Why is it Important to Support Equality and Diversity in the Work Environment?
It is important to support equality and diversity in the work environment – and here is how you can start to do it!
One way to support this work is to fully understand what it means. What is diversity? There are two types of diversity, diversity of thought and diversity of identity. Diversity of thought is a variety of thoughts, perspectives and experiences. Diversity of identity is largely demographic based and includes differences in sex, gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, language, age, ability, location, income, etc… Diversity of identity is thought to produce diversity of thought because people of different genders or races have very different experiences and perspectives in life.
What is equality? And how does it differ from equity? Equality is the removal of systemic barriers where all people because of their sex, language, gender, race, ethnicity, ability, etc.… are equally valued, respected and belong. Equality is our end game and our utopian world that we hope to achieve. Equity is how we can get to equality. Equity is identifying and understanding the unique needs of diverse groups of people and then supporting people according to their needs to provide them with the opportunity to be successful. By advancing equity and doing equity work, we are able to identify people’s needs and the barriers that they experience to be able to remove them successfully.
So, what does diversity, equity and equality look like in a workplace? If our goal is for all people to be valued and respected and at the decision-making table of leadership in our organization then diversity is getting people from a variety of identities through the door or focusing on identity demographics when hiring. Then equity is providing the diverse groups of people with tailored support according to their needs to be able to compete on equal footing for promotion opportunities. Equity could also include creating a specific mentorship program for female employees as woman do not have as much access to leadership networks which in turn can hinder one’s career. Another equity measure could include ensuring that all leadership decision-making is based upon consensus because if there is only one or two underrepresented groups at the decision table, in order to have their voices strongly considered, distributing the power of the decision0making method would encourage others to consider their views and perspectives as well.
We are all aware that our world is unequal and that from the moment of birth, we all face different hardships or privileges based on our identities. However, by advancing diversity, equity and inclusion, we are able to ensure that all the privileges a person may experience in life is due to their efforts or their hard work and not because of their skin colour or their gender.
Contact Canadian Equality Consulting today to assist with this.