What is equity?
Equity is when we aim for fairness and justice, in both process and results. We realise that people need different things to succeed. While equality focuses on the sameness of treatment, equity goes further. It recognises that some of us might be at a disadvantage, or face barriers in access to opportunities and resources.
So, with equity, we mitigate social disparities by removing barriers to equal opportunity. An equitable workplace provides fair opportunities based on different co-worker needs, backgrounds and circumstances, so that everyone can reach their full potential.
Why is equity so important for C&A?
We don’t all have the same social or economic advantages in life. For example, where we come from, how our parents lived, or what our social position is; these things affect our access to resources such as education, jobs or housing. Any advantages, or lack thereof, often get passed from one generation to the next.
Moreover, we can face pre-existing barriers. These can also play out in the workplace. For example, some of us are impacted by unconscious biases in hiring and promotions, or lack access to information and professional networks, despite our talent and skills. This affects people belonging to underrepresented and historically marginalised groups.
An approach based on equity is beneficial to all individuals, but it also aims to solve structural imbalances. With our 2028 Strategy, we have started the work at C&A to embed equity in all people and business processes, promoting positive change internally, and within broader society.
What is inclusion?
Inclusion is when everyone can be their authentic self and feel like they belong.
Inclusion means that we create an environment where every person feels valued for their unique qualities and contribution. It means we invite and encourage different ideas and opinions, and we embrace diversity. We make conscious efforts to take everyone into account, and include everyone in our conversations and decisions.
Inclusion is what allows us to leverage our differences, creating a supportive climate where we can thrive – as individuals, as teams, and as a company.
Why is inclusion so important for C&A?
All human beings share a social need to feel included – regardless of how we identify, or whether we belong to a majority or to a minoritised group.
Each one of us has probably experienced exclusion at some point in our life – being left out or not appreciated for who we are. At work, it can show up in different ways. Perhaps we are not made part an important conversation or process, to the same extent as our peers. Or we are given less space to talk in meetings. Some of us are ignored, unfairly rejected or subjected to constant scrutiny.
These experiences undermine co-worker well-being, engagement and motivation. Besides being harmful to the individual, exclusion negatively affects the wider surroundings as well. A team that is not inclusive is more prone to costly errors; it is less creative and innovative, and less productive.
With our 2028 Strategy, we are strengthening a corporate culture where everyone feels included.