Here at Aspiring to Include, we know how much language matters. When discussing the sensitive issues surrounding diversity and protected characteristics, we always aim to use language which reflects our values of equality and inclusion.

Some of this language or some of the acronyms we use may be new to you; please see below for a glossary of some of this terminology.


BAME stands for Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic and refers to anybody who identifies as an Ethnicity other than White British. Other labels include BME (Black and Minority Ethnic), and Ethnic Minorities.

Some people prefer not to use BAME as it can eradicate the nuisances of peoples’ identities and group different ethnicities all into a single bracket. However, this is the term we have chosen to use as we feel it is the most inclusive and reflects the jobseekers we are aiming to support.


LGBTQ+ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, plus.

Other common acronyms include LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender), LGBTQIA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex and Asexual) and LGBTTTQQIAA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual and Ally).

We have chosen to use LGBTQ+ in line with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Centre.


We use the word ‘woman’ to refer to anybody who self-identifies as a woman. This includes transgender women, gender non-conforming and non-binary people.

We are dedicated to supporting women of all backgrounds, including all ethnicities, abilities, classes and sexualities.

Socioeconomic Background

This refers to somebody’s social, economic and financial background and considers income, education and access to opportunities. It is widely understood that somebody’s socioeconomic background is a crucial determinant of access to social and economic success.

Migrants and Refugees

Migrants and refugees are not the same. A migrant is somebody who has chosen to move from one place to another, usually a country, often to find a better life and work. A refugee is somebody who has been forced to leave their home and is unable to return due to fear of being persecuted.


EDI stands for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. For a full definition and further information, please visit our guide on improving EDI.


Intersectionality is the term used to describe the ways in which multiple forms of discrimination and oppression overlap, combine and intersect.

For example, intersectionality helps us recognise that even though all women face discrimination because of sexism, this will not be the same for black women and white women as black women may also face racism.

Religion and Faith

A religion or faith can be defined by the belief in a God or gods, which a person worships and follows. Religions can come in many forms, and somebody may describe themselves as having faith without conforming to organised religion.

Staff Networks

Staff networks are collections of staff members within an organisation who have chosen to collaborate and support each other due to a shared protected characteristic such as race and ethnicity.

Equality Act

The 2010 Equality Act is a legal act used to protect people from discrimination, both in the workplace and in broader society. In 2010 there was an overhaul of anti-discrimination law, and the Equality act came to replace all previous laws with this single Act.

Protected Characteristics

Protected characteristics are named in the 2010 Equality Act as the characteristics against which it is illegal to discriminate. These are sex, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, sexuality, race, religion or faith, and pregnancy or maternity.

Unconscious Bias

Unconscious, or implicit biases, are the social stereotypes we hold about certain groups of people, that form outside of our consciousness. This means that without realising, we can act favourably, or unfavourably, towards a group of people based on stereotypes about them.

Help Us to Stay Up to Date!

We always want to use the language that best reflects the communities we are trying to support and have tried to select terminology which we feel is most appropriate. If we have made any mistakes or feel we could be using a more inclusive term, we want to hear from you. Please get in touch at