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Diversity as seen in sociology and political studies is the degree of differences in identifying features among the members of a purposefully defined group, such as any group differences in racial or ethnic classifications, age, gender, religion, philosophy, physical abilities, socioeconomic background, sexual orientation, gender identity, intelligence, mental health, physical health, genetic attributes, personality, behavior or attractiveness.
When measuring human diversity, a diversity index exemplifies the likelihood that two randomly selected residents have different ethnicities. If all residents are of the same ethnic group it is zero by definition. If half are from one group and half from another, it is 50. The diversity index does not take into account the willingness of individuals to cooperate with those of other ethnicities.
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities affirms to "respect difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities as human diversity and humanity" for protection of human rights of persons with disabilities.
Political creeds which support the idea that diversity is valuable and desirable hold that recognizing and promoting these diverse cultures may aid communication between people of different backgrounds and lifestyles, leading to greater knowledge, understanding, and peaceful coexistence. For example, "Respect for Diversity" is one of the six principles of the Global Greens Charter, a manifesto subscribed to by Green parties from all over the world. In contrast to diversity, some political creeds promote cultural assimilation as the process to lead to these ends.
This use of diversity in this sense also extends to American academy, where in an attempt to create a "diverse student body" typically supports the recruitment of students from historically excluded populations, such as students of African-American or Latino background as well as women in such historically underrepresented fields as the sciences.
Corporations make commitments to diversity in their personnel both for reasons of brand halo and competitive advantage, but progress is slow.