Why Value Equality?

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SH4003 Week 3 Equality Diversity and Discrimination in Health and Social Care
Dr Alya Khan
Last week we explored the idea of EQUALITY. We saw that:
It is a ‘contested concept.’
It does not mean ‘the same’ or ‘identical.’
There are different interpretations of: –
WHY equality should be valued, WHO should be treated as equals? & WHAT should be done exactly to treat equals equally
We saw that for people to be EQUAL, they must share AT LEAST ONE feature,
But also they must be DIFFERENT in other respects
They must be DIVERSE
DIVERSITY is an unavoidable characteristic of humans
Nobody is exactly the same as anyone else
What is the moral significance of this, if we value equality?
Why Value Equality?
Perhaps because we want to say that while individuals or groups of individuals are DIFFERENT, they are nevertheless OF EQUAL MORAL VALUE (equally good)
Is there a feature that all people share despite other differences, then, in respect of which they can be said to be equal?
e. a feature that shows all are equally valuable
Individuals claim different identities, or different identities are assigned to them
Consider your own identity – who are you? What distinguishes you from others? (Comment briefly in your reflective log. You will need to develop this section later).
Consider the identities of others – think of the variety of identities you believe are represented around you in this room.
Identities and Difference
To what extent are our different identities of relevance when thinking about equality?
We could say that one feature that we share in common is that we are all human individuals with distinct identities
That is: the fact of our diversity as humans could be the sense in which we are equal
So BECAUSE we are different, we are EQUALS
As individuals with distinct identities, we are frequently members of different social groups
Within the class, we may have a diversity of cultural group affiliation
This may be for different sets of group-based values, expressed through social behaviour & norms (e.g. religion, tradition, language, arts, etiquette, nationality, etc.)
Should people with different cultural heritages & affiliations be treated as equals?
One answer is to say that everyone should be treated with equal respect, regardless of the social norms & behaviours that they value
Last time, we discussed how treating people equally could mean providing them with equal opportunities – perhaps for living their lives in ways that they most value (culturally)
SO equality can be seen as an IDEAL that means promoting & providing EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES for all to live lives of their choosing regardless of differences in lifestyle, background, cultural heritage, and also their abilities & needs
This is seen as respectful & non-discriminatory
Treating people as equals in this way is designed to ensure that everyone can have a chance to participate in society
This can be understood in terms of FAIRNESS
e. it’s FAIR to work to promote equal opportunities for participation in society
In healthcare, this can mean providing help & support to meet different people’s needs
Inclusion is ‘being included within either a group or society as a whole’.
Inclusion links with diversity and equality. It is important to understand someone’s differences so that you can include them and treat them equally and fairly. People can feel excluded if they are not able to join in with activities. Excluding people because of their differences is known as ‘discrimination’. All workers in health and social care must make sure that they work in an inclusive way to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to take part when they want to. This is especially true about people taking part in their own care and support so that it is truly centred on them as a person.
What happens when a professional treats a service user or patient in a discriminatory way and why is that wrong?
We will examine the article in Weblearn: Ballie & Matiti (2013)
What issues does it highlight? We will discuss & write in our reflective logs also, how do people want to be treated? We will watch the Video & discuss.

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