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The fight for gender equality and diversity stems from the belief by many of the injustices in the workplace due to gender inequality, race, religion, sexual preference, age or disabilities. Throughout history, women were thought of as inferior in physical strength, religious traditions and philosophical. The idea of gender equity has a relatively short history. Under the end of the 19th century, women were excluded from taking part in voting and politics, certain public events, education and in many professions. By the late 19th century and the turn of the 20th century, women the world over were pushing for greater equality. Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton in the United States, and the Suffragettes led by the Pankhurts in England were among the first pioneers of the “women’s movement.” This was a period of much activity as women organized themselves into public and high-profile advocacy groups, campaigning for the right to vote and equality in economic and property rights. Women were granted the right to vote in New Zealand in 1898, in the United States in 1919 and in Britain in 1928 (to all women over the age of 21 years.)

Many companies implement diversity policies to promote understanding among employees of various cultures. Experts agree that this helps in many areas, such as improved morale, to help create new ideas, increased productivity and create revenue in previously untapped markets. According to an article by the Workforce Diversity Network in 2010: “more businesses view workplace diversity as a key business strategy. Not only is diversity important for the bottom line, but it also is key to recruiting and retaining talent.” The article also states that it is important for managers to ensure that diversity is part of the recruitment process, including educating hiring managers on the importance of a diverse workforce and hold them accountable for managing that workplace.

The National Institutes of Health is so eager for businesses in the biomedical sciences to achieve more workplace diversity, they are offering up to $10 million for ideas on how to do so. The NIH wishes to increase the number of minority employees in the sciences and gave $2 in awards in 2010 for the winning workplace initiatives.


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