Appendix 10: Glossary of Key Terms

Diversity is the range of visible and invisible qualities, experiences and identities that shape who we are, how we think, and how we engage with and are perceived by the world. These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical or mental abilities, religious/spiritual beliefs or political ideologies. They can also include differences such as personality, style, capabilities and thoughts/perspectives. [1]

Equality is treating everyone the same, regardless of their needs.

Equity is fairness, making sure everyone has what they need to succeed and removing barriers that disadvantage some groups over others. This is distinct and may be different from treating people equally.[2]

Inclusion is what a community, group or organization does, or how it acts to ensure that individuals feel welcomed, valued and supported as members.[3]

Oppression results from institutional privilege and power. When one group benefits at the expense of another group that does not receive access to the same power or privilege, this creates marginalization and subjugation of the group and the people from that group.[4] [5]

Privilege refers to the right (or exemption) granted to an individual or group as an advantage because they fall into a particular identity category, not because they have earned it. This privilege gives the individual or group institutional power simply because of their identity.[6]

Tokenism is the practice of doing something only to prevent criticism and give the appearance that people are being treated fairly (such as hiring a person who belongs to a minority group).[7].

Unconscious bias refers to the information, attitudes, and stereotypes that inform our subconscious mental shortcuts which allow us to process immense amounts of information every day. While unconscious information-processing is a critical part of human functioning, these mental associations happen without awareness, without intention and without control, and often introduce errors into decision-making.[8] [9]

  1. Ontario Public Service Inclusion and Diversity Blueprint (2017). Retrieved from Inclusion and Diversity Blueprint Sun, A. (September 16, 2014). Equality is not Enough: What the Classroom Has Taught me About Justice. Retrieved from Everyday Feminism
  2. Ontario Public Service (2017)
  3. Morley (2018)
  4. Goldbach, J. (October 25, 2017). Diversity Toolkit: A Guide to Discussing Identity, Power and Privilege.
  5. Timothy, Roberta (2016).  Glossary from the Intersectionality, Anti-Oppression and Collaborative Leadership in Practice Learning Institute.
  6. Goldbach (2017)
  7. Sherrer, Kara (February 26, 2018). What is Tokenism: And why does it matter in the workplace? Owen School of Management, Vanderbilt University. Retrieved from Vanderbilt University
  8. ParadigmIQ (2016). Managing Unconscious Bias: Strategies to Manage Bias and Build More Diverse, Inclusive Organizations. Retrieved from Managing Unconscious Bias
  9. Hunt, David B. (2016). Unconscious Bias--What is it? Retrieved from InDemand Interpreting.


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