An inclusive society is one that is equipped with mechanisms which accommodate diversity, and enable and facilitate people’s active participation in their political, economic and social lives (United Nations).
In 1995, the UN defined Social inclusion is the process by which efforts are made to ensure equal opportunities – that everyone, regardless of their background, can achieve their full potential in life. Such efforts include policies and actions that promote equal access to (public) services as well as enable citizen’s participation in the decision-making processes that affect their lives.
As it stands, millions of people in the UK don’t have the basic digital skills they need to thrive in today’s world. Thousands of communities in the UK lack the essential digital levers and mechanisms that foster integration and cohesion. Millions of organizations lack the essential digital skills and processes needed to thrive during tech-adoption maturity and beyond.
Social exclusion can have a huge negative impact on a person’s life, leading to poorer health outcomes and a lower life expectancy, increased loneliness and social isolation, less access to jobs and education. It can mean paying more for essentials, financial exclusion, data and information poverty, and an increased risk of stress.
People who are socially excluded also lack a voice and visibility in the modern world. This is epitomize by the number of grassroot and community organisations tackling digital inclusion and serving BAME communities, but still remain social excluded and marginally represented.
Social cohesion on the other hand is a related concept that parallels that of social integration in many respects. A socially cohesive society is one where all groups have a sense of belonging, participation, inclusion, recognition and legitimacy.
Such societies are not necessarily demographically homogenous. Rather, by respecting diversity, they harness the potential residing in their societal diversity (in terms of ideas, opinions, skills, etc.). Therefore, they are less prone to slip into destructive patterns of tension and conflict when different interests collide.
Why we do what we do
Millions of people in the UK don’t have the basic skills they need to thrive in today’s world