DEI, I&D, DEIB, or IDEA – Various Diversity Acronyms and What They Mean

DEI, I&D, DEIB, or IDEA – Various Diversity Acronyms and What They Mean

You may have seen multiple diversity acronyms on social or at work like DEI, I&D, DEIB, and IDEA. If you’re confused about what these terms mean and why there are so many, you’re not the only one. I’ve put together a quick guide explaining what they mean and what the differences are.

D&I – Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and inclusion are interconnected concepts but not the same. Diversity is about the makeup of the organization, with a specific focus on underrepresented groups. In a workplace this could mean ethnicity, race, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, or socioeconomic status. Inclusion is about how much the contributions and perspectives of different groups of people are valued in the organization.

Companies that use D&I / I&D: Apple, Cornell University

DEI – Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

DEI includes the term “equity”, which means that processes and programs are fair and impartial, and offer equal possible outcomes for any individual. Aspects often discussed in equity work are salary, benefits, and opportunities for promotions.

Companies that use DEI: Google, Johnson & Johnson, ServiceNow, T-Mobile

DEIB – Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging

Companies that use DEIB will emphasize that being “included” does not necessarily mean that you have a sense of “belonging” in an organization. Author Liz Fosslien differentiates the terms by describing diversity as “having a seat at the table,” inclusion as “having a voice at the table”, and belonging as “having that voice being heard.” Brene Brown uses a belonging statement in her organization because “people should feel a strong sense of belonging in an organization and share the culture through representation, co-creation, influence, and that inextricable, un-namable, spiritual connection that is shared humanity (emphasis hers).”

Companies that use DEIB: Workday, UC Berkeley, Chalkbeat

IDEA – Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access

Those that use IDEA want to specifically mention “Access” as an important aspect of their work. This includes the universal concept of access as well as accessibility from a disability perspective. These organizations might seek to advance access to healthcare, to clean water, to funding, or to justice in communities that have been historically denied access. They may also want to emphasize flexibility to accommodate the needs and preferences of individuals who experience disabilities. The means that people of any and all abilities are included in all programs and activities in the organization, and have the opportunity to fully participate.

Companies that use IDEA: Amnesty International, AEO Inc., AFP Global

The name of your organization’s department reflects the unique culture and vision of your company. If you are in the process of developing a name, discuss this with the company’s leadership team and your own team to determine which acronym best represents the progress that you want to see and the “why” behind the work.

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