Professional bodies lead the way on diversity issues.

07 July 2010

Commitment to equality and diversity among professional bodies is becoming more widespread and mainstream according to the results of new survey.  Carried out by the Professional Associations Research Network (PARN), the survey results show that 29 per cent of professional bodies have a diversity and equal opportunities policy and more now have specialist member groups around gender, ethnicity and disability.

PARN are members of Equally Professional, a network of professional bodies committed to promoting equality and diversity.  With support from the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Equally Professional is creating a bank of knowledge and good practice which addresses all aspects of diversity in the professions. 

A report published today from Equally Professional, Like Minds on Different Journeys, highlights good practices that member organisations are putting in place to broaden their appeal and improve their diversity practice. 

Equally Professional subscribes to the principle that, in order to deliver the highest standards in a diverse society, the professions must reflect that diversity in their membership.  The group seeks to inspire the professions so that they in turn will inspire people from under-represented groups to join them.  It does this by sharing experiences and working together towards continual improvement in the professions’ reflection of the diversity of society. 

Professional bodies are being encouraged to join the Diversity Special Interest Group, Equally Professional’s vehicle for communicating its activities to the wider population of over 300 professional bodies.  Through the Special Interest Group, which is supported by PARN, professional bodies can learn from peers what they are doing, and share their own experiences of the diversity journey.

Ruth Spellman, chief executive of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), says: 'The economic, social and political challenges we face demand a radical new approach to leadership. It means that if business is to succeed, recognition must be given to the values of a diverse workforce, one in which people are respected and propelled because of their skills, capability and experience above all else. That is why CMI is calling on organisations to act now and make sure they deliver a diverse pool of talent.  Anything less will only perpetuate discrimination and hinder moves towards long term economic stability.'

Andy Friedman, Director of the PARN said:  'Professional bodies particularly appreciate the opportunity to learn from each other, ask difficult questions amongst their peers and to benchmark themselves against similar organisations. This is the process that underpins the success of the Equally Professional network and the Diversity Special Interest Group around which the Commission’s engagement with the professions is built.'

Find out more about Equally Professional and download the report

To find out more about the PARN Diversity Special Interest Group email PARN


For more press information contact the Commission’s media office on 020 3117 0255, out of hours 07767 272 818.

For general enquiries please contact the Commission’s national helpline: England 0845 604 6610, Scotland 0845 604 5510 or Wales 0845 604 8810.

Notes to Editors

The Commission is a statutory body established under the Equality Act 2006, which took over the responsibilities of Commission for Racial Equality, Disability Rights Commission and Equal Opportunities Commission.  It is the independent advocate for equality and human rights in Britain.  It aims to reduce inequality, eliminate discrimination, strengthen good relations between people, and promote and protect human rights. The Commission enforces equality legislation on age, disability, gender, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation or transgender status, and encourages compliance with the Human Rights Act. It also gives advice and guidance to businesses, the voluntary and public sectors, and to individuals.

About CMI

The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) is a member of the Equally Professional Network, and has acted as its Chair in 2009/10. CMI is the only chartered professional body in the UK dedicated to promoting the highest standards of management and leadership excellence. CMI is the guardian of the National Occupational Standards for Management and Leadership and sets the standards that others follow.  As a membership organisation, CMI has been providing forward-thinking advice and support to individuals and businesses, for more than 50 years, and continues to give managers and leaders, and the organisations they work in, the tools they need to improve their performance and make an impact. As the only organisation to offer qualifications from Level 2 (GCSE) to Level 8 (PhD), CMI is committed to equipping individuals with the skills and knowledge to be exceptional managers and leaders. Qualifications and accreditations such as Chartered Manager, combined with products such as CMI's Continuous Professional Development scheme and the online support resource, ManagementDirect, support the development of management and leadership excellence across the UK. Through in-depth research and policy surveys of its 86,000 individual and 450 corporate members, CMI maintains its position as the premier authority on key management and leadership issues.