Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Resource List for Leagues & Members

LWV is an organization fully committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in principle and in practice. DEI is central to the organization’s current and future success in engaging all individuals, households, communities, and policy makers in creating a more perfect democracy.

See also: LWVUS Webinars & Resources | LWVUS Articles, Books, Audio | League of Women Voters DEI Policy


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Short Clips



Ally is usually used as a noun, but can also be a verb. As a noun, the word can be passive. As a verb, one must act on the statement of alliance. Allies do not provide leadership. They are not at the front of a march or the chair of a meeting. They do provide money and in-kind donations, lobbying and assistance as invited. At the end of the day, allies can go back to their own world of privilege. Communities that are marginalized cannot. (Source: Jamie Utt, in everyday feminism “So You Call Yourself an Ally: 10 Things All ‘Allies’ Need to Know”)

Assumptive World

An organized schema reflecting all that a person assumes to be true about the world and the self on the basis of previous experiences. It refers to the assumptions, or beliefs, that ground, secure, and orient people, that gives them a sense of reality, meaning or purpose. The assumptive world is learned and confirmed by the experience of many years, many generations. It is the world that we are socialized into.

Cultural Competency

Refers the ability to interact effectively with diverse cultures in an equitable and inclusive way.


Though it was originally applied only to the ways that sexism and racism combine and overlap, intersectionality has come to include other forms of discrimination as well, such as those based on class, sexuality, and ability.

Micro Aggression

Small acts of discrimination that come out of unconscious or direct bias. If they are called out, there is a chance for learning and change. 


Tokenism is defined as actions that are the result of pretending to give advantage to those groups in society who are often treated unfairly, in order to give the appearance of fairness. This is often with good intentions.

Unconscious Bias

Bias is a tendency or inclination that results in judgment without question. It’s an automatic response, and a shortcut to interact with our world. Unconscious bias is mental associations without awareness, intention, or control. These often conflict with our conscious attitudes, behaviors, and intentions. The function of bias is to serve as our internal “danger detector,” and to aid us in making instantaneous decisions in a world that inundates us with information and stimuli. We all have unconscious biases and it is important to recognize what they are in order to begin to overcome them.

White Privilege

White privilege is the preference, intended or not, for white people and institutions. They are seen as the norm with people of color as other. This preference has become institutionalized. When undefined or discussed, it can bring white guilt or white shame. While the term is meant to emphasize a system or world view, it can sometimes be felt as blaming. Nobody chooses the race that they are born with. The deliberate ways that culture shapes “the assumptive world,” or what one thinks is normal, can prevent action or change. Awareness of a diverse world with equity and inclusiveness can lead to action instead.

White Supremacy

This is sometimes seen as a deliberate belief and action for white privilege. Sometimes white privilege and white supremacy are used interchangeably. There are arguments both for and against making this distinction.