When referring to equal treatment regardless of sex, people tend to use the terms “gender
equity” and “gender equality” interchangeably, but they differ greatly in definition and application.
Gender equality refers to individuals receiving the same rights, resources, and rewards
regardless of their sex. Gender equality gives an illusion of fairness, because both are given
equal opportunities, when in reality both genders don’t start in the same position as a result of
one gender being favored more than another in a society. This is where gender equity comes in,
which states that genders don’t need equal treatment, they need resources that can cater for
their individual needs. As a marginalized group, there needs to be more opportunities as a way
to make up for the years of being oppressed and not having the same privileges that caused
another group to be ahead in the game.

Gender equity doesn’t necessarily erase gender equality as a “new” definition, but it just comes
before it. To have equal opportunities and fairness, equity needs to come before equality. All will
receive equal treatment, when the marginalized group gets more opportunities to reach the
group that’s on another level of privilege.
To be a workplace that values equal opportunities, it’s important to acknowledge the
marginalized group and to think of ways to present it with its specific and tailored needs.

Ways to close the gender gap and reach equality through equity at work:

1.Be clear in organization policies

Be vocal on where you stand with issues like this. It’s important that the vision and policy
of the organization is clear from the get go about the desire to support and champion
women. It’s also important to directly state that the workplace does not tolerate any form
of gender discrimination, and that it values diversity and inclusion. With this kind of
leadership in mind, the organization is likely to attract like-minded managers and leaders
in senior positions that will know how to foster a healthy and safe work environment for

2.Mentor and train managers

Having clear organization policies will make it easier to appoint managers with aligned
visions, but it is still important to lead by example as senior leaders and show managers
what true leadership looks like. Training managers to unbiasedly evaluate all employees
in selection and promotion processes, deal with unexpected situations, and to make both
men and women part of the conversation about equity can be a great way for managers
to take ownership in establishing an inclusive work environment.

3.Be flexible in work arrangements

As a result of gender roles and societal rules and expectations, women might need
different arrangements than men when it comes to working hours, work-load, and
maternity leaves. It’s important to be mindful and to regularly ask women about what
they might need to do differently in order to be able to give the best quality of work that
they can, while also being able to feel seen and heard. It’s important to engage women
in conversations, because not all women have the same needs or adhere to certain
societal expectations.

4.Don’t make assumptions

Making decisions based on preconceived notions or biases can reinforce stereotypes
and gender roles. Making assumptions about a woman’s ability to take on a task, role, or
promotion can act as a barrier in achieving gender equity. It’s important to lay down
assumptions and biases, and to make decisions with inclusivity in mind.

5.Invest in developing women

Harmful assumptions can automatically lead to a desire to invest and develop men to
propel and prepare them for a specific role. Women are in need of this development and
training as well, and not bothering to develop them at all erases any chance they might
have and sets them back. It’s important to develop, train, and provide networking
channels to help women achieve more in the organization.

Reflection Questions:

●Do I ever consciously or subconsciously undermine the women in my
● What can I do to lift them up and make my organization a safe and just place for

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