What is the Difference?
I am not usually in favour of textbook definitions. Sometimes it does more harm than good, as it sets the mind to think about something in a particular way when the situation may dictate a more flexible understanding. However, when terms can be used somewhat interchangeably, it does help to distinguish their meanings to provide clarity. We will define Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity and put everything together. Definitions are as per Webster’s Dictionary (Merriam-Webster.com) Diversity: The inclusion of different types of people (such as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization .
Inclusion: The act or practice of including and accommodating people who have historically been excluded (as because of their race, gender, sexuality, or ability)
Equity: Freedom from bias or favouritism
Why Diversity Does Not Equal Inclusion
It is easy to use these terms interchangeably. Why this has some implications in application to environments we share is that if you have Diversity, by definition, you would automatically assume you have achieved Inclusion . However we know this is often not the case. Diversity indicates you physically have different people within your organization, and it really ends there. For many organizations this is an improvement and a starting point from which to advance, but is only the beginning.Looking further at Inclusion shows us that it is an act or practice . This takes commitment over a period of time to ensure that spaces are welcoming, and nurturing of who we really are.
Equity is the goal. It is when we have places that are free of bias and favouritism. This is the ideal state of any Company, Organization, or Learning Institution. In an Equitable environment, nobody feels the need to compromise their core values or true self . They are inspired to be productive as their contributions are recognized. They feel heard and encouraged to share their perspectives with the group or upper management.
Schools and Diversity: Our Greatest Opportunity
In a school , this looks like students that raise their hands no matter if they are Black, Indigenous, or a person of colour. There is no bias as to what their potential might be because of what group they belong to. An Asian child is encouraged to be creative, and a Black child who shows an aptitude in Math and Science is not steered towards athletics. Such would be the same for boys or girls , gender fluid children, or kids with conditions such as Autism or ADHD , or disabled students . Studies show it can take a year or two at least for true Inclusion to be realized, and that over 40% of Millenials and Gen Zer’s identify as part of a minority group.
This percentage is only expected to exponentially grow in the coming decades. A firm such as ours who are specialists in strategies to help you get an A+, can offer a clear set of initiatives in a confusing space where the terms and definitions themselves can be unclear.