Diversity is the differences between humans. It can be vocation, income, education, race, family status, ability, intelligence, ethnicity, culture, veteran, mental health, emotional health, neurodiversity, religion, gender, sex, sexual orientation…. And the list goes on.
It is our differences that make us beautiful and individual. Our differences help us bring a unique perspective to issues we encounter not only in our personal lives but in our work lives. Diversity in the workplace is shown to increase retention, sales, innovation, morale, and much more!
Equality is providing equal access to the same opportunity. Everyone gets X. Everyone is entitled to Y.
Equity is providing proportional access to the same opportunity. Some groups and individuals haven’t had access or have been denied opportunities for reasons beyond their control. Therefore they need additional support (proportional access) to “catch up.”
A dad, a six year old daughter, and the twin son in a wheelchair – but there is a tall fence in the way.
Equality would say everyone gets the same access to the same opportunity, so each individual will receive a box to stand on. Dad can see over the fence and now can see even higher. The daughter can now, on her tippy toes, see over the fence. The twin brother, though, cannot use his box. It’s perfectly great box, but he can’t get his wheelchair up on it.
Equity would say everyone gets proportional access to the same opportunity. Dad doesn’t need a box, he can see without it. The daughter gets two boxes and is now as tall as her dad. The boy gets a ramp so he can get up and down himself and enjoy watching the game with his family.
There are going to be times where equality is the road to take and other times equity is the road that needs to be taken. To know which you need, you have to assess the situation at hand.
Question: In the scenario before, do you think the boy in the wheelchair was included when we took an equal approach or an equitable approach?
Answer: You could argue yes for both! Both equality and equity provided the boy with a resource to help him see the game.
Question: In the scenario before, do you think the boy in the wheelchair felt included when we took an equal approach or an equitable approach?
Answer: Equitable approach for sure.
Inclusion is more than saying “we are glad you are here.” It’s about making sure everyone actually belongs and feel like they belong.