What is the meaning of Inclusion?
Accessible, Universal, Inclusive, What?
The word inclusion gets thrown around a lot, but the meaning of inclusion is vague for many people. Let’s clarify!
A lack of accessibility for people with a disability has driven advocates in our community to take action. People living with a disability, as well as those who advocate and care for them, have rallied to claim their right for dignified and equitable access to buildings, information, employment, and services. As a result, most people see the value in respecting the right for all people to have equitable access.
Yet access itself is not enough. Universal Design has created a bridge from access to accommodation, prioritising that buildings and items designed to be easily used by all types of people including those with disabilities. Universal design emphasised the functionality of design, focusing on simple ease of use so that one item (one tap, one button, one door) could serve its function for everyone.
Inclusion moves us beyond access, beyond universal design. Inclusion — the act of including everyone — is a deeper shift towards welcoming and valuing people exactly as they are. It means embracing and celebrating the diversity of experience within your teams and your customer base. It means encouraging people to bring their “whole self” to their communities and workplaces, accepted and welcomed for their depth and breadth of knowledge.
An inclusive workplace enjoys more committed employees, higher productivity, higher retention rates. That means more satisfied customers, increased in customer loyalty, and higher profitability into the future.
In short, the meaning of inclusive is that everyone, regardless of their mental or physical abilities is understood, appreciated, and able to participate and contribute meaningfully.