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‘The Equal Opportunities Handbook’ by Phil Clements and Tony Spinks

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The Equal Opportunities Handbook, 3rd edition: How to deal with everyday issues of unfairness.
By Phil Clements and Tony Spinks
Kogan Page, 2000
Paperback, 167 pages
£14.99. ISBN 0 7494 3119 9

This 3rd edition of a book first published in 1994 is a fully updated and revised version. It is a practical, realistic and usable publication that should be required reading for every manager, supervisor, team leader and HR personnel, at all levels. Trainers, whether or not involved in equal opportunities training will find it invaluable for their own operation and training planning in what is now very much a multi-'ism' society. Most of the problems that arise between people stem from misunderstanding or non-understanding of the differences between individuals and groups, and the book highlights these in racism, sexism, sexuality, disability and religion – the major areas of potential problems.

The book is formed in 10 chapters including 'How to be fair' – the avoidance of prejudice and the nurturing of empathy, understanding and sensitivity; 'The Role of language' – particularly the dangers of '-ist' language; 'Being in a majority group' – what it is like to be in either a majority or minority group; 'Racism' – includes the personal and group myths that have arisen eg 'They should go back where they came from' and 'When in Rome do as the Romans do'. Other chapters deal with the differences, problems that can and do arise, and how to deal with them effectively, of Sexism, Sexuality, Disability and Religion (this has an excellent summary of the features and effects of the major religions). The final chapter contains descriptive accounts and summaries of the laws and regulations applying to Equal Opportunities and reference links (including web site addresses) to the major agencies.

In my reviews of the first edition I gave the book an unreserved recommendation for the groups mentioned at the start of this review – this recommendation is repeated here, again without reservation.

Leslie Rae
May 2000

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