Some organizations consider equity an aspect of inclusion. But even if your organization uses the phrase "diversity and inclusion," it's still worth discussing equity in your D&I efforts.
There are two main reasons why equity may be the missing piece in many organizations that are struggling to improve diversity and inclusion:
Your diversity problem may be an equity problem. Organizations struggling to retain and promote diverse candidates may need to be more proactive about investing in training, mentoring or networking connections for historically marginalized groups. If organizations want a more diverse executive team, they may need to start leadership development programs earlier and support historically underrepresented groups to give them the relationships and experiences necessary for success. This may even precede selection into a leadership program -- starting with daily feedback, coaching and mentorship or sponsorship.
our inclusion problem may be an equity problem. Respect is the foundation of inclusion. If people do not feel respected, they don't feel like they belong. Equity -- fairness -- is innately tied to respect. Unfair pay practices, promotions or recognition naturally create insiders and outsiders. As a result, trying to promote warmth, trust and authenticity in an organization that feels structurally inequitable will inevitably fail -- and likely backfire.
Equality and equity do not mean the same thing. Equality refers to treating each person the same; equity refers to allocating resources based on need because everyone has different circumstances. Equity considers historical and sociopolitical factors that affect opportunities and experiences, and it designs policies and systems to meet the unique needs of others without giving an unfair advantage.
When it comes to the workplace, consider an organization that posts a job opening for a leadership position. The job posting is open for anyone to apply, and applicants will be judged based on their merits. In this way, there's equality -- everyone is treated the same.
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