Diversity Dictionary

The dialogue around diversity, equity, and inclusion is broad and growing daily. This introduces the need for a common vocabulary to avoid misunderstandings and misinterpretations. Because of differences in lived experience, words often hold different meanings for different people. This glossary is not meant to be exhaustive, since language is continuously evolving. The main goal is to provide a basic framework and promote dialogue.

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There are currently 10 Terms in this directory beginning with the letter G.

first popularized in the 1944 movie Gas Light, it means a deliberate attempt to undermine a victim’s sense of reality or sanity. In a work context, it usually means behaviors that undermine the success, self-confidence, self-esteem or wellbeing of the target. For people in underrepresented or less powerful groups, it is more likely to occur, with more severe and harmful cumulative effects. Tactics can include withholding (critical information, meeting invitations, silent treatment), isolation (exclusion, causing conflict with coworkers), and discrediting (consistently shooting down the target’s ideas, ignoring or taking credit for them).

People tend to use the terms “sex” and “gender” interchangeably, however, the two terms are not equivalent. Generally, we assign a newborn’s sex as either male or female (some US states and other countries offer a third option) based on the baby’s genitalia. Once a sex is assigned, we presume the child’s gender. A person’s gender identity can correspond to or differ from the sex they were assigned at birth.

Gender Diversity
removing bias against individuals based on gender. While these biases are most commonly directed against women, they include but are not limited to: negative bias, benevolent bias, agentic bias, self-limiting bias, and motherhood bias.

Gender Dysphoria
a conflict between a person's physical or assigned gender, and the gender with which he/she/they identify.

Gender Expression
the way in which a person expresses their gender identity, typically through their appearance, dress, and behavior.

Gender Fluid
denoting or relating to a person who does not identify themselves as having a fixed gender.

Gender Identity
as distinct from the term “sexual orientation,” it refers to a person’s internal sense of being male, female, or something else. Since gender identity is internal, one’s gender identity is not necessarily visible to others.

Gender Non-binary
a way of identifying and/or expressing oneself outside the binary gender categories of male/masculine and female/feminine.

Gender Parity
the comparison of the ratio of men vs women on a given variable. For example, we could say an organization had reached “gender parity” in leadership if they had an equal number of men and women in leadership positions.

a person who does not subscribe to conventional gender distinctions but identifies with neither, both, or a combination of male and female genders.