What inclusivity means

There is no doubt that ‘inclusivity’ – like society – is a broad landscape, and it means different things to different people.

Aside from individual personal experience, however, the broader message about the potential of inviting, embracing and valuing different people is understood by most people.

Indeed, our surveys revealed that an overwhelming majority of 90% strongly agreed that being 'inclusive for all’ is important in the workplace and wider society.

How we define inclusivity

Other statistics show generally high percentages when relating to the beneficial aspects of inclusivity, including in the areas of ‘productivity’, ‘motivation’ and ‘economic benefit’. The anomaly among this largely positive set of numbers, is the revelation that 13% of participants don’t think that inclusiveness has any benefits whatsoever. This is also much higher than the societal view where only 4% of the UK public think there are no benefits.

Question: What does the term “living in an inclusive society” mean to you?

The top five responses:

  • Value difference
  • Society
  • Free
  • Equality
  • Everyone matters

Also: participate in society, equal possibilities, equity, freedom, accepted, reducing inequality, empower everyone, own purpose, cooperation, no advantage, a place for existing, difference is normal, connection, together, friendship, open, quality of life, well-being, democracy, influencing others, a fair system for all, perfect society, respected, empower all, equal opportunities, involvement, living as democrats, equal access, allowing inequalities, egalitarian society, embracing diversity, coexistence, included, fair, happy, peaceful, accepting opinions, commonwealth of values, equal freedom equal rights, self-purpose, no barriers, tolerance, social equality, accepting difference, nobody is excluded, interactions, accepting, ideas, freedom of expression, appreciate others, utopia, voice, reducing inequalities, maximum capabilities, diversity, embrace others, avoiding identity politics, feeling safe, freedom for all, no exclusions

The presence of someone from a different identity group makes the others generate more ideas and construct more complex arguments

Jakob Feldtfos Christense (diversiunity) & Lachlan Smith (Cloud-Chamber)

Number crunch: the benefits of inclusivity

Question: To what extent do you agree that an inclusive society will affect the following areas?

  • 92% think it promotes different ways of thinking
  • 90% think it creates an open learning culture
  • 90% think it has a positive effect on creativity
  • 85% this it has a positive effect on productivity
  • 81% think it creates a more motivated workforce
  • 80% think it has an economic benefit
  • 13% do not think that an inclusive society provides any noticeable benefits

You said it: reflections from survey participants

'An inclusive society is one that integrates people with different physical and mental abilities into the mainstream. By this yardstick, our society still has some way to go'.

Male librarian from Malawi

'Several people believe that inclusivity means that they do not have to do anything, while others have to respect everything they do'


'Inclusivity is a moral, not cost-and-benefit question. I do not think a workplace is necessarily more productive if it is inclusive, but it is a better place'.


'I believe it does provide benefits, but its benefits are not easily measurable, which could make them unnoticeable by certain decision makers'

A female faculty/teacher from Kuwait

'A company that is already performing well goes for inclusion, but I haven’t witnessed companies performing well because they are inclusive'

A male faculty/teacher from Thailand

'Excellence produces progress. Inclusivity produces mediocrity'; 'Several people believe that inclusivity means that they do not have to do anything, while others have to respect everything they do.'

A male faculty/teacher from USA

What's in the report?

The report contains an introduction and 9 sections; use the grid below to navigate, or click to go to the next section.

Next section

Through the barricades: establishing barriers to inclusivity

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Breaking good: taking down the walls of academia

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Driving inclusivity: responsibilities within academic research

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