Striving for fairness: Understanding and advocating for workplace equity

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Equity – do we understand it correctly  

When I was a seven-year-old girl, I remember how sorry I felt for the kids, families and groups who lived in poverty and who were not equally accepted in the community. I would take my new shoes and give them to those children, so that they could have the same opportunities as me. As a child, I thought that could help. Of course, the problem is much deeper.  

A topic of equity is the topic without which the modern times cannot be imagined. It refers to fairness and justice and is distinguished from equality. People often use these words interchangeably; however, it is wrong.  Equality means providing the same to all, equity means recognizing that we do not all start from the same place and must acknowledge and adjust imbalances.   

Equality would be giving everyone the same bicycle to come to a destination. Equity would be realizing that not everyone can use a bicycle and enabling other ways to reach specific destination while understanding differences.  

Values we foster represent the first step to reaching equity and recognizing this term in our lives and at the workplace. It is of great essence to educate all employees about importance of Company’s purpose and direction, which employees can trust.   

A group of Schneider employees standing together for a photo.

A fairy tale?  

The story “Ugly Duckling” tells us about non-acceptance and misunderstanding and teaches us not to judge anyone by their looks. No matter how bad things might seem, they can change.  

 In other words, let’s put ourselves in somebody else’s shoes and accept the differences.  Differences are common, beautiful, and should bring a pool of opportunities to all of us. They accelerate development, yield new ideas, and broaden horizons.  

It is true that we are all unique. We have a distinct combination of interests, talents and personality traits that make us unlike anyone else. We all have the same value and deserve a good life.  

How to increase our influence  

Neda speaking at conference.

Recently, I had the opportunity to be a speaker on Young Women in STEM Conference. I spoke about Schneider Electric’s Center for Young Talents Foundation, which provides free of charge online math and programming classes for children in Serbia from 13 to 18 years of age. The Foundation operates for almost 12 years. Its mission is to provide opportunities to all children who wish to learn more, be digital and are into new technologies.

This visionary idea is making a big impact on inclusion and diversity, as the Foundation is working on engagement of all deprived groups, and those who live in places where such programs are not available. In addition, SE  increases curiosity and love for technical professions among young women, while advancing the careers of young people in tech. A truly unique story, showcasing the focus of our Company on the root cause by enabling the young to pursue their career aspirations.   

A group of Schneider employees sitting down and smiling for a photo.

There was a question from a girl in the audience – is there a platform only for girls where they can get together and learn about programing. “Only young women” echoing in my ears caught me by surprise. Why only for women? It seems global influences are not sending the right message, and younger generations are even more confused. 

Equity is a powerful concept. We can all make an impact and improve it in our own unique way. As long as we work together to create an inclusive world. We can say that we are working on making a better tomorrow for everyone.

At Schneider Electric we embrace diverse perspectives, co-creating a place where everyone belongs and thrives.

Interested in a career with us? Start by checking our website.

About the author

Author Profile

Neda Lang, HR Director Serbia

Neda has over 16 years of experience in HR. This spans different industries such as retail, commercial, and software. Neda has led significant company transformations, gaining valuable insights into organizational development, communication, and change management. Her expertise includes Reward, Talent Acquisition, Employer Branding, and Talent Management, while being passionate about driving progress, transformation, and team development. Apart from everything, her passion remains unchanged – the world is full of opportunities, as is of disbalances, so let’s support each other.  

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