3. Overview of studies
After outlining some of the arguments to support greater equality, diversity and inclusion in the workforce, a number of issues specific to educational leadership are explored before considering normative views of leadership, the place of intersectionality, and leadership development opportunities.
3.2 Arguments for equality, diversity and inclusion in the education workforce
The ideas within the phrase ‘equality, diversity and inclusion’ go beyond the promotion of equal opportunities. Oswick and Noon (2014) uncover the ‘cycles of popularity’ in the use of the terms diversity, equality and inclusion. The factors involved include, for example, gender, ethnicity, age, disability, religion, social class, and sexual orientation to name a few. Some forms of discrimination are outlawed by disability discrimination legislation in the UK (Equality and Human Rights Commission, 2015).
There are, at least, four arguments put forward to support equality, diversity and inclusion in the workforce and wider society including:
- a) The Democratic argument: that equality is an ‘aspiration in a democratic society’ (Bush and Middlewood, 2005:92) linked to ideas of entitlement to fair and equitable treatment for all.
- b) The Economic argument: that everyone in society must be involved in making the nation economically productive and should not act as an unnecessary drain on resources through either economic inactivity or anti-social behaviour (Wolf, 2002).
- c) The Intrinsic argument: that equality and inclusion is a human right and does not need a further, extrinsic justification (DCA, 2006; United Nations, 1948). That humans are made equal by virtue of all being God’s children and being one in Christ (Galatians 3:28) is another intrinsic argument which might have a particular resonance within the church and church schools.
- d) The Educational argument: that the education workforce should be a visible embodiment of equality, diversity and inclusion which the students see in the roles people hold and how they carry them out (Soler, 2011).
Debates circulate around whether there is one organizational model or leadership style that promotes equality, diversity and inclusion particularly well (Bush, 2010; Davies, 2009) and how these styles and models might themselves intersect with gender (Gatrell and Swan, 2008). Whilst ‘school management should be focusing on relationships in which all people are valued, not systems’ (Bush and Middlewood, 2005: 97), this focus should not assume ‘a universality of imperatives for motivation and satisfaction’ (Bush and Middlewood, 2005: 85). There is no single way to do these things so ‘continuity and conflict must be embraced’ (Middlewood and Lumby, 1998:96) because difference will persist and commonality cannot be assumed.