EDI stands for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. Referring to a set of principles that promote equal representation, and opportunities for all individuals, EDI recognizes that society is diverse, and acknowledges the importance of embracing diversity. The goal of EDI is to create a more inclusive and just environment; this is an ongoing process that requires communities to challenge their own biases.
At CeFIE, we are committed to fostering an inclusive and equitable environment for our staff, volunteers, and the communities we serve. Our EDI Resource aims to provide guidance and resources to promote diversity and create an inclusive space where everyone feels valued and respected.
Let’s break down the key components and vocabulary surrounding EDI:
Equity recognizes that individuals may require different levels of support to achieve the same outcomes. Equity is not equality of resources and accommodations; rather, equity is equality of opportunity.
Diversity regards the range of identities and backgrounds that exist among individuals. Some factors that contribute to diversity are: race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, and disability. Embracing diversity involves recognizing and valuing the unique contributions of individuals with different backgrounds than oneself.
nclusion is the effort to create an environment where all individuals are valued and respected. This can involve creating policies and structures that promote collaboration, respect, and equal opportunities for advancement.
Unconscious biases are unintentional or automatic assumptions that influence decisions and behaviors towards others. These biases are formed through social experiences, such as one’s upbringing, media portrayals of a group, stereotypes, and societal norms. Recognizing and addressing unconscious biases is essential to promoting EDI.
Intersectionality explores the interconnected nature of social structures, systems of oppression, and forms of discrimination. Intersectionality acknowledges that individuals have multiple identities that influence one another; a person’s experience can be shaped by race, gender, and socioeconomic status simultaneously. This concept also highlights that various forms of discrimination, such as racism, sexism, and ableism, reinforce one another due to the interconnection.
Privileges are unearned advantages that some individuals have, simply because of their belonging to a dominant social group. Privilege is present in various forms, including race, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and physical ability. Privilege is often invisible to those who possess it, because it is the ‘normal’ experience within a given society; however, recognizing privilege is crucial for addressing inequalities and to advocate for a more inclusive society.
The implementation of EDI can face several barriers. Unconscious bias and stereotypes can hinder progress by perpetuating discriminatory practices – these biases can lead to biased hiring and promotion decisions, exclusion, and unequal treatment based on implicit assumptions. Resistance to change is another common barrier, as individuals may feel threatened by shifts in power dynamics and fear that one’s own interests or privileges will be compromised. Overcoming resistance to change requires effective communication, education, and a focus on highlighting the benefits of EDI initiatives. Limited representation, in turn, can form a significant barrier. When individuals of diverse backgrounds are not adequately represented in leadership positions, their perspectives and experiences are overlooked, leading to processes that are not reflective of diverse experiences. Addressing these specific barriers requires a systemic approach that involves educating the public, policy changes, and leadership commitment.
What are some things that individuals can do to contribute to building an inclusive culture?
Learn about different cultures, identities, and experiences. Read books, articles, and gain insight into diverse perspectives. Attend workshops or webinars, and engage in conversations with people from different backgrounds. This self- education helps broaden your understanding and empathy towards others.
Reflect on your own biases and assumptions. Be aware of unconscious biases that may influence thoughts or actions, and take steps to challenge these assumptions by seeking different perspectives and confronting biases when they arise.
Listen and learn
Practice active listening and be open to understanding the experiences of others. Create space for honest and respectful conversations where individuals can share perspectives, and acknowledge that one person may not have all the answers.
Support diversity and inclusion initiatives
Engage with diversity and inclusion initiatives in organizations and communities. Participating in events and programs to promote diversity and inclusion can also be beneficial, as you gain skills to contribute to the efforts of creating an inclusive culture.
Building an inclusive culture is a collective effort that requires participation from all members of a community. By taking individual actions and encouraging others to do the same, you can contribute to creating a more inclusive environment for all.
Resources for Employee Support:
Inclusify R.A.C.E. Workshop 2023, Edmonton
Edmonton Inclusive Language Guide
Practicing EDI in Research Design
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