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Micro-inequities: Little Things That Make A Big Difference

Micro-inequities: Little Things That Make A Big Difference

I’m so excited to introduce you to my friend Gina Gomez, a business strategist and coach who works with some of the most well-known and well-respected public figures in the online business world. Her specialties are communication and inclusivity. What you’re about to read may make you uncomfortable, and that’s a good thing. We all need to do better when it comes to treating people like they matter (because they do), and Gina is the perfect person to teach us how. With that said…take it away, Gina!


Micro-inequities: Little Things That Make a Big Difference by Gina Gomez

You know those little things that feel like they’re personal, but you’re just not sure? Those small actions or gestures that make you wonder if they were truly intentional, or if you’re “just overreacting?” I’ve got news for you: it may not just be you. How can you tell? Keep reading.  

Let’s play a game! Ready? Have you ever…

1. Put your phone on the table while have a meal/meeting with someone?

2. Texted or emailed during a meeting?

3. Checked your phone while someone was talking to you?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, keep reading. If you answered yes to all of the questions above, get comfortable. There’s something you should know.

These acts or behaviors are micro-inequities. Micro-inequities are acts that demoralize, marginalize, or demean a person. They may or may not be intended, but regardless they carry weight and have significant impact.

Micro-inequities aren’t always blatant or noticeable. A lot of times they can be subtle, and the truth is you’ve probably done it or had it done to you – most likely both.

Micro-inequities are usually displayed through the use of gestures, words, treatment, and/or tone of voice. Why do we use them? Well, it typically comes from our own internal biases. Think you’re unbiased? Think again. The truth is we all have biases. But it doesn’t mean those biases excuse or allow an unfavorable behavior.

The good news is that by the time you’re done reading this, you’ll have enough information and tools to do something about it.

The bad news is now you have no excuse.

Here are a few more examples of micro-inequities:

  • “Harmless” jokes (that aren’t really harmless)
  • Greeting one coworker more enthusiastically than another
  • Showing up late to a meeting or leaving early because of your schedule
  • Disregarding someone’s comments during a group discussion or meeting

Any of those sound familiar? You’re not alone. But now that you know, you can be more aware and improve the behavior.

How? By using micro-affirmations. What are micro-affirmations? Here’s the simplest definition: Treat people like they matter.

That’s it! Small inclusive gestures can change a person’s entire experience and perception for the better, and it’s such a small investment on your part with an extremely high return on investment. Why?

Because when you see how your behavior impacts someone’s experience for the better, it does the same for you. twitter-logo

Micro-inequities: Little Things That Make A Big Difference

Here are three examples of micro-affirmations you can implement immediately:

1. Make supportive comments when others share comments in a meeting or discussion.

2. Take the time to truly listen. Eye contact is a bonus. (However, staring is creepy.)

3. Address people by name. Let’s pretend you’re talking to Kate. Instead of, “Hey!” try, “Hi, Kate!”

Why do micro-affirmations matter?

For one thing, if you want to be a decent human being, it’s a good idea to start off by treating people like they matter. The other thing to consider is that micro-inequities don’t make you look important, busy, or even cool. The truth is micro-inequities and micro-aggressive acts make you look like a macro-jackhole, and no one wants to do business or spend time with “the macro-jack.”

What if you make a mistake? Let’s be honest, we’re human. Mistakes will happen. But if you’re consciously and consistently using micro-affirmations and minimizing your use of micro-inequities, you’ll find the risk of those mistakes will lessen.

Micro-affirmations boost morale and improve relationships. In the workplace, it also increases performance. See? Little investment, big reward. It spreads from one person to the next.

Whether you work on your own or with a team, why not make a positive contribution? Before you know it, you’ll notice how your daily experiences become more pleasant, engaging, fun, and even easier. And really, who couldn’t use a little more of that?

What’s one micro-affirmation you’ll implement today? Tell me in the comments!



  • I am guilty of this everyday and it irritates me when people do them to me. I appreciate this newsletter so much and know that I always appreciate you Kate!

  • Gwendolyn

    Hi Gina and friends,
    I find a very important micro-affirmation to be giving a reply to people, even if it’s a “grey rock” kind of answer, when they email. A completely epidemic micro-inequity, in my experience, is people simply ignoring well-intentioned and at the least harmless personal emails. Can they not reply even to say just “Got it, thanks” or whatever? Like they’re just too busy to even acknowledge you exist. I find that reaally disrespectful and, unfortunately, virtually ubiquitous. So I always do my best to give some kind of acknowledgment of receipt, even when I don’t want to encourage the sender in any way, unless they are truly and clearly intent on harm, in which case I wouldn’t hesitate, of course, to ignore or otherwise “ban user.”

  • Julie

    Thank you for this wonderful explanation of micro inequities. I didn’t completely realize until I read your comments that some of my actions could unintentionally cause others to feel hurt or diminished. I will be sure to greet all my co- workers today with equal enthusiasm. Thanks again.

  • What a great reminder to give people their props and your undivided attention! Thanks!

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