What is ‘Equity’ and where do I begin?


Bali, M. (2016) Unpacking Terms Around Equity, Power and Privilege. Reflecting Allowed.

Click here to read (Accessed: 17 February 2023)

In this article, Bali critiques some key terminology used in equity work with the purpose of helping us understand the benefits and potential issues within each area. She explores how, when we do not bring a critical perspective to this work, we can fall into the trap of being tokenistic in our efforts to redress the issues marginalised groups face. The article does not serve as a comprehensive evaluation of the terminology, but offers a useful reminder about the importance of not taking things at face value and how nuanced these issues are. It is important to remember that this terminology has not been determined as innately obsolete and damaging, but that there may be instances when they are appropriate and instances when not. It also serves as a good self-assessment checklist of possible issues that could come about during equity work and how we can work to avoid/surpass these.

Lamont, A. (2021) Guide to Allyship.

Click here to read  (Accessed: 23 February 2023)

This Guide to Allyship provides a good induction into how dominant groups can use their privilege to support issues facing marginalised communities. Lamont clearly defines the key elements of allyship before explaining how this guide works, how and why allies should take action, as well as giving a clear list of “dos” and “don’ts” to which we should adhere. There is also an exploration of mistakes allies can make and how they can properly apologise. This section empathetically helps us to understand issues that can occur and how we can rectify these in the most sensitive and genuine way. The guide has been designed to be universal and so is not tailored towards any one marginalised group. As such, it is a great starting point for anyone wanting to be an ally. However, it is important to remember that this is a starting point: we must continue to inform ourselves on these issues and listen to the expertise of marginalised communities if we are to meaningfully act as allies.

Mlaba, K. (2021) Equity vs Equality: What’s the Difference?

Click here to read  (Accessed: 17 February 2023)

This article explores the differences between ‘equity’ and ‘equality’ and argues for the importance in properly understanding each term in order to ensure that inequalities are redressed as effectively as possible. Mlaba explains how inequality and inequity are central to many global issues and argues that implementing equity initiatives is the way to properly resolve these. She helps to distinguish between the two concepts through giving real-world applications, and highlights how the equitable solution offers the superior approach. There is room for further exploration around how and why some of these issues are issues of inequity, and as such how we might begin to tackle them, but her first suggested step of educating oneself is a key measure we must all take in dismantling issues of inequity.

Nayani, Farzana. (2019) Tired of Talking about Race and Diversity? Well, We Are Too.

Click here to read (Accessed: 24 February 2023)

This article showcases some ‘common resistant reactions’ that people can have to equity initiatives and offers a case for how and why we should challenge these. Farzana explains how a mixture of ignorance, the failure to prioritise this work, and perceived inability to act all combine to create the mindset that equity work cannot and should not be done. She highlights how those in power are often not facing these issues themselves and so lack the awareness of how these issues are promoting an elite few and supressing those who do not conform to this standard. Furthermore, there is a lack of allyship from those who do not face these issues, and without their support it leaves the marginalised groups facing this issues in isolation and without sufficient power to fully redress the issues. Farzana explains that action must be taken by those at the top who can legitimise the issue and unite an organisation in its efforts to redress its injustices. What is not mentioned, and should not be forgotten, is that in order for such initiatives to be meaningful and to fully work, individuals leading such endeavours must constantly self-educate and be aware of how they level the power dynamic so that everyone can meaningful participate in these efforts.

Volpe, A. (2022) How to admit you’re wrong.

Click here to read (Accessed: 23 February 2023)

This article investigates why it is difficult to admit wrongdoing and posits a case for being able to admit and accept when mistakes are made, suggesting the benefits this can afford. Volpe draws upon pertinent research to explain why people often deny mistakes and hide these from others. She then offers examples of when people have successfully accepted their mistakes highlighting how the reality was not as bleak as it had been imagined, and how there are often learning benefits from this. Volpe concludes that being able to normalise mistake-making is key to a culture of greater transparency and accountability.

While this article offers a strong argument for the importance of accepting our wrongdoings, it is very individual-focused. This is to say that it does not consider the safety of the environment around us and how this can contribute to our confidence to admit to our fallibilities. To more cohesively push forward for a culture more accepting of mistakes, it is essential that organisational policy, procedure, and culture are all developed in line with this ideology, or else it could continue to place the risk and responsibility of mistake-making on the individual.

Whittaker, R. (2020) What have we done? How not to be complicit in racism.

Click here to read (Accessed: 17 February 2023)

In this article, Whittaker asserts for the importance of structural changes and inclusion of lived experience in the redressing of racial injustices. He asserts that it is important to listen to the voices of those who are subjected to prejudice and discrimination if we are to foster greater awareness of these issues and how we might tackle these. Whittaker then goes on to critique the culture of inaction that is promoted through ignorance and denial of these systemic issues. To demonstrate how progress can be made, he gives examples of the changes that have been enacted in his organisation through recognising and responding to these issues on a whole-systems level. While reading the solutions which Randall has employed, we must remember that issues and solutions cannot be universalised and that these should serve as inspiration rather than a checklist which we must complete.


chescaleigh. (2013) Getting Called Out: How to Apologize.

This video describes what it means to be ‘called out’ and details how people can respond in a way that shows genuine remorse and a commitment to improving their behaviour. Chescaleigh empathetically explains that it is natural to want to defend yourself when people view you as a “bad person”. She says that people try and justify their actions through claiming they had a good intention, rather than acknowledging the real-life impact of their actions. Chescaleigh then offers the alternative approach of accepting accountability and committing to change how you will act in future, and proceeds to offer an example of how this apology could be structured.

What is perhaps missed from this video is the context of how we deliver an apology and the importance of allowing people to respond to an apology in any way they wish. Being able to apologise well does not entitle us to see the victim of our behaviour accept our apology and it does not entitle us to endless mistakes. We must follow through on our promise to hold ourselves accountable by taking genuine steps to self-educate. Furthermore, we should seek acceptance of the course of actions from within, rather than trying to force someone to accept an apology due to our own need for closure.

Eliana Pipes. (2016) Legos and the 4 I’s of Oppression

This short video breaks down oppression it into four distinctive ‘interlocking aspects’. Pipes explores how these types of oppression are unique and uses real-life examples of how they come about and what this looks like. She also makes the case that these different aspects of oppression must exist in combination and that they function to support and uphold one another. While there is little exploration around how we might begin to challenge and dismantle these oppressive structures, Pipes encourages us to use this framework as a guide in our initial approach: we must consider all of these four aspects of oppression if we wish to meaningfully work towards redressing it in full.

TED. (2022) “A Seat at the Table” Isn’t the Solution for Gender Equity |Lilly Singh |TED

In this TedTalk, Singh uses her lived experience of discrimination to demonstrate how gender inequities oppress women, and gives four ways of how we might begin to challenge and overcome some of these barriers. Singh argues that being treated the same as the dominant group (men) does not work as it is to offer a solution based on equality. This means it fails to consider structural inequities, i.e., even when given opportunities, there are often barriers/caveats to these which prevent women from excelling in the same capacity as men. To overcome these injustices, Signh asserts that organisations must recognise their biases and begin to meaningfully invest in marginalised individuals. This talk does well to highlight the complexities of issues of inequity, but the solutions need to look beyond interpersonal support and consider how societal structures and organisational culture may get in the way of implementing these resolutions effectively.

TED. (2022) Loretta J. Ross: Don’t call people out — call them in | TED.

In this TedTalk, Ross critiques the effectiveness of call-out culture as a way to challenge hate and instead advocates for a more supportive culture of ‘calling-in’. She critiques cancel culture as it incites defensiveness and perpetuates the false idea that there has to be one correct way of doing things. To engage people in conversations wherein they feel inclined to listen to us and change their ways, Ross argues that we need to approach these situations with love, empathy, and a respect for the other person. By letting someone else feel heard, we can then respond with understanding and kindness which encourages growth from the other person, rather than damning them. Ross also explains how this approach of calling-in can feel more comfortable for the person holding someone else accountable and can give greater opportunity for bigotry to not go unchallenged. This video does not offer a standardised phrasebook of what can and should be said in any given situation, but it offers helpful guidance as to how we can more effectively challenge interpersonal discrimination.