What Does "The Business Case For" Really Mean?

I have an automatic, negative reaction to the phrase “the business case for” + any equity-related issue. This particular reaction recently came up for me as I was reading a business journal for work. As a social researcher, I wanted to know what the business world had to say about equity issues and how to approach them, as that world is highly influential in my subset of academia which is very chatty about equity these days. I should have expected a “business case for” equity mindset to be prevalent throughout the read but hope, as usual, led me to disappointment. Page four featured a letter from the CEO titled, “Diversity: the Business Case and Beyond” and page 28 began an article on how “empowering young women” can be used as a strategy for attracting new clients.

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Yes, You're Allowed to Rest

Equity work is many things. It is fulfilling, powerful, and chock full of potential to change the world around you, be it in small or significant ways. We know the work is difficult, but that’s part of what makes it so important to be involved. Without effort, change won’t happen.

It is important, however, to recognize that equity work can be beyond difficult. It can be exhausting. The work is non-stop; when you live and breathe an equity mindset, you have to apply it to every aspect of your life. Equity work requires self reflection, some of which can be disheartening, even devastating as your realize that people whom you might love very much hold dehumanizing opinions of you or other people you care about. Finally, it’s disruptive, meaning that it often isn’t supported by your workplace. For these reasons, it is no wonder that many of us wind up “burned out.”

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