Skip main navigation

What is Inclusion, diversity, equality, equity and belonging?

In this article, we'll explore and define the terms 'inclusion', 'diversity', 'equality', 'equity' and 'belonging'.
© CIPD

Let’s explore and define these terms: inclusion, diversity, equality, equity and belonging.

“Diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance.”
Vernā Myers

“Equity is taking the lead on organising the party, belonging is having different genre of music to dance to.”

Source: FWD Collective. Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging Report 2021

Diversity is about representation across all dimensions of human differences, equity is about providing equal access, and inclusion is about fostering a sense of value and empowerment in employees. Inclusion is the practice of ensuring that people feel a sense of belonging in the workplace where they can thrive.

Inclusion

Inclusion refers to the intentional, ongoing effort to ensure that diverse individuals fully participate in all aspects of organisational work, including decision-making processes. It also refers to the ways that diverse participants are valued as respected members of an organisation and/or community.

“Inclusion elevates all.”
Elaine Hall

Diversity

Diversity is the range of human differences, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, social class, physical ability or attributes, religious or ethical values system, national origin, and political beliefs.

“Diversity may be the hardest thing for a society to live with, and perhaps the most dangerous thing for a society to be without.”
William Sloane Coffin, Jr.

Equality & Equity

Equality can come from systemic thinking – when growing up as a child, we are taught that sharing and dividing sweets with each other equally is perceived as being equal and fair. Equality is seen as giving everyone the same chance or opportunity at the same task.

Equity considers the different needs that an individual may have or need to complete a given task fairly. Giving people the resources and support they need to be on a level playing field.

Equality is assuming that everyone starts in the same place. Equity is giving people what they need to raise up to the same level and same outcome.

“Equality is treating everyone the same. But equity is taking differences into account, so everyone has a chance to succeed.”
Jodi Picoult, Small Great Things

Belonging

Belonging is a warm feeling of connection and our need for it is universal.

When employees are truly included, they perceive that the organisation cares for them as individuals and their authentic selves.

The goal is to create environments where everyone feels that they are accepted, understood, welcomed, valued, and appreciated.

“Love, belonging and connection are the universal sources of true wellbeing.”
Unknown

© CIPD
This article is from the free online

Inclusive Management and Leadership Skills

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now