Diversity, Equality and Inclusion in Mediation for Family Relations
In this article, I discuss how diversity shapes mediation when the latter is adopted for the purpose of resolving quarrels between family members, and I explore how mediation can become more inclusive to accommodate diversity and enhance equality. Diversity permeates how families are created, their structures and the relations within them. Similarly, diversity involves the roles that family members play within the family unit. There is also the diversity brought by the various social identities of the family members who are in dispute, and those identities in turn intersect with the family members’ identity as disputants. All these manifestations of diversity have an impact on the nature of family disputes and their resolution. However, the current institutional and professional approaches to mediation practice seem to oversimplify the nature of family, family relations, family disputes and family disputants, especially in terms of diversity. Thus, research and improvements in understanding and practice are needed to ensure that resolutions are reached respecting diversity and enhancing equality and inclusion. Here, I propose a contextualized and integrated approach that shapes mediation interventions in accordance with family diversity. Reflecting on diversity as it manifests in family relations and mediation will foster a renewed understanding of access to justice that builds upon kinship studies and intersectionality, whereby diversity, in all its manifestations, is a value.
Keywords: family relations; diversity; inclusion; mediation.
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