Glossary of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Terms

Understanding the language of EDI is an essential first step in promoting inclusivity and diversity within your practice. Explore our short glossary of key EDI terms.



The extent to which a facility or resource is readily approachable and usable by marginalized individuals, or individuals with disabilities.


A person who is not a member of a marginalized or disadvantaged group but who expresses or gives support to that group. Allyship is the support for the interests of a minority or marginalized group without being a member of that group.


Everyone is treated and feels like a full member of the larger community and can thrive.


Black, Indigenous, People of Color. BIPOC commonly refers to individuals who are not considered white.


A person who identifies as the gender they were assigned at birth. (contrast with “transgender”).


The myriad of shared and different personal and group characteristics among human beings. With diversity, there is ideally proportionate representation across all dimensions of human difference.


Diversity, equity, and inclusion.


Equity, diversity, and inclusion. Some prefer the term EDI to DEI rationalizing that without equity, diversity and inclusion are difficult to accomplish.


Equity, diversity, indigeneity, inclusion, accessibility.


Justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion.


A social construct which divides individuals into smaller social groups based on common cultural attributes such as language, religion, or nationality. (contrast with “race”).


Providing the same to all or treating everyone the same. (contrast with “equity”).


Fairness and justice. Equity recognizes that we do not all start from the same place and acknowledges and adjusts imbalances. Equity promotes the distribution of assets such that everyone has the resources they need to succeed. (contrast with “equality”).

Implicit bias:

The attitudes, prejudices, and judgments we make about individuals or groups that are ingrained in our subconscious due to our experience, upbringings, and backgrounds.


The authentic incorporation of all individuals and groups, especially those that have been traditionally excluded into processes, activities, and decision/policy making in a way that shares power.

Inclusive Language:

Non-sexist language or language that considers all persons in its references. e.g., “a doctor should check the lab work on his patients” excludes female physicians. It would be more appropriate to say “doctors should check on the lab work of their patients”.


The quality of a person’s/groups’ fact of originating or occurring naturally in a particular place with knowledge and respect for original ways.


The cumulative manner in which multiple forms of marginalization /inequality (economic, physical or mental disability) and discrimination (such as racism, sexism, and classism) combine, overlap, or intersect to affect individuals or groups.


An acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning, and Two-Spirit (a person that identifies as having both a masculine and feminine spirit) with all other queer identities that are not encompassed by the letters themselves being represented by the “+”.


Relegated to an unimportant, ignored, or powerless position within a society or group.


Common daily verbal/non-verbal, behavioural, or environmental indignities, whether intended/unintended that connote derogatory, hostile, or negative messages against marginalized persons or groups (e.g., racial, LGBTQ+, elderly, religious groups, people with disabilities, immigrants).

Gender pronouns:

Are the personal pronouns that people ask others to use in reference to themselves to promote respectful communication. They may be plural gender-neutral pronouns such as they, them, and their(s). Or they may be ze (rather than she or he) or hir (rather 3 than her(s) and him/his). Some people state their pronoun preferences as a form of allyship.


An unearned, sustained advantage that comes from race, gender, sexuality, ability, socioeconomic status, age, nepotism, or other differences.


Race is a social construct used to categorize people based on perceived differences in physical appearance, forming discrete categorizations lacking a biological basis.


Person(s) whose gender identity is discordant with the sex registered for them at birth.


An abbreviation for Under-Represented Minorities.


  1. Harvard Human Resources. Glossary of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Terms.
  2. Lu C, Ahmed R, Lamri A, Anand SS. Use of race, ethnicity, and ancestry data in health research. PLOS Global Public Health. 2022 Sep 15;2(9):e0001060.
  3. 2023. (Mar 19, 2023).
  4. American Psychological Association. APA Publishing’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Toolkit for Journal Editors. 2022

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