The Differences Between Diversity, Equity & Inclusion...

Updated: Jul 31

Ritu Bhasin/Ritu Talks: The Difference Between Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

When looking at separate definitions of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), some might argue these concepts are one and the same. Why? - because some see DEI through the “pro vs con” prism of (AA) Affirmative Action. Though complimentary, just as, (EEO) Equal Employment Opportunity as well as other programs designed to seek equity in the workplace, DEI has its own workplace objectives apart from any of these other programs.

A good question to ask when making the distinction between components of DEI is, if we have diversity, does it not mean we automatically have inclusion, or does both diversity and inclusion guarantee there is equity among workers in the workplace? Let’s start with definitions of D-E-I:

Ferris State University defines “Diversity” and “Inclusion” as:

Diversity: 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 systems, national origin, and political beliefs.

Inclusion: Is involvement and empowerment, where the inherent worth and dignity of all people are recognized. An inclusive university promotes and sustains a sense of belonging; it values and practices respect for the talents, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of living of its members.

Merriam-Webster defines “equity” as:

Equity: Justice according to natural law or right specifically: freedom from bias or favoritism.

So, in reading these definitions, it’s clear that DEI principles fall under a workplace ‘diversity, inclusion and equity’ umbrella aimed at unifying and empowering all workers.

Practically speaking DEI programs help managers create a culturally dynamic workforce…. The goal is the establishment of an environment that is diverse, inclusive, engaging, productive and equitable... And where managers, employees, customers, and all stakeholders have a collective vested interest and benefit when this environment produces the resultant innovations and productivity for which the founders, owners, employees, and stakeholders labor toward.
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