Equity vs Equality
Though often used interchangeably, equality and equity are fundamentally different concepts. The theme for International Women’s Day’s 2023 aims to help us understand why “equal opportunities are no longer enough.”
But surely, equal opportunity for all is exactly what we should strive for?
In fact, equitable opportunities are what’s truly needed.
So, what’s the difference? In short, it comes down to an individualised approach.
Equality means giving everyone the same opportunity and tools regardless of who they are and the barriers that may stand in the way of their success.
Equity on the other hand, considers circumstances and requirements, supporting each individual with the resources to ensure that their chances of success are truly equal to those of the wider group.
These circumstances and requirements can include anything from disability, neurodiversity, financial barriers, education barriers, and more.
Gender bias is one major contributor, here’s how:
- McKinsey reported that women’s jobs are 1.8x more vulnerable to crisis than men’s, an imbalance made starkly apparent by the covid 19 pandemic.
- The burden of unpaid work and childcare also falls disproportionately on women, creating an additional barrier to career success.
- Underrepresentation of women in STEM subjects and bias towards males in technical roles makes it considerably harder for women to secure roles in tech, and more so to progress to seniority.
These factors all contribute to a case of dramatic gender inequity in the tech industry, and it’s essential we counteract this. Some ways for employers to do so include adopting flexible policies, and championing female talent through learning and development programmes, training and mentorship.
How gender Equity can benefit your workplace
So, we’ve started to cover the ‘how’, but what about the ‘why’?
Here are a few key reasons you should focus on gender equity within your business:
- Talent Attraction and reputation
Ever heard the phrase ‘If I don’t see it, I can’t become it’?
When underrepresented groups, such as women, see role models like themselves in leadership roles, their motivation and sense of belonging benefit.
There are untapped oceans of talent out there ready to help you transform your business. Female representation within leadership could make your business more appealing to promising candidates.
You can gain valuable skills and boost your DEI efforts, without expensive and lengthy recruiting strategies. Showcase your commitment to gender diversity and encourage that untapped diverse talent to come to you.
- Avoid Groupthink and boost innovation
Groupthink occurs when you have a lot of similar people in a room… this can be especially hazardous when big decisions are made in that room.
Due to shared characteristics, a culture that avoids ‘rocking the boat’ or lack of new perspectives, a homogenous group can easily agree on poor decisions. This piece from BetterUp explores examples of the business consequences of Groupthink… in the worst cases, including bankruptcy.
On the other end of the spectrum, gender diverse teams thrive and out-perform.
Global Diversity Practice asserts that ‘Teams that are gender, age and ethnically diverse make better decisions up to 87% of the time.’
- Increased revenue – yes, really!
Of course, we want to drive to create more diverse organisations because A) it’s the right thing to do and B) it makes for a more enjoyable environment. But we also want to see our businesses and employees financially thriving.
From this perspective too, gender diversity is essential.
BCG.com reported that an increase in female managers can boost innovation revenue. Companies with below-average diversity reported 26% of their revenue was attributable to team innovation. In companies with above-average diversity, that figure was 45%.
The role of L&D in equity and equality
We’ve seen that ensuring gender diverse representation ‘at the top’ of your structure should be a high priority, yet many organisations in tech still struggle with a gap between women at the mid-level, compared to the senior level of employment.
The path to achieving diverse leadership begins with that mid-level talent, either existing within your workforce, or being recruited in.
Through workplace learning and development, you can counteract the challenges faced by women in tech, helping elevate them to a level which creates real, tangible equity within your organisation.
Whether you’re looking to upskill, reskill, recruit or nurture specific skills, QA’s higher apprenticeships provide a roadmap towards the next level of seniority.
Partner with us as a training provider to proactively close the gender gap, and reap the rewards of diverse leadership.
Most importantly, we can enable you to champion female talent who will lead the future of your organisation through transformation toward success in the digital age.
To take your next step in championing female leaders, and embracing equity this international women’s day, get in touch here to find out about our leadership programs, and how we can support your EDI goals.