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What is diversity?

diversity; diverse; differences; racism; sexism; ethnic; culture; religion; stereotypes; discrimination;


What does diversity mean?

Diversity means that there are lots of different kinds of things.

Just as there are lots of different makes of cars, bikes, washing machines, balls or just about anything you can think of, so there is diversity among people.


We all have the same general structure - two legs, two arms, two eyes, etc. (although women have a different shape to men) but we all look different to each other.

  • Skin, hair and eyes can be many different colours and shades of colour.
  • The size and shape of our faces and our bodies are different.
  • Most amazing of all is that our DNA and our fingerprints are different to every other person's.
  • In all the billions of people in the world, each one of us is unique.

What does diversity look like?

diversityDiversity is not just about our bodies. Where we are born in the world can make for a great deal of diversity too. There are differences in:

  • languages
  • religions
  • beliefs
  • food
  • cultural traditions
  • types of houses where we live
  • schools
  • jobs
  • things to do in our spare time

I'm sure that you can think of lots more differences that all add to the diversity of human beings in our world.

Where diversity is found

diversityYou don't have to go anywhere to find diversity. Just look around at your family and friends and you will find it.

Every single person you know is different. How about your brothers, sisters and cousins?

  • Do they all look alike, sound alike, have the same skills and talents, share the same interests?
  • They might have some similarities (you may all have the same colour hair), but lots of differences too.

And the great thing about diversity is that it makes the world an interesting place to be, and full of interesting and different people. How good is that?

How boring if everything and everyone were the same.

How does diversity happen?

In the 'olden days' most people were born, lived and died in the same part of the world. They often looked pretty much like other people who lived there, shared the same beliefs, wore similar clothes and they probably spoke the same language.

Nowadays, there is more and more diversity around us because:

  • people travel around a lot more in their own countries
  • they may go to live and work in other countries.
  • when people move to other countries they add their diversity to that country in all sorts of ways - food, culture, religion, beliefs, music, and art are some of these differences.
  • people from different backgrounds may marry and have children together.

What's great about diversity?

As more people from different countries come to a country, then there is more diversity in the population of that country.

  • Everyone can learn more about other cultures.
  • Everyone can share and enjoy the differences.
  • Everyone can work together to make the country a good place to live for everyone.
  • You can get to learn and play new games, or find out what the games you play are called in other countries. This website has some good games:

What can be not so great?

  • diversitySome people are afraid of diversity.
  • Some people are afraid of change.
  • Some people want everyone to be the same as themselves.
  • Some people don't want to accept that others do not have the same beliefs as themselves.
  • Some people are unkind to others who seem different in some way.

There are three words that describe this unkindness.

  • Prejudice is when someone decides something about another without knowing anything about that person.
  • Racism is when someone is not given a fair go because of his race, skin colour or religion.
  • Sexism is when someone is not given a fair go because of his or her sex.

When someone is treated badly in any of these ways it is called discrimination (say dis-crim-in-ay-shun).


A stereotype , (say ste-rio-type), is something that we believe to be true about a particular group of people.

We may get these ideas from our own experience, people in our family, the people we know, the groups we belong to, what we see or read in the news or on social media and maybe even from  movies or computer games.

We all stereotype people we meet to some extent, because of these experiences and expectations. When we see people we automatically look for something familiar about them that we can relate to. It makes us feel comfortable.

  • Maybe they are wearing the same kind of clothes as you.
  • Maybe they look or sound like you or people you know.
  • Maybe they are people you know will help you e.g shop assistant, police, teacher or librarian.

Stereotyping can help us relate to others in our world but it can also lead to Prejudice, Racism and Sexism.

  • Is every boy sports mad?
  • Is every girl into fashion?
  • Is everyone of a different religion to you a bad person?
  • Is everyone in any group of people exactly the same as all others belonging to that age, or sex or race?
  • Does every person speak with the same accent as you?

We may miss out on meeting new people, having new friends, trying new foods, learning new things if we decide that ‘all people’ in a particular group are ‘bad’ in some way.

There are good and bad people everywhere. Every person is unique. What do others think of you?

Dr Kate says:

Dr KateHands up those who like pizza!

Well imagine what your favourite pizza would be like if half the ingredients were missing. Each country, each neighbourhood, each school, even each class is like the best 'pizza', because of the diversity of people who are in them.

 One bad apple in a box can affect the others but that doesn't mean all the apples are bad. We need to remember this and be careful not to assume that one bad person in any group in any part of the world means that everyone in that group is bad.

In Australia there is a saying "give him/her a fair go". People move around the world to visit, live or work in other countries. Maybe when you grow up you will find yourself in a place where you are different in some ways to the people who live there. Wouldn't you like them to 'give you a fair go'?

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