Defining DEI
“Diversity is having a seat at the table, inclusion is having a voice, belonging is having that voice heard.” Liz Fosslien & Mollie West Duffy
DEI stands for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. DEI work aims to center these values in our day-to-day lives and to create spaces where our unique identities and experiences are heard, valued and celebrated. Here are some practical definitions to provide a deeper explanation of each of these values:
Diversity: “Having or being composed of differing elements.” We all have our characteristics that make us unique. Diversity can look like differences in gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, age, physical abilities, cognitive styles, religious beliefs, political beliefs, and more.
Equity: Equity recognizes each person has specific circumstances and needs, meaning different groups of people need different resources and opportunities allocated to them in order to thrive, especially if one party is at a distinct historical or systemic disadvantage. Equity is achieved when barriers based on gender, race, sexual orientation, and other identities are removed and have no influence on a person’s education, health, or socioeconomic outcome.
Inclusion: Inclusion is a value that creates space and belonging for everyone: it’s intentional and everyone has a seat at the table and a voice. It’s easy to include those who are the same as us. But authentic inclusion means welcoming in everyone, particularly those who have historically been excluded from certain spaces, activities, meetings, and/or groups.

  • This article provides several examples of what equity looks like practically in the workplace.

  • Check out what diversity can look like in this great YouTube video, “I am: Embracing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Curriculum Preview.” (1:33 mins)