Black lives matter. Gay lives matter. Trans lives matter. Women’s lives matter. But our systemic inequality means that some lives matter more than others.
The opposite of inequality isn’t always equality. To begin with the opposite of inequality is equity. Equity and equality are two different things and it is important to understand the difference. The cartoon below explains it perfectly.
Equity is about ensuring that all groups or people have the tools and support to access the same opportunities as everyone else, even if that means they get more support or tools than someone else in order to address systemic or historic inequality or differences. This is often misunderstood by politicians, activists, journalists, community leaders and individuals and misinterpreted to suggest preferential treatment. To do this is to play shoddy politics with people’s lives.
Social impact is defined as the effect of an activity on the social fabric of the community and well-being of individuals and families. Using equity as a lens for social impact will allow you to understand where your beneficiaries are before you start working with them and then, what changes because of your intervention. Equity also allows you to better tailor your interventions for different user groups, understand their needs better and engage user groups appropriately.
Equity is crucial for excellent programme design, responsive feedback loops for users and for achieving deep and lasting social impact.
If you need to improve your work to be a better ally, be more responsive to the black community involved are affected by your work, make your work inclusive and responsive to actual need and deprivation, then make sure you know and use equity as a key tool in your work.