Through most of my academic career, I studied the effect of European laws. It is interesting to note that since ascension of the Treaty of Rome in 1972, the UK has subscribed to a proxy constitution of rights set down by the European Union and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice (and Court of Human Rights).
Therefore, as we stumble towards an uncertain Brexit, the UK is set to again return to a democracy wholly without written constitution. Will that reverse equality and equity in our society and industry, which still remains in question today?
Meanwhile, the City is full of imagery - colonialism is the foundation of its identity. If Winston Churchill's statue can be defaced, then frankly most of the City is fair game to peaceful protestors.
Protest is a democratic right, as is the right to vote. One person, one vote is the foundation of our democracy in the UK. Nevertheless, any voting system can give rise to inequalities.
This is why it is so important who we elect and how parliamentarians uphold human rights. It is also why lobbying parliamentarians and Government is so important today.
Yet, despite European laws to the contrary, the UK has addressed equality sequentially rather than in parallel and arguably driven by the democratic leverage of women voters.
Here, equality should be easier to achieve (the populous broadly divided 50/50), yet change has been at best gradual.
Without greater democratic leverage, ethnic minorities do not just need equality but equity; that is a greater level of support than that offered by one person one vote representation in order to address discrimination.
This is where our lack of constitution appears blunt and ungainly. It is also why the diversity agenda has to gain support from the majority populous.
There have been two main actions to address diversity to date. The first is we add better diversity to board composition. We need more multi-lateral diversity on boards (not just gender) if we want boards to be diverse, so to look and feel like your customers, colleagues, investors and wider populous (society).
Might I suggest your board seeks to represent the greatest diversity across these key stakeholders groups; noting that one inequality does not proxy for another, they are not mutually interchangeable therefore all inequalities need to be pursued simultaneously?
This draws on the social agenda from ESG. As boards contemplate how ESG adds value, they should also assess themselves through a social lens.
The problem is that free market economics is hinged to a right-wing narrative of equality within inequality. The opposite of equity. That the few are free to profit on the many and this just resonates far too closely to colonialism to be easily accepted as a force for good.
Instead, if boards had a guiding social principle (or articles) of more diversified representation, then a broader range of issues could be assessed and societal value derived.