Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
When I was asked to write a blog post on equity, diversity, and inclusion, I thought it would be just like any other assignment. As I started doing research, I realized equity, diversity, and inclusion is more than a subject, and what I understood from class is just the tip of an ocean.
In this blog, I am going to share my perspective of equity, diversity, and inclusion with few personal examples.
Starting with inclusion, let’s take my nephew as an example, a middle school student. He lives with his parents in a city called Montreal, Quebec. And he is right now insisting his parents on buying him an iPhone because kids at school don’t have lunch with him and discriminate him just because he has an android phone (Kids these days huh!! Come on, it’s hard to deny that iPhone is seen as a status symbol and it’s proven by research)
In an ideal world, inclusion is “where an entire population is treated equally by keeping aside the differences like race, geography, gender, generation or in my nephews’ case a digital device and making them feel welcomed, valued and appreciated.”
Diversity has many definitions, and all of them say the same thing “people with differences in terms of religion, national origin, gender, age, sexual orientation, and race should be appreciated. These differences should be embraced and respected irrespective of their background. “
Image source: (my 6th-grade painting)
Remember those kids who wouldn’t include my nephew? I don’t blame them because the Government of Quebec itself is weird implementing laws like Bill 21, which was introduced by François Legault. According to the bill, if you’re working in a public sector, you aren’t allowed to wear religious symbols like the hijab, turban, etc. They wanted to bring equality, but by eliminating diversity. I understand they want to treat everyone equal but not at the cost of diversity. Maybe Other provinces can help educate François.
In another example, a University wants to hire an employee for a position, and the advertisement mentions candidates to be clean-shaven. What if a persons’ ethnic background doesn’t allow him to shave? The institution might not be discriminating an individual but will seem like they are anti to diversity.
When it comes to equity, it is often confused with equality.
Equality is when you distribute resources equally to everyone, but when the same resources are given more to individuals who need the most is defined as equity. Equity is not possible without identifying and acknowledging the differences between various groups in a community.
I can give an example from my life when I experienced equity. I’m a Biochemistry student who is learning computational chemistry. So, our computational lab, including me has three new grad students, and the only difference between them and me is that they have done most of their research in computational studies. It wouldn’t have been fair if I was treated the same way as my peers. So, if I were to generate an output file from a certain computational analysis, the other two would be given 2 hours to complete the task. In contrast, I would be given 4 hours and a little bit of help for the same job, which is nothing but equity because of our differences in knowledge of the field.
Some institutions often assume diversity and inclusion as synonyms, but, both are entirely different. And the difference is perfectly explained by Verna Myers, a DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) educator who once mentioned, “Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance”. (This touched my soul)
Which one is most important? Inclusion or diversity or equity?
In my opinion, all of them are interdependent, and they are insignificant without one another.
Image source here
DEI at my current workplace
I feel fortunate that I am not facing such problems as my nephew or the people of Quebec did. Because the University I study emphasizes on the importance of equity, diversity, and inclusion, and that was evident for me during the inauguration of science commons building. The amount of respect and gratitude showed towards natives on the day of Big Bang was mind-boggling.
The idea of equity, diversity, and inclusion first starts at home, and parents should teach it at an early age before any school because the environment in which the child is brought up and the cognizance developed during childhood will impact their lives and others.