Social equity

Equality of opportunity within and amongst countries.

A global overview

Inequality threatens long-term social and economic development, harms poverty reduction and destroys people’s sense of fulfilment and self-worth. This, in turn can breed crime, disease and environmental degradation.

Inequalities based on income, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, race, class, ethnicity, religion and opportunity continue to persist across the world.

A global perspective on social equity from the UN Sustainability Development goals

Inequality within and among countries is a persistent cause for concern. Despite some positive signs toward reducing inequality in some dimensions, such as reducing relative income inequality in some countries and preferential trade status benefiting lower-income countries, inequality still persists.

Inequalities are also deepening for vulnerable populations in countries with weaker health systems and those facing existing humanitarian crises. Refugees and migrants, as well as indigenous peoples, older persons, people with disabilities and children are particularly at risk of being left behind. And hate speech targeting vulnerable groups is rising.

How is digital tech relevant to social equity?

Areas of tension

These are the issues, negative impacts and concerns collectively raised by the attendees from our pilot workshops.

For the digital tech workforce
  • Meritocracy is a myth that prevails in the technology industry. It is actually full of biases and institutionalizes those same hidden biases.
  • The english language is the dominant language in tech, which can create extra barriers for non-native speakers.
  • Minorities are not represented enough in the tech workforce.
  • Off-shore teams are sometimes viewed as less capable than western based tech teams.
  • Shareholder ownership is the norm for tech companies and there are few examples of equitable ownership models such as employee owned co-operatives.
For the global population
  • Marginalised communities are often excluded from the positive benefits that digital tech brings through under investment in their communities and education.
  • Digital accessibility is an after-thought or add-on in the development process rather than a core consideration. This leaves many communities struggling to use tech effectively.
  • Digital technologies can be used to spread hate-speech and propaganda effectively.

How can we nudge these tensions for the better?

Grounds for hope

These are visions and ideas for change collectively raised by the attendees from our pilot workshops.

For the digital tech workforce
  • Different role models.
  • Different established models that enable workers to thrive and not being secondary to profit / shareholding / acquisitions.
  • Tech companies care and support their employees.

For the global population

  • Social interactions in tech platforms at human scale.

Keen to learn more?

If you’d like to explore these issues yourself, either as an individual or with your work colleagues, why not run your own workshop?

Our workshop methodology is open source and available for anyone to use for free. Alternatively you can hire trusted professionals to facilitate the process on your behalf.