Here are some common terms used in relation to equality, diversity and inclusion:
Diversity – recognising that people have many different identities, attributes, abilities, cultures and backgrounds.
The ‘protected characteristics’ of the Equality Act might also be referred to as ‘diversity characteristics’ and include age, disability, gender identity and reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race (ethnicity, nationality, national origin, skin colour), religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.
Equality – treating people fairly and in a non-discriminatory way in order for them to achieve their own potential and access services or opportunities on an equal basis as others (equality of opportunity).
Because some people may need additional support or experience barriers that cause exclusion, it doesn’t necessarily mean ‘treating everyone the same’. The word equity is rooted in justice and is now used more to describe equality of outcomes.
Inclusion – considering the needs and ambitions of diverse people so everyone can access services or employment and other opportunities. Breaking down barriers that cause exclusion and developing approaches that result in integration, involvement, collaboration and a sense of belonging across all diversity characteristics.
Prejudice – thoughts; making assumptions, judgements, based upon little or no facts. Also known as ‘unconscious bias’.
Discrimination – an action which excludes a person or people. It can include putting prejudice into action, not considering diversity, favouring someone over another (based upon their diversity characteristics), or using personal hatred or dislike of a culture/identity to disadvantage someone or a group of people.
There are specific definitions of types of unlawful discrimination within the Equality Act.