Gender Equity vs Gender Equality

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.


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. 👇

Are you watering down your DEI Initatives?

Are you watering down your DEI Initatives?

𝗔𝗿𝗲 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝘄𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗱𝗼𝘄𝗻 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗗𝗘𝗜 𝗶𝗻𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗮𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗲𝘀?

There is a difference between compliance training and real development.

I don’t work in compliance training, but unfortunately, many organisations mistake DEI as another compliance topic.

At the heart, many organisations want to be seen to be tackling the issue and are looking for options that can tick boxes.

Unconscious Bias Training has become a go-to option for organisations wanting more than just EEO and anti-discrimination modules, but in reality, it is not doing what you think it is doing.

Whilst Unconscious Bias is now a fairly well-known term, very few people take any meaningful steps.

Most people think ‘greater awareness’ is a suitable outcome or takeaway, without actually challenging what this awareness is or how it will inform their actions going forward.

The training ticks a box. And then people wonder why it hasn’t produced any meaningful change.

We may have crossed our arms, and committed to #breakthebias2022, for International Women’s Day 2022, but how has that been going for you?

We get kudos for showing up. We applaud commitments to champion change.

That’s the end of the story.

Next time, pay attention to the subtle use of words used by a program sponsor or a senior leader that has been through unconscious bias training.

“WE need to address this” or “WE need to do more about this.” or something similar…

Whilst sharing accountability through ‘WE’ (and getting everyone’s heads nodding) it actually also serves to negate personal responsibility.

Which means nothing changes.

Better leadership looks like:

“I am going to fix the problem by….”

“I am going to change the way… “

“I know that I’ve been getting it wrong”.

Unfortunately, we often fall into the trap of thinking it is other people’s biases that we need to break.

This mindset leaves us to overlook our own prejudices.

This mindset evades the uncomfortable truth that we are contributing to the problem.

Some more than others.

Our discomfort is worth others feeling more comfortable.

Discomfort is where learning happens.

Discomfort motivates real change.

You don’t need more unconscious bias training.

We don’t need more slides or e-learning.

We need a better intervention.

#blokecoaching is an uncomfortable program.

And we make no apologies for that.

Clients get upset.

They cry. They argue.

Through the program, we help everyone to understand their privilege, the patriarchal system and their individual prejudices, and those topics are going to stir up some big feelings.

But that is part of the process. And our clients are better for it.