What Are the Advantages of Diversity in Politics?
A government for, by and of the people should naturally include a wide variety of voices, but American politics has traditionally been dominated by white males. According to the "Diversity Gap" study series published by Lee & Low Books, for example, just 10 percent of state governors in 2013 were either females or people of color. While it's not possible to take every single voice into account in politics, political diversity can help ensure that, among other advantages, the largest number are heard.
1 Enhanced Service to Constituents
Politicians serve increasingly diverse communities with vastly different needs. For example, minorities, people with disabilities and the elderly all have group-specific concerns that should be addressed by individuals who understand those concerns. Political diversity grants constituents access to civil servants who speak the same language - both literally and figuratively - which can lead to increased voter participation and satisfaction.
2 Broader Frame of Reference
A white male government -- or any other single-sex, single-race government -- is unable to work from any point of view other than that of a white male. Other sexes, races and ethnicities bring to the table different ways of looking at an issue and can point out angles that had not been previously considered. Diversity in politics helps ensure that no issue is examined from only one comparatively narrow point of view. Additionally, it can "train" politicians to seek out differing points of view on future issues.
3 Better Politicians
The brightest and most effective politicians do not all come from one particular group. Reaching out to minority communities and encouraging interested individuals to participate in politics has potentially enormous benefits. For example, it draws on a larger pool of candidates, increasing the chances that the very best will take office. It also encourages political participation by traditionally marginalized groups, helping to bring their particular issues to the forefront. Diversifying candidates, in turn, diversifies policy.
4 Varied Skills and Passions
Political diversity doesn't have to be all about race or sex. Diverse backgrounds, skills and passions are also advantageous in politics, where different issues and constituencies often call for different measures of communication. For example, if everyone has an Ivy League education, but no one has good public speaking skills, all of that education is largely lost on constituents who want to hear and trust their political leaders. Similarly, too much focus on one policy area, such as trade, can be harmful. Diverse political leaders can help focus attention on smaller policy areas.