Module 1: Key Concepts in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion


Welcome to Module 1: Key Concepts in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion!

To say that we live in precarious times is not an exaggeration. This series of modules on equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) was prepared in the context of a global COVID pandemic. Certainly, the pandemic exposed domestic and global inequalities as evidenced by gaps in vaccine access and immunization rates between “have” and “have-not” states. But the pandemic alone cannot explain the precarity. Warming temperatures contribute to extreme weather and human displacement and pose a protection risk for persons with disabilities (“Disability Displacement”). Global migration flows at unprecedented scales which have spawned new offshore detention centres and unapologetic nationalism. Digital technologies and the rapid growth of the platform economy potentially increase the vulnerability of gig workers, including migrants and persons from racialized groups. Transnational social movements expressed in “I can’t breathe”, “Idle No More” and “Me Too” declare the rejection of the status quo. These phenomena bespeak an urgency for action. Equity, diversity and inclusion discourses and practices are one response by international organizations, governments and employers.

This module, the first in a seven-part series, explores understandings of each of the three constituent terms, their differences, and how they are enacted in the workplace. By doing so, it synthesizes scholarship in multiple fields including gender, Black, settler-colonial, organizational behaviour and psychology, disability and cultural studies. Any project of this scope will be necessarily incomplete and, in this case, should be treated as a primer and not a comprehensive source. Keeping this in mind, this module sets the stage for a more detailed analysis regarding the role of EDI policies and practices in countering racism (Anti-Indigenous and Anti-Black Racism in Modules 2 and 3, respectively), Ableism & Accessibility (Module 4), Gender Equity and 2SLGBTQIA+ and Transgender Inclusion (Module 5 and 6), and Understanding Harassment (Module 7).

Each module comprises seven sections: i) Introduction, which outlines the purpose and learning objectives; ii) Pre-Assessment exercise; iii) Key Concepts that ground the discussion; iv) In the Workplace, which explores the implications for employers and workers; v) Now You that looks at the actions an individual can undertake; vi) Summary synthesizing the key takeaways; vii) Post-Assessment knowledge checks; and viii) Further Resources for continued learning. Each module is accompanied by a simulation exercise that highlights selected issues from the module. Overall, the structure and content attempts to provide theoretical and practical knowledge, along with an opportunity to explore specific equity issues, including the experiences of people who are members of those communities and groups within the context of the workplace and employment.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this module, you should be able to:

  1. Define equity, diversity and inclusion and how they are operationalized in the workplace.
  2. Describe how individual, organizational, and systemic factors inter-relate and create or reinforce social exclusion/inclusion.
  3. Differentiate types of microaggressions and give examples related to anti-Black racism, anti-Indigenous racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and ableism.
  4. Reflect on how you can create and promote inclusive, safe and respectful environments through personal and professional actions.

Disclaimer on Language

Some language in this module may be offensive.


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Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Practice Copyright © 2022 by Experiential Learning Hub, Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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