May 18, 2024

5 Key Tips On How To Add Equity Into Your Diversity And Inclusion Initiatives

Diversity and inclusion are beautiful concepts. They highlight our individuality and differences in a manner that is human and as a way to bring us closer together instead of as a close-minded exercise in keeping us separate and at odds. The work surrounding these concepts has been fantastic. We’ve seen companies include diverse faces in their advertisements. There have been companies that have committed themselves to new hiring practices and inclusive office policies. The first steps along this road to justice have been earnest and strong. But without the golden key of equity, the concepts of diversity and inclusion will lose the wings they need to soar.

The common misconception is that diversity, inclusion, equality, and equity are all synonymous and that tackling one is tackling them all. Though this would make things simpler, this is unfortunately not the case. Those from marginalized communities speak of these topics from the individual perspective, but it goes beyond the individual. They want their unique voices magnified to address policies, procedures, and infrastructures: the systems of discrimination.

Diversity allows for differences and representation

Inclusion allows for acceptance, welcoming, and belonging

Equality allows for equal resources (BUT doesn’t always account for differences and structural and historical context)

Equity allows for equal access to opportunities and mobility

Equity stands at the threshold to justice, and without it, all other efforts may fall into the pits of superficiality. Because what does it mean to have a diverse and inclusive staff treated equally if they don’t all have the same access to higher learning, mentorship, and promotions?

Equity allows us to address the systems to effect real substantial change.

This has been the spiderweb tangling many companies as they attempt to address discrimination and inequality. The primary critique, and common joke, is that the companies become less diverse the further up the ladder.

So how do we address this – how do we clear this hurdle preventing true equity in the workplace?

Here are FIVE TIPS on how to include equity into your diversity and inclusion initiatives:

● Reflect on the diversity within leadership positions, i.e., boards, committees, and all levels of management. Note any problematic observations and disparities. This could be an eye-opening moment. Write it down and question, “why?”

● Ensure that everyone has equal access to training, mentors, and opportunities for advancement. This takes diversity from the pages of a pamphlet to the structure of a company.

● Engage will everyone equally. Ensure that your diverse staff has equal outreach efforts.

● Create an anti-discrimination framework of policies and culture that can be followed and evaluated. Clear rules reduce ambiguity and keep old problematic cultures from returning and send a message to the staff that you are committed and dedicated.

● Be accountable. Whether it is feedback from the staff, surveys, and evaluations – having a system of accountability ensures that the framework will be followed and ensures success in your diversity and inclusion efforts.

Following these tips will allow you to contribute a triumphant blow to the fight for justice and equality. By focusing on equity and what it means, its implications, and how it can be improved, your initiatives will create the lasting sustainable change that you, your company, and the rest of the world are fighting for.

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