Gender Equity vs Gender Equality

I was having a discussion earlier this week with a man working in D&I, and he picked up on my language around achieving gender ‘equality’ rather than ‘equity’.

He shared that recently – only three weeks prior – he’d come to the realisation that gender equality would never be achieved and so the goal for him and his organisation is gender equity.

I thought a lot about this. And decided – I disagree.

Passionately.

For a lot of organisations and sections of society, gender equity is the goal. This involves recognising differing experiences across genders and focusing on initiatives that achieve fairness and justice.

Initiatives that are required because the current system isn’t fair or just.

Equality doesn’t mean everyone is treated the same (a common misconception).

Equality across the genders means that rights, responsibilities, and opportunities no longer depend on what gender you identify with.

I don’t want to give up on gender equality.

Through Bloke Coaching I’m helping men to understand male privilege, patriarchy, and prejudice and motivating them to take direct action to rebuild the system in partnership with the other genders.

Through this process, the end goal is to fix the system and achieve equality.

Equity may very well be the temporary measure on the path to equality, as you rebuild the system.

But equality should – IMO – always be the goal.

Without addressing the system, the system will find new ways to disadvantage certain genders. It is very resilient.

Unfortunately, I do sometimes get the feeling that some people who work in D&I tend to perpetuate the need for D&I.

Perhaps they are feeling a bit disenfranchised because they appreciate how large the problem is.

Perhaps they don’t want to put themselves out of a job.

I do.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments. 👇