It’s such an important concept. 

It’s not about being equal but rather getting what you need to be able to do what everyone else can do.

I am sure we have all seen the image of the people standing on the boxes to look over the fence. Equality is us all having the same size box. Equity is getting the right size box for your height. It’s not about equal access, but need-based access.

Equity is a topic that should be in all aspects of our life. From our workplaces to the community we access. Many of us believe in equity and this often leads to the topic of accommodations. What changes, strategies, tools and supports do we need to provide so that everyone has access? 

Let’s take the workplace. What does equity in the workplace look like for you? What do you need? What do your colleagues need?

I often wonder whether despite our desire to promote equity, equality wins because it is not only easier but makes everyone feel comfortable?

Because if we truly desire equity, it may mean someone gets something that we don’t. It’s not equal access but rather on a needs basis. This can look like not getting priority to take school holidays off because staff with children get access first. It may mean rather than new assessments being purchased, the money is spent in making the office more accessible. Or rather than having a generous PD budget, the money is spent on extra admin support for staff who struggle with report writing and admin management.  

When I had staff, I remember them asking if we could have our team meeting moved from before lunch to after lunch. Several of the therapists were neurodivergent and moving the meeting meant that they were able to function and focus more after eating and also when their medication had kicked in. That was an easy yes. We made the change. Everyone was happy and the meetings were definitely more interactive and productive. Win-win. 

But what if they asked to skip the meeting? To be given the agenda beforehand to add their thoughts? Would that have been as easy to manage? Would that have been fair or equitable for the other staff? Would that be a win-win?

Recently, I was chatting with a friend who mentioned that opera tickets were discounted if you were an Indigenous Australian. She was questioning why. To me, it was a no-brainer. Why wouldn’t you make opera more accessible? If that means I have to pay a bit more, what’s the problem with that? But it also made me realise we all have our limits when it comes to equity and accessibility. 

I truly believe in equity. But I also believe it is incredibly difficult to achieve 100% of the time or even 50% of the time. 


Because we don’t like to miss out. We don’t like people getting things we can’t have. We don’t like it when we are not prioritised. 

We still live in a world where we are trying to achieve equality and often equity flies in the face of that. For equity to work, there are times when people will miss out. That’s just the reality. 

But if we can all learn to be ok with that, we can start to make a significant shift in making equity a reality. 

Because then we are not talking about needing to raise everyone up, because many of us in any given situation are doing significantly better than others. Instead, if we focus on raising up those who need the lift, need the change, the accommodation, the tool or the policy change, we can all be collectively better off. As a workplace, a community, a state and a nation.