Making the language switch from “Diversity & Inclusion (D&I)” to “Inclusion and Diversity (I&D)”

Melissa Chenok
2 min readDec 31, 2020

Several years ago I made the shift from D&I to I&D when talking about inclusion and diversity in the workplace. Both at the office and in my day-to-day life I was hearing heated discussion about nomenclature of inclusion, diversity, and equity. Which of these should be emphasized in mentality and thus operationalization of process, practice and policies for companies striving for growth of inclusion and diversity efforts? Some of the names thrown around included Inclusion & Diversity (I&D), Diversity & Inclusion (D&I), and Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI). The research that I conducted, summarized below, led me to make the transition both in my personal and professional life to use the language “Inclusion & Diversity” when discussing these efforts across the organizations where I work. Since that time I have continued to see a shift in organizations across industries using this updated language.

Why did I and why are many others making this change?

Inclusion and diversity is (as it should be) a top priority for businesses globally with the business case for these efforts easily justified — increase in innovation, talent retention, business performance, engagement, and more. The short answer for why I and others are making the change moving towards using “Inclusion and Diversity” versus “Diversity and Inclusion” is that at the forefront of the inclusion and diversity priority is the inclusion of everyone from all backgrounds — focusing on building inclusive cultures will ultimately lead to a more diverse workforce which ties back to benefits for both employees and companies.

When we emphasize and prioritize inclusion, then as we highlight and promote diversity, we can help to ensure a safe space where all team members can thrive.

This quote from HBR is helpful and I’ve linked a full article below if you’re interested in learning more. “Part of the problem is that “diversity” and “inclusion” are so often lumped together that they’re assumed to be the same thing. But that’s just not the case. In the context of the workplace, diversity equals representation. Without inclusion, however, the crucial connections that attract diverse talent, encourage their participation, foster innovation, and lead to business growth won’t happen. As noted diversity advocate Vernā Myers puts it, “Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.””

At my current organization we changed the language of materials universally and have asked team members to make this change when talking both internally and externally about Inclusion and Diversity as it relates to our company!

What work is your organization doing to continue to build inclusive spaces for all team members?