Small wooden figures representing the concept of inclusiveness and integration

Difference between inclusion and integration

In search of a society for all

When we speak about "inclusion" and "social integration," it's not always clear what the difference is. However, both concepts differ in the way they approach the way people participate in society. Both are used in the context of diversity and equal opportunities, but their approach varies. Let's look at the difference between them.


What is social integration?

Social integration refers to a series of actions whose aim is to include people with disabilities or in situations of vulnerability in the system.

Specific opportunities and spaces are created for them, to enable them to develop their full potential and achieve social well-being.

For example, special education groups within the education system must be mentioned, which provide classes exclusively for students with disabilities, as well as the assignment of specific classes or designated areas for employees with any disabilities in companies. The origin of this name dates back to the 1920s and was driven by the sociologist Émile Durkheim.

What is social inclusion?

Cut out silhouettes of people on one hand

Social inclusion is a process that guarantees the necessary opportunities and resources for full and equal participation of all members of society, regardless of their individual characteristics or differences.

It's based on the need to transform the environment so that it includes people in situations of vulnerability, instead of trying to make them adapt to the existing model of society, in a way that values, respects, and offers equal opportunities to all individuals.

This perspective started to gain importance in the 1980s and gradually replaced the social integration approach, which had predominated until then. From the perspective of social inclusion, the personal characteristics of each individual are taken into account in order to enable their participation in all activities, without separating or differentiating anyone.

Main differences between integration and inclusion

Although the aim of both approaches is to solve the difficulties related to the social exclusion of vulnerable groups, while promoting the equal opportunities and rights of all people, the way they approach this issue is significantly different.

A group of different people bumping fists

While social integration is understood as the inclusion of people in situations of vulnerability in the existing system, while making them adapt to the rules and structures that make it up, social inclusion transforms the system and implements policies to eliminate barriers and offer equality to all.

In social integration, the responsibility of adapting usually falls on people, while in social inclusion it is society and the community who offer support and adjustments to include individuals and groups. The approach therefore shifts from the person to the system, which takes into account every human being on an equal footing and without prejudice.

Inclusion doesn't disguise limitations or correct them. Instead, it takes them into account in order to eliminate the barriers that hinder people's participation in the educational, labor, and social systems. In other words, it provides what each person needs to enjoy equal rights.

Repsol and inclusion in the work environment


One of the main hurdles for social inclusion is the lack of insertion in the job market of people and groups in vulnerable situations. In fact, in the case of people with disabilities, more than 65 % are unemployed. When it comes to women, long-term unemployment has a rate of 44% compared to 38.3% of men. These examples highlight a deep social inequality that in Spain alone affects 26.1% of the population.

That's why at Repsol we work for the social inclusion of all people and groups through their insertion in the job market. For us, generational, cultural, and gender diversity, alongside the integration of people with disabilities, contribute to creating considerably varied, new ideas and perspectives. That's why 80% of our employees think that Repsol is a good place to work.

What do we do at Repsol?

  • We are committed to gender equality through mentoring programs, unconscious bias training, design of female talent maps in order to enhance the leadership of women, and the development of our equal opportunities plan to improve the labor situation of women. Our aim is to reach 35% of women in leadership positions.
  • With regards to people with disabilities, we have a total of 486 employees in the different countries where we operate. The Diverse Talent project addresses advances in prevention and accessibility, in addition to contemplating the evolution of our corporate culture based on our values as a company. Identifying talent, improving the quality of life of all people, facilitating integration, and eliminating the barriers that hinder it are just some of the aspects that reflect our commitment to equal opportunities.
  • We also have specific programs that ensure the transmission of knowledge from the most-experienced employees to new hires, while we promote the so-called "professions of the future." Generational diversity enriches us as a company by making the most of the youngest talent but also the wisdom, experience, and professionalism of the most experienced.

  • Another driver of growth and source of value for us as a company is cultural diversity. We have more than 24,000 employees representing 79 nationalities, which allows us to enjoy a perspective that is as plural as it is enriching within Repsol.
  • We are also committed to the LGBTI+ community, and we express our respect for all people regardless of their sexual orientation, identity, and gender expression. All our actions are based on the principle of equality and non-discrimination, which enables us to create a respectful environment to enhance talent. In this regard, it's worth mentioning the Proud at Repsol allies, who are a group of volunteers that work for the equality of the LGBTI+ community in the workplace, ensuring the well-being of people and equal opportunities in all the company's areas and locations. Repsol has also subscribed to the Standards of Conduct of non-discrimination against LGBTI people promoted by the United Nations and the Ministry of Exterior Affairs. Also, since 2019, it has been part of REDI, an association of businesses and professionals that advocates fostering an inclusive environment that values talent regardless of gender identity.


All these initiatives aimed at inclusion allow us to transform ourselves as a company in order to adapt and welcome all people without discrimination, while promoting equal opportunities and their full participation.