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DEI Definitions

By: Jessica MousseauDiversity Insights
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DEI Definitions

Explore key DEI definitions and concepts to enhance workplace diversity, equity, and inclusion with our comprehensive glossary.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are three interconnected terms adopted by organizations committed to creating an accepting, supportive, and respectful work culture where people of all races, religions, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, and abilities can collaborate. This sense of belonging helps employees feel appreciated for who they are.

This blog will feature a list of DEI definitions to expand your knowledge. A DEI definition is a statement of the meaning of a word relating to DEI. This glossary will feature words related to the concepts associated with diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Commonly-Used DEI Definitions

Diversity refers to a community composed of people with varied cultural backgrounds, races, ages, physical abilities and disabilities, sexes, gender identities, sexual orientations, or religions, to name a few. Diversity represents who is represented among employees.

There are many different examples of diversity in the workplace:

  • Gender diversity is the composition of people (women, men, or nonbinary)
  • Age diversity refers to the generations or mix of ages in a group of employees
  • Ethnic diversity refers to the variety of cultural or national traditions or backgrounds
  • Neurodiversity refers to neurodiverse employees

Equity differs from equality in that equality treats everyone equally, while equity considers each person’s specific circumstances to ensure fair treatment.

Inclusion involves ensuring equal access to resources and opportunities to people who might otherwise be excluded, such as people of color, minorities, or those living with a physical or intellectual disability. This is an achievement in the workplace where all employees are treated respectfully and fairly and can contribute equally to the organization’s success.

Cultural competency is transforming knowledge about individuals and groups to form policies or attitudes that increase the quality of services, such as healthcare.

Intersectionality is a concept in DEI that explores how different forms of discrimination or disadvantage can overlap for individuals or groups.

DEI Definitions Regarding Bias

Bias is a predisposition or inclination that interferes with impartial judgment.

Conscious or explicit bias refers to the beliefs that someone holds and is aware of.

Unconscious bias or implicit bias refers to the unintentional beliefs that someone has that are expressed indirectly, causing people to make assumptions based on limited information about a person or group of people.

Microaggressions are statements or actions that reflect indirect or unintentional discrimination against people or a specific marginalized group.

DEI Terms Regarding Race & Ethnicity

Please note that these DEI definitions are intended to provide a starting point for understanding DEI concepts. Each term has a rich history and ongoing dialogue, and variations may vary depending on the context.

BIPOC is an acronym for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.

Ethnicity refers to the cultural traits that people from the same social group share together.

People of color is a term used in the United States to describe those who are not white.

Prejudice is the unjustifiable attitude toward an individual or group based on their characteristics.

Race is a set of traits defining an individual or group belonging to a specific social category.

Racism is a belief system that results in mistreatment and oppression of people of color.

Expand Your DEI Strategy With a Diversity Calendar

While it is important to learn about DEI definitions like the ones we shared, it is much more powerful to take action to remain committed to DEI every day. Our Diversity Calendar features thousands of events to keep you informed of days that matter to your staff and allow you to schedule inclusively. This essential tool helps you celebrate your team’s rich diversity and offers a way to counteract conformity bias.

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