Diversity speaks to the variety of unique dimensions, qualities and characteristics that make us different as individuals.
Inherent diversity – race, gender, religion
Acquired diversity – work experience, language skills
Gender diversity – an umbrella term that refers to a wide range of gender-related identities and ways of expression
Inclusion is the collective. It is creating a culture that strives for equity, and embraces, respects, accepts and values individual differences.
Diversity & Inclusion means respect for, and appreciation of, differences in ethnicity, gender, age, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, education, and religion; and to create an environment that values, celebrates and respects individuals for their talents, skills and abilities to the benefit of the collective.
Gender equality refers to equal chances or opportunities for groups of people, regardless of gender, to access and control social, economic and political resources, including protection under the law (such as health services, education and voting rights). Gender equality means that we all enjoy the same rights, resources, opportunities and protections. Because power structures in societies across the world mostly privilege boys and men, advancing gender equality most often requires addressing disadvantages faced by girls and women. At the same time, gender inequality pervades personal, family and social relationships and institutions, and affects not only women and girls, but also men and boys, and requires the engagement of all sexes to make progress towards justice and equality. Shifts in gender equality require not only awareness and behaviour change, but also changes in the fundamental power dynamics that define gender norms and relationships.
Equality focuses on creating the same starting line for everyone, while equity has the goal of providing everyone with the full range of opportunities and benefits to reach the same finish line.
Gender diversity is an umbrella term that refers to a wide range of gender-related identities and ways of expression. Gender inclusion is acknowledging that everyone deserves to be treated with respect regardless of gender identity and expression, and ensuring that systems and processes treat all genders equally.
Sex refers to the biological and physiological characteristics that define male, female and intersex persons. A person’s sex is most often designated by a medical assessment at the moment of birth. This is also referred to as birth-assigned sex.
Sexual orientation is the direction of one’s sexual interests or attraction.
Gender is a multidimensional concept which broadly refers to the roles, behaviours, activities and attributes that a given society assigns to male and female persons. Such expectations are referred to as gender norms. While gender norms are typically rigid in the dichotomy of masculine/feminine, gender is in fact fluid and exists along a spectrum.
Gender binary is the classification of gender into two rigid options of either man or woman. Within a gender binary, each option is granted specific and exclusive characteristics. Most notably, masculinity is associated with men, and femininity with women. Gender binaries are exclusionary and do not reflect how gender operates and fluctuates across a spectrum.
Gender identity is each person’s internal and individual experience of gender. It is their sense of self as a woman, a man, both, or neither. A person’s gender identity may be the same as or different from their birth-assigned sex. Furthermore, gender identity can be fluid and transcend along the gender spectrum. Gender identity is fundamentally different from a person’s sexual orientation.
Gender expression refers to how a person publicly presents gender. This can include behaviour and outward appearance such as manner of dress, hair, make-up, walk, mannerisms, body language and voice. A person’s chosen name and pronouns are common ways of expressing their gender.
LGBTQ2 is an acronym standing for the categories of lesbian, gay, bisexual (those who are attracted to both men and women), transgender, intersex, queer (a self-identifying term used in some gay communities, typically by younger persons) and two-spirit. There are many different acronyms that may be used by various communities. It should be noted that acronyms like these may combine sex, gender and sexual orientation attributes into one community. This combination may or may not be appropriate in all circumstances, specificity should be used when possible.
Intersex is defined as a congenital anomaly of the reproductive and sexual system. Intersex people are born with any of several variations in sex characteristics including chromosomes, sex hormones, genitalia, or sex organs that do not fit the typical definitions of male or female bodies.
Trans or transgender is an umbrella term that refers to people with diverse gender identities and expressions that may differ from stereotypical expectations based on sex or gender norms, and/or do not correspond with their birth-assigned sex. It includes, but is not limited to, people who identify as transgender, trans woman (male-to-female), trans man (female-to-male), gender non-conforming, or gender queer.
Gender queer is a term used by some individuals to depict how they identify outside of the gender binary of man/woman. It is also used as an umbrella term for many gender non-conforming or non-binary identities.
Two-spirit is a term used by some Indigenous cultures for a person who displays any of the gender characteristics in the LGBTQ2 categories. It may refer to sex, gender or sexual orientation, or a combination of these.
When two or more facets of identity, such as class, race, age ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender, overlap in the experiences of an individual or group, creating interconnected barriers and complex forms of discrimination that can be insidious, covert and compounded.