody in society. All people should be able to maximize their potential in society. This means, on the one hand, respecting their differences and, on the other hand, promoting a society that is based on equal treatment.
As human beings, we differ in a lot of aspects: we have different life experiences, and different education and work experiences. We are also from different nationalities, genders, age groups – and namely these differences provide each of us with a unique life experience and an opportunity to contribute.
Although diversity has always existed in society, it was only rather recently when diversity started to be taken into consideration and under protection deliberately. So, for example in the United States, a national committee was established in 1961 with the aim to improve the status of women on the labour market, followed by the Equal Pay Act in 1963. The history of the diversity issue in the European Union dates back to the time when we could still talk about the European Economic Community. The Treaty of Rome signed in 1957 included the principle of equal remuneration for equal work. To date, the European Union has passed several documents that protect gender equality and equal treatment on other bases and launched a pan-European network that promotes diversity in business in cooperation with Member States and companies.