New Delhi [India], January 15 (ANI/ATK): Imagine you are gearing up for your first interview out of college. You can't walk. But that has never stopped you. You managed to score a 9.05 GPA against all odds in college. You punched above your weight. But the interviewer takes one look at you and throws you into the reject pile. He insists, "You don't belong here."
As someone who was born with Cerebral Palsy, this isn't the first time Sumit Agarwal had heard this. And it surely wasn't the last. He faced six job rejections but that only made his faith in his ability more concrete.
Diversity and Inclusion: Is It Working?
In recent years there have been efforts put forth by various activists with the help of the government in realizing UN's SDG initiatives about Diversity and Inclusion in the country but with the influx of the pandemic, there is a huge regression in not only the effort but also the state of these underprivileged and marginalized communities.
With over 30 million people under the disability spectrum, how many are visible working in the offices or organizations around us, or studying in any other school and college? The answer is simple: few to none. The core of this strange, immoral behavior of society is the society itself, whose beliefs are based on stereotyping the entire "disabled" community. And if we consider the side effects of the pandemic, then these communities have been locked down and left behind. Even with the NGO's stepping in to help they were only able to reach only a fraction of the distressed. The access to their basic needs of survival had been hindered.
What is Diversity & Inclusion?
Diversity is not just about race, caste gender, or physical ability. It is about uplifting the individuality of a person, their basic rights as human beings. Understanding and accepting the diversity in people not only reduces discrimination but also makes our life more colorful. According to this young entrepreneur, the most important trait that a person requires to become more accepting towards people is empathy. Empathizing with people from diverse groups helps people understand them and their everyday struggles better. This in return also improves the mental health of the people involved.
Sumit Agarwal, who's has been voicing out his story and journey for over 10 years truly believes for a society to truly progress they need to make diversity and inclusion a norm. As a diversity and Inclusion speaker Sumit Agarwal has inspired people through his speeches in TEDx, World Leader Summit, Aristocrat, and many more. He is also working on various other projects related to Diversity and Inclusion in India. He aims to make people realize the essence of empathy and the advantages of creating an ecosystem where diversity and inclusion is a part and parcel of our daily life.
70 Unicorns, But What About Diversity in India?
Now if we talk about Diversity and Inclusion in India we can consider it to be a young country with extremely high growth potential. But the intolerance, discrimination, and stigma are our biggest barriers. In terms of the workforce and our economy, employers need to realize that diversity is of greater value to a company's growth. Diversity brings in innovation, ideas, and traditional wisdom from other cultures, experiences, and problem-solving methods from people with different historical experiences. All these ideas attract different investments while improving employee satisfaction by creating a more engaging environment.
But Will things Ever Get Better?
Sumit Agarwal believes it can be. As someone who has experienced the stigma and taboo related to disability, he has also experienced the good in people. His journey highlights not just his strength but of the people who have helped him believe in his ability
When we asked Sumit Agarwal why he chose to become a speaker on diversity and inclusion and voice out his opinions on the most controversial issues, he said "rather than waiting for someone to come and help you it is better to help yourself. Being a part of the disabled community, I have felt the isolation and the discrimination these underprivileged communities face. But as a part of my privilege, I have had a good support system to make me realize that I am not defined by my disability, and through my voice that is the message, I wish to spread. People are not defined by their diversity rather their diversity makes them unique and that should be considered as an advantage and not stigmatized."
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