What professional decisions and actions we can take that support diverse talents while benefitting professions and the society they serve.


The concept of equality has been considered by British lawmakers since the 18th and early 19th centuries, and some even find roots going back to the Magna Carta. However, the legal framework around equality remains several generations behind modern progressive thought. While British law provides some safeguards against discrimination, it rarely follows the reciprocity logic of treating others as one wishes to be treated, let alone be guided by empathy in helping individuals achieve the most in their specific circumstances.

Professions play a significant role in quality of life and social discourse. In this talk, Amit explores both the essence of Professions & Professionalism, and the essence of Fair & Equitable Treatment in professional life. He explores what characteristics are protected in law, whether and where they may clash, what characteristics lack protection in law and make law work against Equality and Human Rights norms, where lawmakers end up narrowly group-thinking resulting in laws and national schemes that are discriminatory by design, and what we can do in professional life to address systemic discrimination we observe; before introducing the concept of Empathy, as a powerful enabler of inclusion and a tool for professionals to serve society better and improve their long-term social value.

About the speaker

Amit Bhagwat

Amit Bhagwat has been associated professionally with Information and Communication Sciences & Technologies through the past three decades, while maintaining a portfolio career and a Renaissance Man outlook that has exposed him to many professions and diverse aspects of professional life. His portfolio has also covered many highly responsible roles that can not be narrowly professionalised, among them as member and chair of boards across a range of sectors, including work with boards of professional regulators, learned professional bodies and the Professional Associations Research Network – which gave him opportunity to research into how over 100 different professional associations around the world defined their professions and professionalism. He has also served on a range of Scientific Advisory Bodies working with Objectivity and Rigour of a scientist and people and process skills of an engineering leader. In all these roles, Amit has also served as the Champion for what has variously been referred to as “Equality”, “Inclusion”, “Diversity”, etc.

He began a systematic approach to this building on his organisational capability and maturity development professional work, developed roadmaps through which organisations defined and matured processes and practices, underpinned through sound principles, where organisations were able to demonstrably improve, building on lessons learnt and institutionalised. Even as he has been working through such roles, he has also come across a barrage of narrow thinking, mediocrity and tokenism in the wider institutional and professional ecosystem, headed by the establishment. Besides often lacking regard for “not so conscious” bias and discrimination on factors that lack legal protection, such institutions also fail to appreciate Compounding Effects of Multiple Disadvantages.

Worst of all, they often “Discriminate through Equality” – creating organisational processes with minimum imagination and no empathy – processes that are only suitable for the narrow mainstream and so, when applied to all with “procedural equality”, become non-equitable. Amit has begun to address these issues with an approach rooted in empathy, openness, Inclusivity and Social Mobility, that goes beyond narrow characteristics, that can be individualised, and that can help all in the society without leaving anyone behind. This approach has made his work able to support all environments and has helped institutions and professionals serve the society well. His approach has also begun to be taken up by some of the Public Sector institutions he has worked with, although the law underpinning what diversity monitoring they should conduct remains outdated.

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This event is brought to you by: BCS Software Practice Advancement specialist group

Empathy and Inclusion in Professional Life
Date and time
Wednesday 8 March, 6:30pm - 8:00pm
BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT
Ground Floor, 25 Copthall Avenue
This event is sold out