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  • Writer's pictureAndrea Fielding

Why should we add an E on the D&I scope?

The following article is by Marilia Honorio Ragazzo (Senior Client Partner, DE&I agent of change at CI&T), an Employer Branding College Graduate and member of the Global Alumni.

One of my favorite images to illustrate why we now have the E within the DE&I acronym, which stands for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, is the image below. Not only because it highlights the difference of Equality and Equity, but it shows a future goal of Justice.

Diversity refers to several different aspects of people and their perspectives on the world. It is an essential organizational goal in its own right, but a diverse workplace is not necessarily an equitable workplace.

Inclusion is reflected in organizational culture where diverse peoples can raise their perspectives authentically, and where their voices matter and are taken into consideration. With that, people feel that they have a voice and they belong to that organization. Inclusion is also an important organizational process goal, but it does not automatically guarantee an equitable workplace.

Having goals of Diversity & Inclusion, as stated above, is paramount to the world we live in today. And we are constantly checking the evolution of workplaces, and learning how to push D&I initiatives to the next level. Therefore, it is important to understand that people should have the opportunity to be part of a diverse workforce, and the opportunity to belong and to be included in the workplace. But there is a fundamental piece to this opportunity discussion that we are now seeing more and more. Opportunity is not something each person can reach up and grasp. For some, opportunity falls out of the tree and hits them on the head; others must reach up and grab it. And for many members of underrepresented groups, accessing opportunity requires a stepladder and a supporting cast of people holding it firmly in place. There is where equity joins the D&I world.

Equity seeks to ensure fair treatment, equality of opportunity, and fairness in access to information and resources for all. This is only possible in an environment built on respect. Equity recognizes that advantages and barriers exist, and that, as a result, we all don’t all start from the same place. Equity is a process that begins by acknowledging that unequal starting place and makes a commitment to correct and address the imbalance. It is the path to action and systemic change.

In the steady-paced evolution we are for a better world for all, we now better understand our reality so we can work for a greater future. You have justice and real fairness when inequalities were addressed. After you created a diverse team; after you guaranteed their inclusion and that they feel they belong; after actions to promote same opportunities for all were implemented; then you have justice and you may claim a fair environment. After all this, people won't need extra support or accommodations because the causes of inequality have been addressed, and systematic barriers have been removed.

Diversity to Inclusion/Belonging to Equity to

Social Justice

And if you want to understand it better, here is a "conversation" to light up the different views of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.

  • Diversity asks, “Who’s in the room?” Equity responds: “Who is trying to get in the room but can’t? Whose presence in the room is under constant threat of erasure?”

  • Inclusion asks, “Has everyone’s ideas been heard?” Justice responds, “Whose ideas won’t be taken as seriously because they aren’t in the majority?”

  • Diversity asks, “How many more of [pick any minoritized identity] group do we have this year than last?” Equity responds, “What conditions have we created that maintain certain groups as the perpetual majority here?”

  • Inclusion asks, “Is this environment safe for everyone to feel like they belong?” Justice challenges, “Whose safety is being sacrificed and minimized to allow others to be comfortable maintaining dehumanizing views?”

  • Diversity asks, “Isn’t it separatist to provide funding for safe spaces and separate student centers?” Equity answers, “What are people experiencing on campus that they don’t feel safe when isolated and separated from others like themselves?”

  • Inclusion asks, “Wouldn’t it be a great program to have a panel debate Black Lives Matter? We had a Black Lives Matter activist here last semester, so this semester we should invite someone from the alt-right.” Justice answers, “Why would we allow the humanity and dignity of people or our students to be the subject of debate or the target of harassment and hate speech?”

  • Diversity celebrates increases in numbers that still reflect minoritized status on campus and incremental growth. Equity celebrates reductions in harm, revisions to abusive systems and increases in support for people’s life chances as reported by those who have been targeted.

  • Inclusion celebrates awards for initiatives and credits itself for having a diverse candidate pool. Justice celebrates getting rid of practices and policies that were having disparate impacts on minoritized groups.


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