Living in a country that is known for its multiculturalism and diversity, diverse voices need to be represented at all levels of government to reflect the needs and challenges of the society that we live in. The diverse voices are integral to the socio-economic framework of cities. As we are leading into municipal elections here in British Columbia, the importance of diverse voices has been coming to light and how they impact the economy.

At the recent BC Economic Forum: Women as a Catalyst for Growth, cases were presented how important it is to be, “supporting women in business as it is an economic opportunity.” The discussion at this forum was partially based on a DELL study, which showed that companies with more women board directors outperform those with the fewest female board directors by 66 percent ROI capital, 53 percent return on equity and 42 percent return on sales.

These statistics show the importance of having women on the various councils at the different levels of government. Women at the table help to support the economy and address local issues such as program development, services for the various segments of the community and local employment.

The 2011 Global Gender Gap Report from the World Economic Forum emphasized that, “diverse leadership is most likely to find innovative solutions to tackle the current economic challenges and to build equitable and sustainable growth.” This diverse leadership not only includes gender, sexuality but includes that of the ethnic voice. The diversity of voices enables the councils to understand the spectrum underlying the challenges along with the myriad of solutions that are available to ensure more viable cities.

As one of the co-founders of Be Your Own Best Friend, and a Personal/Business Coach, there are many times that I am one of the few South Asians representing my voice in the room when it comes to making recommendations to the various governmental levels. Being a part of the 7% of South Asians in British Columbia, I am not confident that the voice of a few “diverse” individuals at the various tables is enough to fully realize the depths of the possibilities that exist in order to address some of the issues of society. This outlines the importance of ensuring that the diverse voices representing the society are voted into office.

Do you just vote for someone because they appear “diverse?”

Each vote has a significant impact on the end result. One vote contributes to the tight races that sometimes exist between candidates and each party. Therefore it is of uttermost importance that each vote supports the best candidate. A vote should be based on their platform, their motivation for running and their experience, not just their ethnicity or gender. As a society, we need to ensure that the most qualified elected members are making the policy decisions. It is important that each person votes based on the individual instead of utilizing votes on people who are similar to them, as subconsciously that is what happens. Historically, individuals do vote and support those who have similar features; family backgrounds or they have been told to vote for.

The emphasis should be placed on the importance in researching the candidate’s platform, attending the debates and even personally approaching the candidates to understand their stance on issues pertaining to the local community.

The consideration of candidates that are from diversity background, will impact the day-to-day experience within each of the particular cities. This diversity of voices will bring a different perspective to the discussion that impacts the children and the community. As a voter, allow those diverse voices to impact the economy in the most positive and profitable manner.