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What Is Social Inclusion, How To Promote It And Why Is It Important?

Roberto Isaías explains what social inclusion is, how to promote it and why it is important. Discover the benefits of an inclusive society.

What is social inclusion?

Looking in the dictionary, the word inclusion literally means the act of including, that is, inserting an element into a group.

In the social sphere, to be included means above all to feel welcome: to belong to a group of people, to a society, to fully enjoy all the rights and opportunities that this membership entails. 

For philanthropist Roberto Isaías, inclusion is radically different from both assimilation and integration.

To be included in the group, one does not have to adapt, to modify one’s personal characteristics to be equal to others.

Inclusion of the other Roberto Isaías

Key concepts of social inclusion

There are many variables that cut across this term, to understand it in depth, it is necessary to familiarize oneself with the following concepts.  

Diversity and equality

Diversity and equality are complementary values that represent a change in mentality

Recognizing and appreciating people’s differences is a starting point for growth and development

Diversity encompasses many aspects of an individual and each person brings a unique perspective based on their life experiences. 

Inclusion involves overcoming stereotypes and prejudices, eliminating barriers to ensure equal human rights and opportunities for all.

Accessibility and access

Accessibility is one of the main causes of exclusion faced by people with disabilities.  

Many facilities and services (including health care) are inaccessible to people with disabilities.

According to the World Report on Disability, these barriers can hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.

World Bank Roberto Isaías

Participation and empowerment

The empowerment of socially excluded communities is fundamental to achieve equity from a social inclusion approach.

Governments and NGOs must create opportunities for access and participation in decision-making at national and local levels, with emphasis on the most vulnerable groups.

Social justice and redistribution of resources 

According to the Universidad Externado, there are close to eighty constitutions in the world that enshrine the expression “social justice” as one of the values of the State or as a founding principle of the State. 

All these conceptions allude to the same thing, promoting the equitable distribution of wealth within and among nations.

Barriers to social inclusion

There are both physical and cultural barriers in all areas of life, Roberto Isaías highlights the following:

Barriers to social inclusion Roberto Isaías


Discrimination occurs when a person is unjustifiably treated differently or excluded from a service or opportunity.

It is discrimination if it occurs because of any of the following conditions: 

  • Nationality;
  • sex;
  • color;
  • ancestry or national, ethnic or social origin
  • ethnic or social origin;
  • genetic characteristics;
  • language, religion or convictions;
  • political or other opinions.


Poverty is the state in which a person does not have sufficient resources to meet his or her minimum needs.

Measuring poverty is not easy and is often criticized for being subjective. The most common way for economists to measure it is based on people’s income.

Educational and economic inequalities 

Social exclusion limits access to education and to decent conditions for accessing it.

As a result, poverty circles are perpetuated and social gaps widen between those who enjoy their economic, social and cultural rights and those who do not. 

Lack of access to basic services 

Access to basic services such as clean water and sanitation, immunizations and adequate nutrition are indispensable for quality of life.

Social inclusion seeks to ensure that all people have access to these services.

How to promote social inclusion

In order to be inclusive, it is necessary to have empathy, that is, to put oneself in the other’s place.

To have a deep and attentive look at the emotions and difficulties of others, and above all, to have solidarity as a principle. 

Sensitization and awareness 

Sensitization is a key factor in social inclusion, it promotes the creation of positive attitudes, respect, solidarity, appreciation and tolerance.

This fosters coexistence, empathy, and favors the integration of people with disabilities.

Public policies and programs 

Public policies are instruments that allow us to respond to the demands of society.

These programs focused on social inclusion help governments to have a favorable impact on life and territories.

Community action and social mobilization

Organized civil society has made great strides in building a more inclusive society. 

Social mobilization and community action are tools that empower communities. With them, they transform the realities of the most vulnerable people.

Corporate social responsibility

Unlike corporate philanthropy, corporate social responsibility refers to the responsibility that companies have with respect to the social and environmental impact of their activities. 

It seeks to balance the generation of economic benefits with sustainable development and social welfare.

Benefits of an inclusive society 

The benefits of an inclusive society are many and are reflected in social welfare, productivity and economic development, strengthening democracy and improving the quality of life for all people.

Improved social welfare 

An inclusive society is a fairer and more equitable society, in which all people have equal opportunities and rights. 

It improves the well-being of the population, reducing poverty and social exclusion.

Increased productivity and economic development 

Social inclusion is also a driver of economic growth, as it fosters innovation and creativity.

Companies that value diversity and foster an inclusive environment perform better and are more competitive in the marketplace.

Strengthening democracy

In a democratic society, all people have a say in the decisions that affect their lives. 

Inclusion fosters citizen participation and civic engagement, contributing to the construction of a more participatory and transparent political culture.

Improving the quality of life for all people

An inclusive society provides equal access to basic services such as education, health, employment and housing. Especially for those who belong to historically marginalized or discriminated groups

Why is social inclusion important?

It is important because it contributes to building a more just, equitable and sustainable society.

It can improve social cohesion and reduce violence, which contributes to creating an enabling environment for economic and social development.


Roberto Isaías, explains extensively what is social inclusion, key concepts and importance.

From this article we can conclude that:

  • Social inclusion is an objective shared by all, which requires the commitment and collaboration of all social actors.
  • It guarantees that all people have access to the same rights and opportunities.
  • Together we can build a more inclusive society, in which all people can enjoy a full and dignified life.