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Equality is not always about treating everyone the same – it is about treating people in such a way that the outcome for each person can be the same. This means putting things in place to support people to achieve similar outcomes. For a person who is blind it may involve having screen readers on your computers and removing obstacles in your building. For someone from a minority background it may involve having affirming messages in your youth space so that young people know that diversity and difference is valued. Messages can be communicated in different ways such as having staff with open and welcoming attitudes, displaying relevant posters and information, celebrating special days such as Traveller and LGBT Pride weeks, or special festivals such as Divali, Eid etc. By not putting supports in place exclusion is usually an inadvertent result.
Equality of outcome can be achieved by making sure that everyone is supported to have access to resources and decision making and to be recognised, valued and respected. When supports are not put in place it usually results in exclusion even if this is not intended because people from marginalised situations do not feel or know that they can attend a group, even if the mission statement says it is open to all. By following the checklists in Access All Areas you will discover a range of supports that can be put in place to offer a service based on the principal of equality of outcome.
*NB The description above is not based on the legislative definition of equality which concentrates more on discrimination, or the denial of equality, i.e. unfair or less favourable treatment or direct exclusion from services etc of a person from one group included in equality legislation compared to a person from another group in relation to goods and services, education, accommodation, employment and vocational training.
Get more resources and support from our Equality and Intercultural Programme, which works to support you to embed equality, inclusion, diversity and interculturalism in your youth work setting.