skip to main content

What does equality and diversity mean and why it matters

Equality is not about treating everybody the same.

It goes without saying that everybody should be treated fairly and equally regardless of their race, sex, sexuality or any of the other protected characteristics. That said, treating someone fairly can sometimes mean having to treat them differently to take into account their circumstances and enable them to participate on equal terms.

A musician with full sight, for example, does not require Braille scores, or a Trans musician may need extra support whilst transitioning that a cisgender musician will not. Equality is about levelling the playing field so everybody has access to the same opportunities. 

Diversity is about recognising individual as well as group differences, and aims to create an inclusive culture for all.

Diversity values and respects people’s differences to ensure everybody’s needs and requirements are met. Supporting diversity in music could be something as simple as changing the music you teach so you’re not only teaching white European composers or making sure your rehearsal space is accessible to musicians with disabilities.

Equality and diversity leads to more innovation and more opportunities for everyone, and better access to talent.

Working with people from different backgrounds and with different experiences allows us to learn and get a new perspective.

The benefits of equality and diversity are clear but this doesn’t mean embracing equality and diversity is easy. The MU works with a range of members and organisations to ensure best practice is highlighted, implemented and adhered to regarding equality and diversity issues. 

Contact MU Equalities team

If you’d like to discuss any other matter related to music and equal rights at work, contact us on 020 7840 5506 or email us.

The MU and EDI

The Musicians’ Union is dedicated to representing the diversity of its membership.

John Shortell
John ShortellEqualities, Diversity and Inclusion Official

Guidance and resources

Latest news and features

Photograph of an orchestra set out in a socially distanced way, we can see all the musicians sat out across the stage in distanced positions, whilst a conductor gestures from the front.

Life in Lockdown for UK Orchestras

In this longer-read feature, find out more about how UK orchestras have been faring through the pandemic – including taking on remote recording projects, working in creative new directions, and putting health and safety first in the move back to work.

Read more about Life in Lockdown for UK Orchestras