“An equitable outcome is one where every individual from every demographic has the opportunity to reach their full potential resulting in more economic opportunity for everyone.”
The simple definition of equity refers to fairness and justice. Whilst it is easy to list it as a synonym to equality, it is in fact a very different matter. Equality fights for the same for everyone, expecting that this will make people equal. However, this wrongly assumes that we all start out in the same place. Inequality affects many people, historically it has and continues to block marginalized communities.
Equality revolves around the concept of fairness, which makes things tricky as it is often assumed that being fair means that everybody should get the same thing. Equality is only fair if we all start with the same things, equality only works in a world where we are all equal to begin with. The only way to truly remove these barriers is through personalized approaches.
The goal of equity is to change systemic and structural barriers that get in the way of people’s ability to thrive. Equity acknowledges that people do not begin life in the same place and unfortunately, evolving circumstances make it increasingly difficult for people to achieve the same goals. Despite leaps of progress, women are still under-represented in the workplace. Even more so, inequality affects people of colour, people with disabilities, economically disadvantaged groups and those in the LGBTQ+ community. This is why equity is so important, peoples experiences are diverse and reach beyond gender.
“ 42% of young women have experienced discrimination whilst working or looking for work. Furthermore, 73% of women experience bias at work—yet less than a third of employees are able to recognize bias when they see it.”
– Young Women’s Trust: Annual Survey 2022
Whether it is deliberate or unconscious, bias makes it not only harder for women to get hired, but it blocks promotion and career progression. Aside from this, it negatively impacts day to day life. Finding connection and support at work is a major challenge. Since most senior leaders are men, women are less likely to have access to mentors who can not only relate to their experiences, but promote important change.
Significant numbers of young women are in precarious financial situations, this hardship is only spurred on in the ongoing cost of living crisis. Young Women’s Trust: Annual Survey 2022 found that 44% of young women have been offered zero hour contracts in 2022, compared to 33% of young men.
“Women and underrepresented groups alone cannot solve diversity and inclusion problems. An ally is a person who stands up for others to proactively build inclusion in our workplace”
So how do we as individuals, or as employers, managers or coworkers ‘Embrace Equity’ in a system which is flawed? One vital way is to become an active ally. Active Allyship in the workplace means that we as individuals must put in the groundwork to not only examine, but confront personal and systematic bias. When we not only witness, but acknowledge bias we can then build actionable change.
Active Allyship is arguably the most important catalyst to not only build but drive inclusion in our workplaces and communities. It must become a daily practice sustained through not only action, but education. Rosanna Durruthy writes about the importance of connection in order to “explore where you can be creating opportunities, build professional bonds and act as a resource and advocate for others in your professional community”.
Ok things have improved over time, but this doesn’t mean we should settle. Nor does it mean that we should overlook barriers that disadvantage groups still face. Make the commitment to yourself to become an active ally, ensure that people’s rights are upheld and respected. It is important to create communities that revolve around compassionate accountability. Remember, your perspective will always be limited by your own circumstances and personal biases. Keep listening, sharing and growing and actively drive for inclusive culture. It is only through embracing equity that we can achieve equality.
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Thanks for reading,
If you don’t pick something up, you don’t know how heavy it is.
I keep thinking about this. The weight of shame and those people who choose not to pick it up. We are all victims and victimisers in a racist system. Some feel it everyday in every part of their body and some are completely blind and untouched.
We are all hurting. Yes in very different ways and by no means do I pretend to know the pain of being a person of colour, but racism hurts us all. If you don’t take this time to think, listen, talk, read, learn, explore, challenge, you will miss out and you will also remain part of the problem. None of us cannot afford you to stay silent. Yes it is awkward and if you are white you might be worried about saying the wrong thing, but that is a small price to pay, part of the long overdue relearning and it is also your privilege.
Resmaa Menakem‘s language and approach to racism and trauma really speaks to me.
“Creating community and a somatically attuned life helped me achieve positivity while challenging my own limitations around race and trauma. I want to inspire my community and humanity to acknowledge their “white-body supremacy trauma” and find pathways to heal. I want to help you metabolize the decontextualized internalized “white body supremacy” energy to create fuel for freedom.”
We must all be antiracist. Investigate what this looks like for yourself- this work is for you, for me, for everyone. Things cannot go back to the way they were and change is an action. It takes effort and movement and if you are sitting still and looking the other way, you are dragging us all behind. If you don’t know where to start, read our newsletter and check out some of the leaders like Ibram X Kendi, Resmaa Menakem, Robin Diangelo and many more.
This is close to my heavy heart.
by Dani Trudeau
Bodies in motion tend to stay in motion. I really believe this and as a former dancer, I also believe that still bodies tend to stay in one place. No doubt there are times when motion is best and when stillness is best but when it comes to innovation, motion is the way.
Fear, like joy, can tell us that we are where we are supposed to be and that change is coming. Facing the fear is the change point. So often we tell ourselves that we need more of something before we are ‘ready’. We put off any action and any risks and chalk it up to bad timing. I don’t remember anyone ever coming up with an idea, testing it out and then seeing what to do next, ever regretting that process.
Any new adventure, any new pursuit that is meaningful to you will most likely create some tension. Because if it didn’t mean anything, then it wouldn’t really matter so much. Confidence starts with an act of courage and over time, as you learn to become braver and put things in action, it grows into confidence. In other words, instead of waiting to feel confident to act, find what action you can take, big or small.
Confidence grows through courage and practice until you become competent – and that requires you to take action.
I cannot close without a shout out to my friends Juliette and Hannah. Both send me a text every now again to see if I want to go to dance class with them. I keep waiting for my courage to go back to dancing. I should put my own advice into motion. Noted.