Minority groups have always been part of every society. In any given society, there are those people who are considered weak or lesser by virtue of one aspect or another most of which are natural.
Women have for a long time considered as minority groups in many societies; always taking the second place after men and always being denies opportunities which they deserve just by the mere fact that they are women.
However over the years, the situation has changes and most minority groups and especially women have come out strongly to defend their position in the society.
They have formed unions under whose umbrella they fight for their rights ensuring that they are not discriminated against just by the mere fact that they are women.
Women have also managed to fight for a level paying ground and an equal platform just their male counterparts so that positions of leadership and other influential positions are given by merit and not based on gender or any other consideration.
This discussion looks at the range of actions that minority groups are taking to advance their interests within the union movement and what other actions they could take to further their cause. Special attention will be paid to the different strategies and methods that minority groups are currently using or might use to further their goals.
Who is a Minority Group?
A minority group is segregated group in a society which always small and hence the name minority which is hardly incorporated or recognizes as part of the society. More often, this people are ignored or sort of disregarded and they are not sufficiently involved in social matters especially those that regard development.
It is the continued sidelining of minority groups over the years that has resulted to the minority groups coming up with various strategies so as to advance their interests and ensure that they also participate actively in various developmental issues and other issues that are of societal concern.
Minority groups are based on a number of factors mainly gender, age, sexual affiliation or general perceptions held by an individual (Simpson & Yinger, 2005, p. 43).
In the modern society, the most common minority groups include women based on their gender, children based on their age, lesbians and gays based on their sexual affiliation and other people who hold views that are not very popular with the rest of the society.
As experience may have proven, it is not always easy to live under the umbrella of stereotype that most minority groups have to contend with. It is as if you do not belong in your very own society.
It is a stereotype that has seen most of those belonging to minority groups attempt to break away if only to be treated in more “normal” way.
However, with the strategies discussed below, it has become easier for these groups to find a place in the society where they could lead a productive life in the society and prove to the rest of the society that they are no different and can do equally good if not better just like everybody else.
One strategy that has proven successful in helping minority groups advance their interests is joining union movements. Usually, a union movement is a group of people who come together with the main goals of ensuring that their interests are taken care of.
Union movements are common especially among workers in different sectors who come together to ensure that all their rights are respected and that they are able to advance other common interests they may have.
It has also been noted that unlike in the past where most minority groups considered themselves lesser in their manner and behavior, this has since changed as most minority groups now consider themselves equal with other people (Whitley & Kite, 2009, p. 65).
In the past, most minority groups seemed to agree with the rest of the community that indeed they were lesser and did not have as equal rights as the rest of the people to access opportunities in different aspects of life.
Minority groups have now come out strongly to show the rest of the world that being small in number of holding a view or perception that is not as popular does not make them any less. They have therefore become more assertive than they were previously and this has by and large helped them advance their interests.
Unity is another aspect that has helped minority groups thrive and advance e their interest in the increasingly hostile society. Minority groups have been teaming up to form groups of their own with vested interests.
For instance, women who have for a long time been considered as minority in many societies have found ways of empowering themselves by coming together to form groups which they use to come up with projects that are highly beneficial to them and to the society in general.
Women for instance perhaps due to the fact that it is one of the minority groups that has been with the society for years has become more vocal than any other minority groups.
Women have come out strongly to assert their positions and there are now more women in positions of leadership and power more than there were a couple of years back. Women have also formed various help groups and have come up with very successful projects most of which are income generating.
Thus, besides providing a steady income to these women, they are also beneficial to the society and they have helped the general society change their general perception about women.
Another strategy that most minority groups are using to advance their interest and further their goals is by teaming with non-governmental organizations who provide funding that is required to help kick start their projects.
The non governmental organizations have been very instrumental especially in supporting women groups implement their projects thus making the society a better place.
Another strategy that has helped minority groups come out from what is seen as cacoon is by actively participating in forums of national issues and general societal concern.
Women for instance have been participating in religious issues and some are already holding positions of importance in the religious domain.
About a decade ago, women could not be allowed to hold such positions. Women and other minority groups have therefore come out to show the rest of the society that indeed they have equal potential and can equally perform well when given an opportunity.
Minority groups have also been holding demonstration in an attempt to have the voice heard. These peaceful demonstrations have helped a great deal because even the government listens to these groups when they demonstrate.
The essence of these demonstrations is to make an assertive voice to the government, policy makers and the society in general that the minority groups also have a right to be involved and adequately so in the participation of making decisions.
Of all the minority groups that there are, the women and the young people can be said to be the most successful. Perhaps this is because the basis on which they are considered to be a minority group is not controversial.
Lesbians and gays have not been having to easy in trying to find their position in the society. Perhaps due to the fact many people in the society based on their upbringing do not consider these practices correct, the minority groups may be said to be finding it even more challenging than women and young people have.
They have however continued to hold peaceful demonstrations asking the society to view them as normal whose sexual affiliation should not be used to alienate them.
Unlike when these practices first merged, the society seems to be slowly accepting this group of people although there is still a tendency to look at this group of people as though they are not normal.
People suffering from disabilities are also part of minority groups and they have also had a fair share of challenges in having the society accept them and consider them as equally potential people who can deliver when given an opportunity to (Sproule, 1989, p. 123).
The media has played a major role in highlighting the plight of minority groups and influencing the society to start viewing these people from a different angle. Currently, there are several people with disabilities who are holding managerial positions and this goes to show that the society is changing positively and learning to accept that disability is not inability.
Other tactics that minority groups may use to further their goals and ensure that they have an impact in the society is by ensuring that they are more united than ever before ( Pentassuglia, 2009, p. 54).
It has been noted that while segregated groups form unions to represent their rights and interests, the majority of people are left out and this means that there are many people belonging to the minority groups especially at the grass root level who do not have any support.
It is important therefore for the lobby groups to ensure that all persons falling under the category of minority groups are well represented. Collaboration with civil rights movements is yet another strategy that will work well in helping the minority groups further their goals.
Women are perhaps the best example of a minority group that has managed to liberate themselves using most of the above discussed tactics. In the modern world, the woman is holding just as good a position just her male counterpart.
In this century, minority groups have risen to show the rest of the society that they are equally part of the society and that they also have a big part to play in making the world a better place.
If the trend that most minorities groups are taking is anything to go by, then it would be correct to say that in a couple of years to come, there may in fact not be any minority groups in the society. Instead, there will be many different groups with different agendas but bring considered as rightfully belonging to the larger society.
Pentassuglia, G. (2009). Minority groups and judicial discourse in international law: a comparative perspective. LA: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.
Simpson, G. & Yinger, J. (1985). Racial and cultural minorities: an analysis of prejudice and discrimination. London: Springer.
Sproule, W. (1989). Minority Groups. New York: Gage.
Whitley, B. & Kite, M. (2009). The psychology of prejudice and discrimination. New York: Francis and Taylor.