This year's theme of International Women's Day is an important one. Embracing equity is key to fair treatment, access, and advancement for each person in an organization. A case can even be made for equity being the key to improving diversity and inclusion. But what is it, really?
In all honesty, it hasn't always been clear to me. As a non-English speaker, I've used the word equality to cover many things relating to fairness without giving it much thought. Not long ago, I realized that although many people use equality and equity interchangeably, they are very different concepts.
Equality means treating everyone the same. While this sounds fair on the surface, it can lead to further marginalization of certain groups of people, as people are treated the same regardless of their individual needs or circumstances. Equity, on the other hand, means recognizing that different people have different needs and providing them with the support and resources they need to be successful.
I asked (my best friend) ChatGPT for an analogy to illustrate the difference between equality and equity, and this is the result:
"Let's use a fun analogy: a race! Imagine that you're organizing a race, and you want to ensure everyone has an equal chance to win. If you were to treat everyone equally, you might give them all the same running shoes, regardless of their foot size or running style. However, this puts some people at a disadvantage - for example, someone with wide feet might find the shoes uncomfortable, or someone with flat arches might need extra support. In order to promote equity, you would instead provide each runner with the shoes that are best suited to their individual needs. This way, everyone has a fair chance to compete."
So why does equity matter in an organization like Lucinity? For starters, it's the right thing to do. We believe that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, including providing them with the support they need to succeed. But equity isn't just a moral imperative - it's also good for business. Research has shown that companies with diverse and inclusive workforces are more innovative, productive, and profitable than those without.
So what can companies do to promote a culture of equity? Those committed to equity take a proactive approach to address unfairness in the workplace. They accept that there are broad, historical, and ongoing disparities and attempt to mitigate these inequities through positive action. This is, of course, one of those things that are way easier to say than do.
At Lucinity, we recognize that promoting equity is an ongoing journey, and we are committed to continuously learning and growing in this area. To put our words into action, we both have a Pay Equity Policy and a comprehensive Equity Action Plan that touches on many points in the employee experience; recruitment, compensation and benefits, opportunities for growth and development, work-life balance, and preventing harassment and discrimination. Our Pay Equity Policy and Equity Action Plan have clear objectives and strategies for achieving them.
Ultimately, equity isn't just a nice-to-have - it's essential to a successful and thriving workplace. By embracing equity, we can create a culture where everyone feels valued and supported and where every individual has the opportunity to reach their full potential. So let's get out there and race towards equity!