The concepts of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) have in recent years become increasingly used by organisations, including universities, to signal their efforts to promote equitable environments.
Yet, these concepts do not necessarily fit together easily – equality, particularly formal equality, may struggle to incorporate diversity and may not, on its own, lead to inclusion – and the value of diversity is often lost in the quest for equality.
The challenge of creating substantive equality for all is one that feminists have long grappled with.
In the MA in Gender, Globalisation and Rights at NUI Galway, students also grapple with these challenges, formally within their Feminist and Gender Theorising module, but also personally as they live the experience of undertaking a postgraduate degree in a setting marked by the diversity of the students themselves.
In the work of Chandra Mohanty, one of the theorists examined in the programme, they find one way of engaging with the often at-odds experience of being both a part and different. While for Mohanty, the recognition of our “common differences” emerged through a critique of colonialism and the exploitation of the Global South, the concept has broad applications in understanding the interactions between self and other, insider and outsider, belonging and separation.
As she explains,  Chandra Talpade Mohanty promoted the concept of “common differences” in the 1983 conference she organised as a graduate student, Common Differences, Third World Women and Feminist Perspectives (Urbana, Illinois). Her use of the concept was further developed in her 2003 publication, Under Western Eyes Revisited: Feminist Solidarity through Anti-Capitalist Struggles, in Signs, 28(2): 499-535.