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Drivers for Change – Improve Representation

Equity Framework > Drivers for Change > Representation

Representation goes beyond the physical or numerical representation of underrepresented groups in order to achieve “diversity” in organizations. Authentic representation that leads to meaningful inclusion requires implementation and evaluation of specific strategies that acknowledge, address, and remedy the exclusion of underrepresented groups from sectors, institutions, organizations, programs, and many other spaces of power.

Representation is an important element of equity, but it is about more than people. It includes frameworks, models, and spaces created and activated with and for diverse interests.

For example, in many sectors, Indigenous and racialized people are underrepresented at the senior, executive, and board levels of leadership. This is caused in part by dominant cultures, systems, and practices. Representation at all levels is important, but representation in leadership has the power to set norms, define culture, and create change.

On an individual level, representation requires us to be attentive to all of those who are not being represented in our own work. We must look carefully at our work to assess representation and take active steps toward change when we see there are those left out.

When groups who face inequity are under-represented, the diversity of ideas, questions, techniques, tools, and methods are also limited. In short, whole systems suffer when there is a lack of representation.

Adapted from:

  1. Awake to Woke to Work: Building a Race Equity Culture. Retrieved from
    https://www.equityinthecenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Equity-in-Center-Awake-Woke-Work-2019-final-1.pdf
  2. A Partial Picture: The representation of equity-seeking groups in Canada’s universities and colleges. Retrieved from
    https://www.caut.ca/docs/equity-review/a-partial-picture-mdash-the-representation-of-equity-seeking-groups-in-canada-rsquo-s-universities-and-colleges-%28nov-2007%29.pdf?sfvrsn=10
  3. OCADU: Task Force on the Under-Representation of Racialized and Indigenous Faculty and Staff. Retrieved from
    https://www.ocadu.ca/sites/default/files/legacy_assets/documents/Presidential%20Task%20Force%20on%20the%20Under-Representation%20of%20Racialized%20and%20Indigenous%20Faculty%20and%20Staff.pdf

Further Reading / Additional resources

Awake to Woke to Work: Building a Race Equity Culture. Retrieved from
https://www.equityinthecenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Equity-in-Center-Awake-Woke-Work-2019-final-1.pdf

A Partial Picture: The representation of equity-seeking groups in Canada’s universities and colleges. Retrieved from:
https://www.caut.ca/docs/equity-review/a-partial-picture-mdash-the-representation-of-equity-seeking-groups-in-canada-rsquo-s-universities-and-colleges-%28nov-2007%29.pdf?sfvrsn=10