The first ever ‘Attitudes to Equality and Diversity’ report highlighted that:
• 83% of respondents agree that the North West is a region with a real mix of people from different backgrounds, races and cultures.
• 71% agree the North West is an area where people from different backgrounds, races and cultures get on well together.
• 70% of respondents agreed that the social and cultural life of the region is improved by the contribution of people from different backgrounds, races and cultures.
• 70% of people agree that employing people from different backgrounds, races and cultures improves the local economy of the North West.
The survey also showed that people in the region are much more likely to feel positive rather than negative towards groups of people, including minority groups compared to the GB average. In some instances, people from the North West are half as likely to feel negative towards minority groups.
Moreover, if people in the North West believe that others are acting out of prejudice then they will take action:
• 83% of respondents have said that they would be more likely to apply to work for a business or organisation which welcomes job applications from all groups of people.
• Almost two thirds of people (61%) said that they would be less likely to buy goods or services from a shop or company if they found out they did not welcome job applications from all groups of people.
However, the survey highlighted that some pockets of prejudice do still exist and must be tackled:
• One in three ethnic minority people say they experienced some form of prejudice or unfair treatment in the past year because of their race or ethnic background.
• One in five disabled people say they experienced prejudice or unfair treatment in the past year because they are disabled.
• One in five people over 65 say they experienced some form of prejudice or unfair treatment in the past year because of their age.
• One in five of women say they experienced prejudice or unfair treatment in the past year because of their gender.
The survey was commissioned to coincide with the launch of celebr8 (don’t discrimin8), which is a calendar of events running through September that celebrates the variety and diversity of life in the North West. The festival showcases how diversity benefits us all culturally, socially and economically, and enhances the culture of the North West.
Tim Wainwright, director of English Regions at the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: “We live in an age of difference. By 2010 only one in five people of working age will be white, male, non-disabled and under 45 , so, diversity affects us all, or will do at some time in our lives.
“Our challenge at the Commission is to help ensure that people across Great Britain view diversity as a source of energy and prosperity, rather than as a cause of friction and inequality.
“The results of this survey and the public’s support for celebr8 indicate we are building on particularly firm foundations and that North West is in a strong position to move forward in the modern world. However, there are still challenges ahead of us.”
Steve Barwick, Director of Strategy – Scrutiny, Europe and Sustainability at 4NW – Regional Leaders Forum, said: “It’s really encouraging to see that people in the North West value diversity and recognise its importance in generating prosperity for the region.
“As a region we are more tolerant, more integrated and more positive than we might think, and more often than not, more so than the GB average. Whilst this is mostly positive news for the region, we mustn’t ignore those findings from the survey which suggest that pockets of prejudice still persist.”
This year’s inaugural ‘celebr8 on the Silver Screen’ film competition has helped make 2008 the biggest festival yet. People across the region were invited to submit a script to be turned into a short film, illustrating ‘What diversity means to me’. One scriptwriter from each of the five sub-regions of the North West (Cheshire, Cumbria, Lancashire, Manchester and Merseyside) had their ideas on diversity turned into films, shown at cinemas across the region from the 16th to the 22nd of September and displayed on YouTube.
All winning ‘celebr8 on the Silver Screen’ films can be viewed online at www.youtube.com/celebr8NW and are available with both subtitles and with British Sign Language.
For further information on celebr8 (don’t discrimin8), please visit www.celebr8.org.