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Note: Diversity As Redressing Imbalance of Cultures

VU International News and Reviews No. 113 May 21 2018

August 2019

Last week, I visited the University of Iceland – one of the members of the Aurora Network. My conversations with the diversity officer in Reykjavik helped me to get some understanding (rightly or wrongly) of the underlying pattern of what Aurora universities can do in various manifestations of Diversity issues:

  • Diversity issues become relevant to the university when there is a situation of a dominant culture over one or more subordinate cultures, which has the effect that members of a subordinate culture have less opportunity to fulfil their potential in the university.
  • This is a problem because of unfulfilled potential from the perspective of the individual (unequal opportunities) and from the perspective of the university (unfulfilled potential)
  • The first part of a successful way to address this problem is to have (or develop) adequate tool of analysis and diagnosis: to find out that there is a problem, to get a view on how big it is and what the causes are.
  • The second part is to have (or develop) tools, or rather a toolkit with interventions to reduce the imbalance between Dominant and Subordinate cultures in the university.
    In this pattern, “gender-budgeting” – which is one of the potential projects in the Diversity & Inclusion group of Aurora – is one possible tool in the toolkit to address one specific form of imbalance that leads to diversity problems.
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