Every year on International Women’s Day, the United Nations (UN) creates a themed initiative geared towards celebrating and empowering women in various fields and aspects of life. This year the theme is ‘EMBRACING EQUITY’.
The end goal of this initiative is not for people to simply hear about it, but for them to act on it by incorporating equity practices in their workspace. This can only be done effectively through learning about equity.
What is equity?
Equity is part of the 3-pronged pillars that ensures your workplace is a representative of the world around you alongside equality, and diversity & inclusion (D&I)
Though these pillars work together, they all differ in meaning. In this case, equity ensures all individuals in the workspace operate on the same playing field; regardless of their ethnicity, nationality, physical/mental ability, and gender or sexual orientation.
What is the aim of equity?
Every cause is aimed at achieving a certain goal. Equity is no different, as it aims to provide fair opportunities for all employees based on their individual needs and aspirations. This means everyone expects and receives the same treatment in terms of opportunity, consequences, and rewards.
Equity vs Equality
Although they sound similar and tackle similar issues, these two words have a primary difference that lies in how each concept seeks to address issues
Equality means treating everyone in the organization the same, without discrimination. Under the law in most countries, employers must treat every employee with the same degree of respect and dignity, regardless of gender, race, ethnic background, sexuality, or disability status.It also seeks to provide employees with the same money, resources, and opportunities as all workers at a similar level.
While striving for equality is important, it often doesn’t address deeper-seated issues like under-representation, unique needs, and an unfair status quo.
Equity, by comparison, seeks to identify and address those nuances and needs between individuals. While equality means equal opportunities for all, equity means a proportional representation of the same opportunities. Or, a leveling of the playing field. This is accomplished by identifying the specific needs and requirements informed by demographic traits within the organization. Those needs are then addressed by offering targeted support to those demographic groups that bridge any opportunity gaps that exist between minority and majority groups at the company.
Here’s why you should focus on equity
Equity gives a larger pool of employees equal opportunity to grow into leadership positions, ultimately leading to greater cognitive diversity in leadership positions. This, in turn, makes the company more agile and resilient to market changes and opportunities
How we adopt equity in your workspace
- Understand and promote the importance of equity
- Evaluate and improve your companies equity practices
- Create targeted incentive programs for your employees
- actively find ways to support diverse employees toward promotions and more senior positions. The best candidate should always get the job, but everyone should be given equal opportunity to grow into positions of leadership.
- Make resources available to all members of the staff according to their needs and circumstances
Remember change only happens when everyone is an active participant. Be an active participant in embracing equity.