The term ‘diversity’ refers to the non-homogeneity among the members of a society (individuals and/or groups) from a cultural, social, political, economic, or any other perspective. As a consequence, the definition of diversity can vary.

From a strictly legal point of view, diversity in Europe mainly takes gender, age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, beliefs and disabilities (Focus Consultancy, n.d.) into account. For example, ‘cultural diversity’ – often used interchangeably with ‘ethnic diversity’ – usually refers to language, customs and traditions, while ‘religious diversity’ concerns discrimination that occurs on the grounds of peoples’ faith and is often featured as a separate identity that may override ethnic/cultural affiliations (Maussen et al., 2012).

Diversity has three main dimensions:

• The internal dimension refers to characteristics as personality, age, sex, gender, race, culture, language, religion, belonging, physical/mental capacities and characteristics;

• The external dimension is usually defined by society on the basis of norms, conventionally agreed similarities and rules, or by personal experience;

• The organisational dimension is the one connected with institutional affil iation , membership , management status, etc.


Handbook on Teaching in Diversity Teach-D project