To a great many people, equality and equity mean basically the same thing and use the words interchangeably. But equality and equity are different concepts, the differences are more than semantic. We all want to be treated equally, but in order for that to happen, some of us may need more help, and some of us may need less.
Equality is when you give two people or entities something of equal value. If you’re the president of the university, that may mean giving two departments the exact same budget increase, say $1 million. But what if one of those departments is highly specialized and has only 20 students in it, say, a comparative linguistics, and the other has thousands, such as the university’s medical school. Is that a fair move on the part of the university president? One department, the medical school, will be woefully underfunded, and its students will suffer, whereas the other department won’t even be able to spend all of its budget.
The point is, equality sounds great, but it won’t necessarily mean everyone who is affected by a decision will be on a level playing field. To do that, you need equity.
Equity is when you give everyone the resources needed to be successful, which is very different from giving everyone the same thing.
Let’s say we hire two new employees at Paragon, one who came from another digital agency, and the other who just graduated from college. Treating them with equality would mean they’d each get the same level of new employee training, and then be told to service clients. The new graduate can’t possibly succeed without the critical knowledge needed to understand how campaigns work, how to use the tools needed to complete a task, and so on. That person wouldn’t succeed, they are almost set up for failure.
Fairness requires investing in people, in our case, our employees, so they can succeed in their jobs and find personal fulfilment (which is why we launched the Paragon Digital Academy). To many, fairness is getting the exact same thing, but that only works when we’re all the same to start with.
Paragon services clients across all industry sectors and who are located all over the world. Sometimes a client needs a little bit more help to succeed, and we’re okay with that. Equity is what we strive for.
Americans like to say that we all need to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. But as Naheed Dosani explains, “equality is giving everyone a shoe; equity is giving everyone a shoe that fits.”
To find out more about the Paragon Digital Academy, or how we can drive efficiencies for your business, get in touch.