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Equity in training: why trainers should recognize waves and currents

Published: Friday, September 10, 2021
Updated: Friday, September 10, 2021

I am frequently asked what equity in employee training means. For example, in communication, selling or management training.

To help understand what this means, let’s compare employee training to a swimming course.

Imagine teaching a diverse group of people how to swim in a warm and calm swimming pool.

However, in reality, because of their gender, several of the participants must swim in a cold and stormy sea with high waves and unexpected currents. And sharks. Instead of gender, the waves and currents can also be the result of any other social category such as race, class, or ethnicity.

 Imagine you do not  recognize and address the actual circumstances (in this case the waves, currents and sharks) during your swimming course. That means the instruction is mainly relevant for the (often dominant) gender that does not  face them. They have all the skills needed to be a successful swimmer in the environment they face - a warm and calm swimming pool. However, the genders that do  face the high waves and currents do not  have an equitable chance to be a successful swimmer after the course. Because they have not learned all the skills to do so in the environment they face.

 In addition, the other participants will not have had a chance to learn about the currents and waves that other genders face. So, gender neutral really means gender blind.


 The aim of training should be equity: the opportunity for all participants to be successful as result of the training.  This means:

recognizing and addressing in a training programme, the waves, and currents      

that some of the participants may face when implementing what you train

as result of, for example, their sex, gender, race, or class.

 How do you recognize these waves and currents you may ask? You can for example:

  • Do research on the internet. There are so many great articles and insights available;
  • Ask a diverse group of colleagues and friends;
  • Ask a diverse group of your participants, as part of your needs analysis.

 Please remember, it is not the task of the participants to educate trainers about issues of equality and inclusion. It is the task of the trainer to be educated and informed.
If you need help with that, please get in touch.

Picture is by Jim de Ramos  from Pexels

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