The Diversity Wheel below provides a useful starting point to explore equality and diversity issues and how these factors interrelate to impact on people’s lives.
The centre of the wheel illustrates what could be described as the primary dimensions of diversity. Someone’s ethnic origin, sexual orientation, age, sex, religion or belief and disability may be core to them. Some can change over time. For example, everyone gets older yet we may be treated differently at different stages in our life because of age. We may be born into a family with a particular religious belief but we may decide to convert to another religion or simply choose not to follow that religion anymore. Other aspects cannot be changed. For example, we cannot change our ethnic origin.
The second circle illustrates life experiences or the secondary dimensions that make each and every one of us different. Any one person is a combination of these dimensions and these differences make our society richer. Organisations that celebrate this diversity and deliver equality get the full potential of each member of staff they employ and deliver fair services to everyone who is entitled to receive them. The wheel doesn’t necessarily include all dimensions to diversity as many may depend on the particular focus and work of individual organisations.
(NB This was developed before the Equality Act outlined the nine protected characteristics)