People often use the terms equity and equality interchangeably, however they have a significant difference between them. According to United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESDOC),
“Gender equality, equality between men and women does not mean that women and men have to become the same, but that their rights, responsibilities and opportunities will not depend on whether they were born male or female.
Gender equity means fairness of treatment for men and women according to their respective needs. This may include equal treatment or treatment that is different but which is considered equivalent in terms of rights, benefits, obligations, and opportunities.”
It is possible to infer that gender equality is the ultimate objective and gender equity is the method to achieve it. Therefore we need equity at workplaces to reach the point of gender equality.
Equality vs Equity
In the workplace, equality implies that all employees are given the same privileges, regulations, and opportunities irrespective of their gender. Although this may appear to be a smart inclusion approach at first look, employers must keep in mind that not all employees start from the same place. Rather than eradicating unconscious prejudice and other biases and fostering an inclusive workplace culture, this compounds existing inequality.
Equity, on the other hand, refers to results that are fair and equitable, not merely assistance and resources. Companies seek to identify and address special requirements linked to demographics such as ethnicity, colour, gender and gender identity, impairments, and more when it comes to workplace equality. When it comes to inclusion initiatives and workplace diversity, the needs and problems of different persons are taken into account.
Why do we need Gender equity at workplaces?
Women continue to be underrepresented at all levels, from entry-level positions to C-suite positions. In top managerial roles, the underrepresentation becomes much more pronounced. Women make up only 22% of C-suite executives. Only 38% of women are promoted to management positions, compared to 62 percent of males in managing positions.
In India's agricultural industry, the daily salary for males is 264.05 rupees and for women is 205.32 rupees, according to the Labour Bureau. The average daily wage rate for males in non-agricultural vocations is 271.17, while it is 205.90 for women.
As we continue to witness this huge gap in the opportunities available to women at workplaces even in the 21st century, we require gender equity at workplaces to bring our women to a position where we can say that now our women are equal.
It all starts with clearly outlining diversity goals and holding workers formally accountable for achieving them, especially those in positions of authority who can serve as role models for others. It also entails establishing bias-free recruiting and promotion policies, actively trying to create an inclusive and courteous culture, and providing flexibility to workers as they balance work and family obligations.