“Diversity, or the state of being different, isn’t the same as inclusion. One is a description of what is, while the other describes a style of interaction essential to effective teams and organizations.”
– Bill Crawford
There is an often used phrase that is used to help us remember the difference between diversity, and inclusion. It’s something along the lines of, ‘Diversity is when you count the people. Inclusion is when the people count.’ For marginalized communities, it is the difference between being tolerated, and being wholly accepted and celebrated for your contributions to society.
Diversity is focused on tracking characteristics and identities. It seeks to invite people who have previously been excluded based on gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, age or any other characteristics that people are negatively labeled with.
Inclusion is about welcoming and embracing diversity because of the benefits that it brings. It amplifies marginalized voices and ideas. Inclusion exercises diversity. It is is a conversation deepened by diversity.
Diversity + Equal Access = Inclusion
Diversity does not necessarily lead to inclusion. It can only do so when a sincere commitment to equal access to centers of power and authority. That requires that people currently in those centers identify and remove barriers to full and equitable participation. You can help them identify those barriers.
We can’t hope to convince society to embrace inclusion until we do so in our own communities, organizations and personal lives. What are you doing in your personal life to help create a more inclusive world?