Diversity and Children: Leading Them to Workplace Success

In a democratic society, there should be equality in access to education, training, and occupations. There should be equal pay for those in the same occupation. Many women and racial minorities, however, do not have this equality in access and pay. As parents, we must guard against perpetuating sexism and racism in our children. More than that, we must be for equality, and truly value diversity.

Success in the workplace requires an enlightened attitude among workers. In 1991 a prestigious, national commission of employers identified "Works with Diversity" as being an essential skill for the U.S. to succeed as a high-performance workplace in the 21st century. In 2013, Partnership for 21st Century Skills includes "social and cross-cultural skills" as required life and career skills. Specifically, working adults need skills to:

  1. "Work well with people having different ethnic, social, or educational backgrounds.

  2. Understand the concerns of members of other ethnic and gender groups.

  3. Base impressions on an individual's behavior not on stereotypes. Understand one's own culture and those of others and how they differ.

  4. Respect the rights of others while helping them make cultural adjustments where necessary."
    -- from: Job Skills for the 21st Century A Guide for Students (1996, Oryx Press) by Lawrence K. Jones.

It is important for parents to teach these skills to their children. "Teaching Children About Diversity," by Dr. Christopher J. Metzler, on the PBS Parents website has excellent suggestions.

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