Embracing diversity, equity, inclusion, representation, and an overall sense of belonging can significantly change perceptions of the world around you.
Understanding experiences and viewpoints that don’t mimic your own builds empathy, which is the most valuable soft skill any professional can develop. Here are diversity, equity, and inclusion quotes to help you build an inspiring workplace culture.
Letting diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging be a foundational part of how you approach others in your personal and professional life creates an environment that people want to be a part of. As Organizational Psychologist and writer, Adam Grant, explains, “treating people with civility is a prerequisite for discovery.“
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging for Employees
Prioritizing diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) in your workplace helps your organization attract and retain talent. More than ever, prospective employees want to work for companies that share the same core values. Focusing on DEIB allows your employees to be comfortable being themselves, leading to more creative and innovative ideas. People are more likely to be open, honest, and vulnerable when they feel deeply respected and appreciated.
To be fully aware of the role DEIB plays in your organization, let’s review the meaning of each of these core terms.
- Diversity: This is when people from all different backgrounds come together. It includes people of different races, genders, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, visible and invisible disabilities, class, or status.
- Equity: The understanding that providing equal treatment or resources doesn’t necessarily deliver equally matching results is the foundation of equity. While many people share the same goals and dreams, the path isn’t always the same, and one might experience more hardship and obstacles than another.
- Inclusion: Celebrating diversity requires thoughtful inclusion. Everyone must be recognized and appreciated for their talents, be provided with opportunities to get involved, and have their perspectives valued and heard.
- Belonging: A sense of belonging ties diversity, equity, and inclusion together. Each group member is respected, valued, and cherished while being their authentic selves. Belonging is a feeling of a shared community.
56 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Quotes
Being thoughtful about diversity and inclusion in the workplace continues to be increasingly crucial to current and prospective employees. Use these DEIB quotes to transform perceptions and increase diversity of thought. Whether you are working through unconscious bias training, sending out monthly newsletters, or organizing a lunch-and-learn, these topics can elevate discussions and strengthen the unity of your teams.
- Inclusion Quotes
- Quotes About Equity
- Quotes About Diversity and Unity
- Quotes About Representation
- Sense of Belonging Quotes
- Unconscious Bias Quotes
Providing all employees with the opportunity to pursue and achieve their goals or feel heard is the most effective way to create an inclusive environment. There are many practical ways to be thoughtful about those in your office, like ensuring that all eligible employees are considered for promotions, planning work events, or being more considerate about scheduling meetings.
- What Diversity & Inclusion is Really About: Simon Sinek explains that diversity of thought makes companies successful. We all have blinders but being open to new perspectives challenges and motivates us to be better.
- Building an Inclusive Organization: A diverse workforce brings a wealth of knowledge to teams and encourages creativity and innovation. This book offers ways to foster inclusivity in your organization.
- Code Switch Podcast: Originally, code-switching referred to alternating between numerous languages in a conversation. More often, it encapsulates alternating behaviors or actions in conjunction with language. This term is becoming more prevalent as emotional labor weighs many employees.
- How to Build an Inclusive Workplace: Organizational psychologist Adam Grant and best-selling author and psychologist John Amaechi discuss privilege, allyship, opportunity, and micro-aggressions.
The inclusive quotes and resources below highlight that many hands make light work. When people work together and cherish what makes them different, opportunities and success can flourish.
“Diversity is a fact, but inclusion is a choice we make every day. As leaders, we have to put out the message that we embrace and not just tolerate diversity.”
–Nellie Borrero (Managing Director, Senior Strategic Advisor – Global Inclusion & Diversity at Accenture)
“Inclusion is not a matter of political correctness. It is the key to growth.”
–Jesse Jackson (Activist)
“Honesty and openness is always the foundation of insightful dialogue.”
–bell hooks (Writer, ‘All About Love: New Visions’)
“You deserve a circle of inclusion and influence, but it’s up to you to create it.”
–Richie Norton (Writer, ‘The Power of Starting Something Stupid: How to Crush Fear, Make Dreams Happen, and Live Without Regret’)
“To me, beauty is inclusion– every size, every color– that’s the world I live in.”
–Prabal Gurung (Fashion Designer)
“We are greater than, and greater for, the sum of us.”
–Heather McGhee (Writer, ‘The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together’)
“The human heart is too grand to be wasted in the gutter of cultural exclusivity.”
–Abhijit Naskar (Writer, ‘Making Britain Civilized: How to Gain Readmission to The Human Race’)
“Why be a star when you can make a constellation?”
–Mariam Kaba (Writer, ‘We Do This ‘Til We Free Us’)
“Diversity requires commitment. Achieving superior performance diversity can produce further action– most notably, a commitment to develop a culture of inclusion. People do not just need to be different, they need to be fully involved and feel their voices are heard.”
–Alain Dehaze (CEO of Adecco)
“When we listen and celebrate what is both common and different, we become wiser, more inclusive, and better as an organization.”
–Pat Wadors (Chief Talent Officer at Procore Technologies)
“You either believe that people respond to authority, or that they respond to kindness and inclusion. I’m obviously in the latter camp. I think that people respond better to reward than punishment.”
“You have a responsibility to make inclusion a daily thought, so we can get rid of the word ‘inclusion.’
–Theodore Melfi (American Producer)
“We will all profit from a more diverse, inclusive society, understanding, accommodating, even celebrating our differences, while pulling together for the common good.”
–Ruth Bader Ginsburg
“If we want to include everyone, we have to help everyone develop their talents and use their gifts for the good of the community. That’s what inclusion means– everyone contributes.”
“Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.”
–Verna Myers (Vice President of Inclusion Strategy at Netflix)
“Using people to be inclusive is not an attack. It is progress.”
–DaShanne Stokes (Sociologist)
“You deserve a circle of inclusion and influence, but it’s up to you to create it.”
–George Washington (Writer, ‘The Story of My Life’)
When thinking of DEIB, many people consider equity to be about race. While this can be true, equity extends to more than one area of society. Equity disparities can also relate to education, housing, transportation, and more. Because of these additional factors, an organization must think critically and compassionately for its employees.
Many of the quotes below explain the correlation between fairness, justice, and equity. Through this lens, intentionally addressing inequitable instances in the workplace ensures all employees are more empowered to work together.
- What is Social Equity: This United Way article breaks down various types of social equity, the difference between equality, and provides examples.
- Heather C. McGhee: Racism has a cost for everyone: When policies and procedures are meant to control one group or another, the impact is felt by everyone.
- Social Inequalities Explained in a $100 Race: This 2018 viral shows how opportunities can be offered to people based on factors irrelevant to personal choice.
- Subtle Acts of Exclusion: How to Understand, Identify, and Stop Microaggressions: Unconscious or implicit biases can cause people to behave in ways they don’t realize are hurtful. Learning how to identify and address micro-aggressions is a step needed to develop inclusion, belonging, and foster equity in your organization.
“Ethics and equity and the principles of justice do not change with the calendar.”
–D.H. Lawrence (Writer)
“Treating different things the same can generate as much inequality as treating the same things differently.”
–Kimberlé Crenshaw (Civil Rights Advocate)
“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly”
–Martin Luther King Jr.
“I learned early on about the real meaning of equity and inclusion, and that when those guiding principles are not met, they can have devastating effects on individuals, families, and communities.”
–Lori Lightfoot (Mayor of Chicago)
“Equality is leaving the door open for anyone who has the means to approach it; equity is ensuring there is a pathway to that door for those who need it.”
–Caroline Belden (Writer, ‘The Inclusion Solution’)
“The difference between equity and equality is that equality is when everyone gets the same thing, and equity is when everyone gets the things they deserve.”
–DeRay Mckesson (Activist)
Our many backgrounds, experiences, interests, and passions create a beautiful and unique world. The many combinations of these differences enable us to connect unexpectedly, which entangles the rich tapestry that Maya Angelou speaks of in the quote below.
The workplace is one of the best scenarios where these differences can engage, support, challenge, and inspire curiosity. Championing diversity in an organization leads to better outcomes and greater success for individuals and teams.
- The Loudest Duck: Moving Beyond Diversity While Embracing Differences to Achieve Success at Work: Find new ideas and alternative routes to bring inclusivity and diversity to the forefront of your organization.
- Diversity in the Workplace: Eye-Opening Interviews to Jumpstart Conversations about Identity, Privilege, and Bias: This book offers real-life examples of conversations surrounding diverse groups of people. It also highlights that sometimes people don’t have the vocabulary to explain their thoughts or feelings but are curious and want to learn how to be better.
- Obama: Diversity makes us stronger, creative, different: At a citizenship ceremony in 2014, former President Obama addressed immigrants who served in the military and earned citizenship in the United States.
- “On the Pulse of Morning” by Maya Angelou: This powerful poem by Maya Angelou describes how the earth is full of human beings from all backgrounds. Together, we can make the world a better place for everyone.
“Diverse groups are more creative. They feel uncomfortable, and that discomfort motivates them to do extra preparation and share new information.”
– Adam Grant (Organizational Psychologist and Writer, ‘Work Life Podcast’)
“We are all different, which is great because we are all unique. Without diversity, life would be very boring.”
“We need to give each other the space to grow, to be ourselves, to exercise our diversity. We need to give each other space so that we may both give and receive such beautiful things as ideas, openness, dignity, joy, healing, and inclusion.”
–Max De Pree (Writer, ‘Leadership is an Art)
“We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color.”
“Diversity doesn’t look like anyone. It looks like everyone.”
–Karen Draper (Writer, ‘The Place of Us’)
“I can tell you, without diversity, creativity remains stagnant.”
–Edward Enninful (Editor in Chief of British Vogue)
“The greater the diversity, the greater the perfection.”
–Thomas Berry (History)
“The path to diversity begins with supporting, mentoring, and sponsoring diverse women and men to become leaders and entrepreneurs.”
–Denise Morrison (Retired CEO and President of Campbell Soup Company)
“Diversity is the one true thing we all have in common. Celebrate it every day.”
“Different roads sometimes lead to the same castle.”
–George R. R. Martin (Writer, ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’)
“Understanding diversity includes knowing how diminished we all are when voices go unheard.”
–Preskill & Brookfield (Writer, ‘The Story of My Life’)
“It is impossible to get to know people deeply and not come to like them.”
–Lori Gottlieb (Writer & Psychologist, ‘Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed’)
“We need to reach that happy stage of our development when differences and diversity are not seen as sources of division and distrust, but of strength and inspiration.”
–Josefa Iloilo (Former President of Fiji)
“Let’s stop believing that our differences make us superior or inferior to one another.”
–Con Miguel Ruiz (Writer, ‘The Four Agreements’)
“A diverse mix of voices leads to better discussions, decisions, and outcomes for everyone.”
–Sundar Pichai (CEO of Google)
“Creating and managing a diverse workforce is a process, not a destination.”
–R. Roosevelt Thomas, Jr.
“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.”
–Audre Lorde (Writer)
Representation means seeing people in successful positions that share a similar story to your own. We often associate representation with portrayals in movies or TV shows, but it is equally important in the office. The opportunity gap decreases, and goals or ambitions aren’t as far out of reach when we know someone we share everyday experiences with and achieve the same purpose.
- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi: The danger of a single story: Renowned author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie tells us how a single story, a single perception, can inflict untrue ideology and assumptions about one another.
- 2-Year-Old Boy’s Sweet Reaction to His Lookalike in ‘Encanto’: Seeing people or characters in movies and TV that look like you further normalizes the beauty in diversity. There is power in representation, and Kenzo was so thrilled to see someone like him in Encanto.
- The Power of Representation in Leadership Roles: It’s difficult to imagine yourself as a leader or successful if you’ve never seen anyone that looks like you in a similar position. The rise of women and BIPOC in leadership roles shows others it is possible to achieve their dreams.
“You can’t be what you can’t see.”
–Marian Wright Edelman (Founder of Children’s Defense Fund)
“Every culture’s history is essential. Everyone deserves to have their lives elevated through the beauty of truthful representation.”
–Rohit Bhargava (Writer, ‘Beyond Diversity’)
“If you haven’t got the best talent, you’re not going to be the best; if you’re not representing properly the available pool of talent, then you’re missing an opportunity.”
–Alex Wilmot-Sitwell (Partner at Perella Weinberg Partners’ Advisory)
“What diversity advocates are working for is an industry that honestly, accurately, and equitably represents the world we live in.”
–Mike Jung (Writer, ‘Unidentified Suburban Object’)
Diversity, equity, and inclusion are foundational to building a sense of belonging. In belonging, you establish a community which is the best way to keep each other feeling safe and secure.
With that security, employee satisfaction increases, and workplace culture improves. You will find your team is ready to take on new challenges and share fresh perspectives bravely. As the sense of belonging quotes and references below allude, community enables us to be our most authentic selves and accept one another.
- Belonging At Work: Everyday Actions You Can Take to Cultivate an Inclusive Organization: Through personal stories, case studies, and valuable strategies for change, Belonging At Work provides a framework to inspire leaders of all levels to prioritize inclusion belonging in their organization.
- Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown: Researcher, author, and podcaster Brene Brown explains that true belonging starts with knowing and accepting ourselves.
- Jessica Hanzie’s Tattooed Headshot: When Hanzie wanted a separate headshot for her LinkedIn account that showed her tattoos, her boss encouraged her to use the photo on the company website as well. She’d spent years feeling nervous she would upset someone with her tattoos. Now, her boss was enthusiastically encouraging her to be herself.
“True belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world. Our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.”
–Brene Brown (Writer, ‘The Gifts of Imperfection’)
“People will typically be more enthusiastic where they feel a sense of belonging and see themselves as part of a community than they will in a workplace in which each person is left to his own devices.”
–Alfie Kohn (Philosopher)
“We long to belong, and belonging and caring anchors our sense of place in the universe.”
–Patricia Churchland (Philosopher)
“You can’t build a society purely on interests, you need a sense of belonging.”
–Valery Giscard d’Estaing (Former President of France)
“Being able to feel safe with other people is probably the single most important aspect of mental health; safe connections are fundamental to meaningful and satisfying lives.”
–Bessel A. van der Kolk (Writer & Psychologist, ‘The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma’)
“Don’t be a pepper on the eyes of people; rather be the salt on their tongue and make a difference that influences their sense of belonging to the earth.”
–Israelmore Ayivor (Writer)
“There is a reason the word belonging has a synonym for want at its center; it is the human condition.”
–Jodi Picoult (Writer, ‘My Sister’s Keeper’)
The thoughts and ideas that come into our minds immediately about another person are our unconscious or implicit biases. In some cases, these thought processes occur so quickly or subtly that we don’t even know they happened.
For example, a study found that “Black-sounding” names were less likely to hear back from employers by 2.1 percent relative to white-sounding names. This shows how we can make choices so quickly that we don’t take the time to examine why we decided that way at all.
In these unconscious bias quotes, you will find that the first step is to be aware of these patterns to learn how to dismantle them. The resources below provide steps and ideas on breaking those patterns and accepting others for who they indeed are, not who you perceive them to be.
- The Leader’s Guide to Unconscious Bias: How to Reframe Bias, Cultivate Connection, and Create High-Performing Teams: Overcoming biases can only be done when true understanding and compassion occur. Learning how to manifest a sense of belonging enables people to know one another deeply and foster a safe environment.
- Implicit Bias – Concepts Unwrapped: This video explains how unconscious bias affects our interactions.
- Sway: Unravelling Unconscious Bias: Unconscious bias is challenging because it’s unintentional and lightning quick. In Sway, Pragya Agarwal uses scientific research to illuminate how these biases impact our communication, decisions, and intentions.
- Unconscious bias: Stereotypical hiring practices: We all have unconscious biases. But some might be so subtle and seem so harmless that you don’t realize you could be missing out on an exceptional candidate for your team.
“Stupidity and unconscious bias often work more damage than venality.”
–Bertrand Russel (Philosopher)
“The point isn’t to get people to accept that they have biases, but to get them to see [for themselves] that those biases have negative consequences for others.”
–Theresa McHenry (GM HR, Marketing and Consumer Business at Microsoft)
“To know the true reality of yourself, you must be aware not only of your conscious thoughts, but also of your unconscious prejudices, bias and habits.”
“A lot of change is possible by just acknowledging unconscious bias–that exhaustively documented but unpleasant reality many would rather ignore–and listening with less bias and acting on what we then learn.”
“It’s not at all hard to understand a person; it’s only hard to listen without bias.”
–Criss Jami (Writer, ‘Killosophy’)
“Unconscious perceptions govern many of the most important decisions we make and have a profound effect on the lives of many people in many ways… Unconscious patterns play out in ways that are so subtle they are hard to spot.”
–Howard Ross (Activist)
Eliminate Implicit Bias From Hiring With the Chally Assessment
Learning about the many social circumstances that can unintentionally impact people isn’t easy. It requires a conscious effort to be mindful of your perceptions and critical thinking to deeper understand unfamiliar viewpoints. The wealth of community that you can develop through this awareness will expand into the rest of your life and the lives of those around you. Only through this growth can we ensure that you can create a culture – and future – for your company, where people feel appreciated and heard.
One way to proactively develop these changes is in your hiring processes. As mentioned, unconscious bias often appears in hiring practices through names, appearance, clothing, or other factors.
Learn about your candidate before human intuition makes decisions for you. Remove biases from the equation and understand your candidate’s true potential with Chally’s pre-hire assessment.